Kushi closes in Mt. Vernon Square, Owner bringing New Japanese Restaurant to Logan Circle

465 K Street, NW

From Kushi‘s facebook page:

“It is with great disappointment to announce that Kushi Izakaya & Sushi is closing. Our last day is this Sunday, September 28th.

There have been many new friends that have walked through the door since we opened four and a half years ago, and we leave with fond memories. We truly appreciate all of the loyal customers that have supported us all this time.

With one door closing, another door opens for us as we look forward to the future and new opportunities. Please stay connected to our Facebook page and website for news of our next project coming soon.

Thank you all and we hope to see you again.”

CityPaper’s Jessica Sidman reports:

“Norris is already moving on with another Japanese concept. He says he’s signing on a lease this week for the former Homemade Pizza Co. space at 1522 14th St. NW.”

HomeMade pizza closed back in June at the corner of 14th and Church St, NW. Updates when the new Japanese restaurant gets closer to opening:

1522 14th Street, NW

31 Comment

  • I hope he has a better go at the new location. I -loved- Kushi for a year or two after it opened, but the quality dropped off a lot over time and the prices always seemed high to me. I imagine that it was tough to keep business going in such a giant space and hope that the smaller space will give the restaurant the leg-up it needs.

    • Agreed 100% – it used to be great, but the last visit a couple of months ago was a tremendous disappointment. Everything tasted like sidewall sashimi – tough and chewy.

      • While I haven’t been myself, all of my friends tell me the same thing in that the quality severely dropped. I’m guessing this is because they couldn’t keep up the volume so they had to cut on the quality of meat/food. That’s never a good sign.

    • Agree – quality declined about a year after opened.

      The big came when they got rid of the special menu – because “everything was special.” A big sign they were no longer getting the freshest of things.

    • justinbc

      Sounds like pretty much every accounting from people I’ve heard. Glad I went early on when it was still good, few foods are worse than bad sushi.

    • agreed – i live nearby and used to go quite a bit in the first year, but went about 6 months ago and quality had definitely dipped. that’s a huge space to lose at that development.

  • This will have to be absolutely amazing to convince me to choose it over Seki when I’m in the mood for an izakaya.

  • It was very interesting watching this place attempt to adjust to changing business realities. It was a wildly popular destination restaurant at the beginning with commensurate quality. As the novelty wore off, they tried to adjust their menu and ingredient quality. Later they experimented with offering delivery. It’s a shame it ended this way. I guess the space was probably too big, but it was beautiful. The food at the end was also a shame.

  • lindz0722

    I really liked Kushi (haven’t been in about a year, though). Agree with jcm about Seki being the izakaya go-to, but living on the south end of the 14th Street strip it’s a bit of a hike… And Logan Circle could use some great sushi, so fingers crossed that’ll be a focus in the new place as well.

  • That’s a tiny little space…I’m guessing they’ll do something with counter seating, kind of like Donburi in Adams Morgan (which is quite good, by the way.)

    • +1. It really is super small. Almost the opposite of Kushi at 5th and K.

      I would also LOVE it if this were a to-go spot and/or delivery.

  • I’ve been on deathwatch for Kushi ever since they started issuing all the Groupons.

  • I’m told by those in the know that the new development will be a fast, neighboorhood, sushi spot…hopefully not like the Kaz sushi on 19th street where they made sushi rolls by scooping raw fish with ice cream scoopers.

  • kushi went bankrupt, stopped paying taxes, and also stopped paying rent. that’s why they are closing down. look it up.

    • I just read the City Paper article and it really makes me wonder if the Kushi folks will get another lease, especially in such a nice 14th street location. Can you sign a new lease if you’re being sued for $100k+ for unpaid rent?

  • I’m a neighbor and not at all surprised to see it go. I loved the original Kushi, which had Japanese food I couldn’t get elsewhere. It was over-ambitious, with an extensive and expensive menu, but I really enjoyed it at first. Then everything went downhill when it appears money problems took over. They slashed the menu. The few items they had were completely run-of-the-mill offerings that weren’t very good or very unique. The quality of service declined along with the quality of the food. Too bad. It is a huge space, but I’m hopeful something special and appealing will move in and do well there. Mandu seems to be doing just fine next door. It’s a smaller space, but they do a lot right. Good food and service will keep customers.

  • The only thing I really care about is finding out where they buy their sea salt gelato. I know they don’t make it in house and a server told me once…but I forgot.

  • How is the Korean Restaurant that is next door? I went once and wan’t impressed with the dumplings.

  • So you can open a place, not pay your rent or your taxes – and then close and open another place in DC?

    Good to know for the future.

  • According to the online docket, Kushi entered into a settlement agreement with the landlord on September 9 to vacate. Who knows how much they agreed to pay in exchange, but I’d bet that the settlement encompassed any back payment that they agreed to give (if the LL got 50 cents on the dollar they’d be lucky here). Also, they filed Bankruptcy in February according to the docket. And, this wasn’t the first time they had been sued in L+T court….

  • SkeptiDC

    I also loved Kushi when it first opened. Haven’t been back recently enough to see the supposed drop in quality. It was always pricey though. Especially considering that in Japan Izakaya are usually really cheap “pub eateries”.

  • While I thought Kushi was good, I always had some pretty major issues with it. Their claim to fame was that they were an authentic Japanese izakaya, but there was little that was authentic about the place, and they were by no means an izakaya.

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