I had an amazing dinner at kōbō by Sushiko on 10-6-2017. It’s too new to be in the 2017 DC Michelin Guide but it was Tom Sietsema’s #9 in the Washington Post Spring 2017 Dining Guide. The meal was really fun: it was delicious, quite luxurious (caviar, foie gras, truffles, oh my!) as well as interactive.
This is the bar upon entering the restaurant. I really like the colors and the vibe.
This is the main dining room on the other side of the bar. You can’t see any in this picture but there were actually a lot of kids here so this part was pretty kid-friendly.
kōbō is actually a restaurant within a restaurant and it’s located here at this bar. They serve a kappo style meal which is basically omakaze to the next level. Omakaze means “chef’s choice” whereas kappo is “fire” plus “cook” meaning the chef is cooking in front of you. It’s a more intimate and interactive approach, which I love.
And speaking of chefs cooking, here is co-Executive Chef Handry Tjan working on our first course! He shares the title with his brother Piter Tjan who we’ll see shortly.
Upon being seated guests are served tea that’s brewed in front of you in this awesome set up.
Welcoming tea – kombu hoji cha (roasted green tea, kelp). The kelp gives it a slightly salty taste that went so nicely with the charcoal roasted green tea.
Here it is after being brewed (little hand towel action in the background).
Amuse Bouche (apple smoked ankimo, sturgeon caviar, rice crisp, persimmon sauce, yuzu gelee, viola flier). This was AMAZING. Who knew fish liver tastes like chorizo?! The flavors and textures were totally on point: salty caviar, sweet/acidic yuzu gelee, and crispy rice all balanced each other perfectly. This was a really strong opening act and one of my fav dishes of the entire night.
Beginning of the Journey (napa cabbage, karasumi, mitsuba, kaeshi-dashi). This was warm and delicate. The dashi gave it a flavor similar to miso soup but it was definitely more stewed cabbage than full on broth.
Chef Brothers’ Signature Otsukuri (otoro [fatty tuna], shima aji [striped jack], akami zuke [lean tuna], cherry smoked arctic char). The arctic char was OUT OF THIS WORLD and my second favorite bite of the night. It was like butter. The skin was slightly cooked and had this amazing smoky flavor. The akami zuke was quickly marinated in soy which gave it nice flavor. The otoro was rich and delicious and the shima aji was simple and clean.
A Message of the Fauna (A5 miyazaki wagyu beef sando, milk bread, caramelized onion, tonkatsu sauce). Oh god was this good. This was also a highlight of the night. The caramelized onion and tonkatsu sauce gave it the perfect sweet and acidic tang to offset the rich fat in the beef. It was the perfect little bite.
Next began Shokuji, the sushi course.
Nama hotate (sudachi, black salt). This scallop was the first of the nigiri and was fantastic. The sudachi citrus and wasabi gave it a great pop of flavor.
Buritoro (daikon oroshi, yuzu kosho). The soy and yuzu combined to give this yellow tail belly an awesome bold flavor.
Chu toro zuke (viola). I loved the rich, buttery medium fatty tuna.
King sake toro aburi (sweet onion, lemon). This seared king salmon belly.was delicious. The sweet onion and lemon combined with the soy to almost taste like teriyaki.
Botanebi (uni, caviar, gold flakes). If this isn’t decadence in a bite I don’t know what is! Between the shrimp and the uni the flavor was just luscious, with the saltiness of the caviar serving as a pleasant contrast.
Otoro aburi (foie gras sumiso, pickled wasabi, crispy leeks). This was quite yummy! The pickled wasabi and crispy leek offset the subtle richness of the foir gras and seared fatty tuna.
Toro tartare (uzura, bonito flakes). This really tasted like beef tartar! The bonito and soy cured quail egg gave this a great depth.
California uni temaki. Holy moly uni canoli! That’s a lot of uni! It was also super wasabi-y which was a nice contrast to the uni.
Not pictured: tomago and burgundy truffle. In a total blogger fail I didn’t take a pic of this one! It was delightful!
The Happiness Finale (foie gras panna cotta, huckleberry caramel, maldon sea salt). Panna cotta is one of my fav desserts so I didn’t think it could get any better–until now. This was fantastic! It’s already a kind of rich dessert so the foie gras played into that perfectly. The huckleberry caramel was a great sweet and acidic contrast while the sea salt just rounded it out perfectly.
As is customary with tasting menus these days there was a bag of goodies to take home. This included a matcha bonbon and wonderful sesame dressing along with a menu and thank you note.
Here are the stars of the show: Co-Executive Chefs Handry and Piter Tjan. This was such an awesome dinner! The food was clearly fantastic but the experience itself was really special. I love face time with chefs and that was the entire basis of this meal–my dream come true!