Friday, February 23, 2018


Kōbō is the small chef's sushi counter inside of Sushiko in Chevy Chase that serves dishes that are even more focused and intimate. The sushi is closer to true edomae style, using red vinegar from Yokoi Jozo that utilizes sake leaves in the rice to make it a maroon color. A set menu called the Kappo is available for $160 per person in regular, vegetarian, and vegan options.  We went to enjoy the Winter Experience to celebrate the start of Keith's birthday weekend. Closest Metro is Friendship Heights.

We were seated at the counter and immediately greeted by Chef Piter Tjan who would be creating each bite for us this evening.  We started with a welcoming tea called Kombu Hoji Cha made of roasted green tea and kelp.  It had a very subtle sea kelp fragrance and helped cleanse the palate.

To begin our journey, we were treated to an amuse bouche that was smoked in front of us.  When lifting the cover, the smell of charred apple wood emanated out and was quite the spectacle to begin our meal.  The Apple Smoked Ankimo, or monk liver, was topped with a generous amount of sturgeon caviar and sat on top of a rice crisp with persimmon puree, yuzu gelee, and an edible viola.  It was so pretty and absolutely delicious. It paired well with the carafe of Kamotsuru Tokusei Gold sake that we ordered which was incredibly smooth with a light nose of strawberry, banana, and tropical fruit. The clear layers of light fruit elements were delivered in a clean and crisp way that did not overpower our delicate sushi courses.

Next, we had a lovely Signature Otsukuri - the chef's selection of seasonal premium cuts of fish of the day served with fresh wasabi and aged soy sauce.  My favorite was the cherry smoked arctic char, that was accompanied by thick pieces of tennen buri (winter yellowtail), Akami zuke (marinated tuna from Spain), and otoro (fatty tuna from Spain).

Chef Piter searing fresh pieces of fish.

The Shokuji, or sushi course, was next.  We were treated to freshly hand made pieces one-by-one.  Tonight's pieces included kombujime medai (bluenose fish which is similar to red snapper); buritoro (yellowtail jackfish) with ground daikon; tennen saba (mackerel) with tomato, basil and shaved truffles; king sake toro aburi (seared salmon belly) topped with sweet onions and lemon; anago (sea eel); and otoro aburi (seared super fatty tuna belly) topped with foie gras and crispy leeks.  These pieces were unique and featured high quality ingredients.  We felt very spoiled.

The star piece of the night was something fit for royalty - Chu Toro Zuke (medium fatty tuna) topped with uni (sea urchin), caviar, and gold leaf. #drool.  It melted in my mouth and was heavenly.

Keith also ate A5 Wagyu Beef Tartare topped with soy marinated egg yolk and bonito flakes.  Chef substituted Toro Tartare for me.  Both bites were slightly fatty and rich.

Last of the sushi pieces, we enjoyed an beautiful handroll of sea urchin. The Hokkaido Uni Temaki was over the top with a subtle sweetness and kiss of the sea in each bite.  It paired well with our next selection of sake - the Hakkaisan Tokubetsu Honjozu which was clean, smooth, dry and versatile.

The next dish was called A Message of the Fauna and was a sandwich of katsu (breaded and fried) A5 miyazaki wagyu beef on milk bread with caramelized onion and tonkatsu sauce.  Keith found the katsu taste to be authentic, but the sauce slightly overpowered the tender wagyu.  My substitution was Hirame Tempura (flounder) with shiso, uni, lemon and lots of shaved Burgundy truffle on top.  The truffle was a bit excessive for me, but I understand and appreciate the attempt to equalize the quality of the wagyu for me.

For a noodle dish, we were treated to another luxurious ingredient - lobster - to give The Taste of Umami consisting of udon in a lobster miso dashi with white shimeji mushrooms and chunks of lobster meat.  The broth had some spice, but was not too aggressive and the lobster provided that decadent umaminess.  It was a lovely dish.

Finally for dessert, we ate Strawberry Panna Cotta with strawberry jam and mint leaf.  It was light and custardy and served with a small cup of espresso.  Compared to the rest of the meal, this dessert was a little lackluster to me, but was still a nice ending to round out our meal.

Overall, all of the ingredients were exquisite and the kappo experience was a perfect way to celebrate Keith's birthday.  We enjoyed the personal attention given by Chef Piter; he even noticed my left handed-ness, which earns bonus points from me.  The only downside to the ambience is that the counter is open to the main dining room, which was incredibly loud.  It was hard to hear chef sometimes, even though he was standing right in front of us.  Also, the decor is a little dated and rundown.  After paying our bill, we were sent home with a goody bag of the restaurant's sesame dressing, white chocolate filled with matcha cream, and our customized menus - a classy touch.

What Micky Eats...
Total Rating: 4.5
Food: 5, Price: 3.5, Service: 4.5, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5

Kobo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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