Judging New Restaurants – Donburi

2438 18th Street, NW

When we talked about Taan closing in Adams Morgan last week, a few folks mentioned the relatively new Donburi in the comments. Donuburi opened up back in November of last year.

Their facebook page says:

“Serving Japanese rice bowls in the heart of Adams Morgan, D.C.

11:00AM – 10:00PM

Stop by the restaurant whenever you feel like.
We will be here everyday
with the food that we make with a lot of love and care”

You can see their menu here. Any fans? Any must order rice bowl?

37 Comment

  • washington20009

    This is a great addition to the neighborhood. Both space and the menu are limited, but the food is really quite tasty. You order and pay when you enter, before being seated. Seating is at a counter, and the food is cooked in front of you. Every seat has free green tea steeped water available in pitchers in front of you, so you don’t need to order a drink. All the rice bowls are very good – the pork is my favorite, but chicken and shrimp also are great.

  • its good. I went there with the wife after we got shut out of Sakuramen (because it was closed). Food was good, quick, and tasty. It is a small restaurant though, and you gotta sit at the bar. I think they had other things other then the rice bowl, but it was mainly a rice bowl restaurant. If you are looking for something good, fast, and not too too expensive, this place is worth it.

  • LOVE DONBURI. Perfect place to grab a delicious, filling, fresh meal. I’ve tried almost every dish and they’re great.

  • I tried Donburi, and it wasn’t anything special. They serve rice bowls, which is a nice simple meal. It tastes good, which is what matters. Nonetheless, it’s not comparable to a wonderful bowl of soup. Since it’s summer, I actually prefer to eat Pho.

  • Sadly had a bad experience the last time I went with unevenly cooked food in the bowls (made by someone different from the owner). Considering how good it can be will definitely try it again though, but it was very disappointing.

  • I’m a fan — tasty and quick. And as far as I know, the only spot serving this dish in DC. Hope they continue to do well.

  • One of my favorite places in DC.

  • This place is NO good. They don’t give you enough substance to finish off the bowl of rice – not enough meat, veggies, sauce. And it’s pretty greasy too. It’s the type of meal where you feel you just paid way too much for something you could have easily cooked for yourself (and done a way better job). And the service stinks (which usually doesn’t matter if you have good food).

    • I’ve never left this place not feeling stuffed. I’ve only had the pork and pork-shrimp mix bowls, but they definitely had sufficient amount of meat and veggies. And no, it is not a meal I could easily have cooked myself. Maybe you’re confusing it with the Diner across the street?

    • I agree with this. I immediately needed froyo after because I was still hungry. I definitely could have used more veggies. Though, the salmon sashimi was delicious.

  • Love this place, only “complaint” is that if it gets crowded, having that register up front and “pay first” policy really jams things up behind the counter because the helper has to leave and go all the way in back and out front again past seated diners to get to the register.

  • I love Donburi!! I have had wonderful service every time I have been, I am surprised to see someone mentioning that it was bad there.

    The owner was behind the counter finishing dishes most of the time I have been there. Also a great option for carryout, even if it takes a few minutes.

  • Want once and haven’t been back. It just wasn’t a memorable meal and the layout is bad, very cramped when you enter / exit. Watching the good prep was fun and the look of the place is pleasing.

  • Having grown up in Asakusa, Tokyo eating Donburi my entire life – this place is very, very good.

    Plus, it’s a huge step in the right direction for the neighborhood. It replaced the “Smoothy King” which added nothing to the block. It’s a small space and can get crowded, so try to sneak in early and/or late.

    Do yourself a favor and try it out….You will not regret it.

  • I went once and liked it. The food was tasty, the service friendly. I did wish the portion size was larger, and I also noticed the backup problem at the door related to the way the tiny space restaurant is arranged. I’d go more often it was in my neighborhood.

  • It has excellent food. Went there with three female friends, all were raving about how awesome it was while we were eating the food. I highly recommend. Excellent food and a fine addition to the neighborhood.

  • Donburi is a FANTASTIC addition to the neighborhood! I’ve eaten there several times and I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed my food. New restaurants can learn a lot from Donburi: simple decor + focused menu = success! The only slightly negative thing I can share is that I’ve witnessed the main chef yelling at his subordinates. This could very well go on all the time at other restaurants behind-the-scenes (and who knows–maybe they deserved the chef’s rage) but since patrons and staff all occupy the same space, it was slightly awkward.

    That said, I will definitely be back.

  • My partner and I love Donburi. We lived in Tokyo and Hokkaido for several years, and the donburi at this Adams Morgan spot reminds us of the restaurants we ate at in Japan. There aren’t many seats, but the turnaround is fairly quick (probably helps that there’s no booze to linger over).

  • I grew up in Tokyo so I can be a bit of a Japanese food snob and I can’t get enough of Donburi. I live a few blocks away so I usually call ahead and pick up take out on my way home. I’ve eaten there a few times with friends too and the service has always been good. I definitely recommend the pork bowl or the pork/shrimp combo bowl. I think I’ll try the chicken next!

  • Love this place. The tempura and salmon sashimi are my go-tos, and the chicken is my partner’s favorite. It can get a bit chaotic, but it’s definitely worth a visit.

  • I lived in Japan for 18 months. It went by way too fast. Donburi was one of my favorite meals, and is something I always eat when I visit Japan for work.
    This restaurant is excellent. Love it. If you haven’t tried it, make it a point to stop by.
    One negative: They really need gyudon (beef bowl) on the menu. Then I would be there 7 nights a week!

  • James is lovely and this place is amazing. I encourage everyone to visit. Food is incredible and James puts so much care into the preparation and always asks for eater feedback and if there is anything he can do to enhance the meal. He puts a ton of care into his creations and one can taste that in every meal. He’s a gem and the place is fabulous. Do yourself a flavour and check it out. I generally start with the salmon sashimi and graduate to a combo bowl (pork & shrimp). Food is delightful.

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