Friday, October 27, 2017

Sushi Hachi

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An amalgamation of traditional Japanese nigiri and simple, yet modern temaki (hand rolls), Sushi Hachi is the newest sushi restaurant located in Barracks Row on 8th Street SE.  The name Hachi comes from the Japanese word for the number 8, which conveniently doubles as a hint to the neighborhood they are located in. Sushi Hachi uses the freshest ingredients to create sushi as it was meant to be and features an 8 course omakase (chef's choice) meal for $65 that we tried during it's soft opening week.  Closest Metro is Eastern Market.


The decor is quite modern and elegant with dark gray walls and a chic bar area showcasing imported glassware and ceramics.  On the table was a 'coin' washcloth that you dip into the little well of water to expand, and then can use to clean your hands.

To go with our meal, I ordered the House Sake that was served warm in a ceramic vessel with a hot water chamber.  The sake was clean and strong. I also liked to be able to choose my own cup from a tray of various ceramic or metal selections.  Keith also ordered a Japanese IPA called Yoho Aooni.  The imported beer was decent and not too heavy, which faired well with the fish.


Course 1: Chef's Appetizer - tonight featured duck, a miso-smoked cream cheese with sardine cracker, and black seaweed salad.  This modern first bite showcased the creativity of the chef, where they make all of their sauces and marinades in house.


Course 2: Today's Soup was a clear broth with snapper, fish cake, fresh mushrooms.  The soup had very subtle and clean flavors, and was an elegant twist to the traditional miso soup.


Course 3: Sashimi Plate - Five pieces of fresh fish were presented artfully, to include snapper, octopus, scallop, yellowtail, and ahi.  My piece of octopus was a bit hard and chewy, while Keith said his piece was very tender.  The plate was a bit crowded with slices of lemon, lime and shiso leaves, but overall the sashimi was delicious.


Course 4: Smoked Sashimi - A piece of raw shrimp and kampachi were placed on a jar which had a piece of applewood inside that was burning to produce smoke to infuse the fish.  While the smell of the wood was intense, it did not impart much flavor into the fish.  Luckily, the shrimp itself was incredibly sweet and flavorful in its own right.



Keith interjected the omakase menu with an additional special of Wagyu Beef "Ishiyaki" Hachi Style served with vegetable medley and a trio of dips: yuzu koshu, truffle salt, and daikon-chili ponzu.  The meat was incredibly high quality and presented with a custom made stone that is heated on the grill up to 700 degrees so that you can cook your meat to your own liking.  This is such a fun presentation and reminded me of the Korean BBQ restaurants that have their own cook tops at each table.


Course 5: Seasonal Vegetable Tempura - a piece of shishito pepper and a weird nest of shaved carrots, squash, and onions were presented in a basket with tempura dipping sauce.  The nest was hard to eat and the batter inside was not fully cooked.  I had to use my chopsticks to break it up in four or five bite size pieces.  It just seemed like these were the scraps and we would have better like individual full vegetable pieces instead.


Course 6: Premium Nigiri - Five pieces of premium grade fish were presented to include chutoro, salmon, smoked eel, uni (sea urchin), and salmon eggs.  Tamago (egg omelette) was also included.  All of the pieces were incredibly fresh; I could taste the light brine of the sea.  However, the eel was a bit too dry and the tamago was too eggy and not like the sweet egg custard that I'm used to from other Japanese restaurants.


Course 7: Cold Noodle Dish - classic soba noodles in a light sauce topped with nori was a nice little bite.  After we happily slurped this up, our server was shocked to see we had finished this course. He stated by now, two thirds of the diners had waved their flags to quit as they were full.  I cheekily explained to him that we were good eaters (as most food bloggers are, ha.)


Course 8: Dessert - tonight featured a traditional shaved ice dish topped with sweet red bean, diced mango, sliced strawberries, mochi (rice cake), and a little drizzle of sweetened condensed milk.  I loved this dessert, as it was not heavy and a throwback to my childhood.

Overall, Sushi Hachi is a welcomed new addition to the neighborhood who's attempt to offer more elegant sushi and Japanese fine dining options did not go unnoticed.  Though they still have a few kinks to work out with the timing (our meal took nearly 3 hours from start to finish) and communication between staff, I am sure they will get into their groove fairly soon.  Another suggestion is to pull back on the "aggressive bussing" as I heard the table next to us say.  The constant water pouring, clearing of soy sauce dishes, and insistent changing of the disposable chopsticks became annoying and excessive after the third course.  Nevertheless, if you are looking for more upscale sushi, definitely check out Sushi Hachi on Barracks Row.

Total Rating: 4.18
Food: 4.5, Price: 3.5, Service: 4, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5

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