“Latin-Influenced Sushi Bar” SAKERUM opens Monday “fuses the restrained elegance and vibrant energy of Asian and Latin cultures”

1sakerum
2204 14th Street, NW

From a press release:

“Sakerum, a new sushi bar, Asian-Latin restaurant and cocktail lounge from Stephanos Andreou, will open just blocks away from the intersection of 14th and U Street (2204 14th St NW) on Monday, August 22.

The two-story resto-lounge fuses the restrained elegance and vibrant energy of Asian and Latin cultures. The atmosphere is modeled, in part, on the traditional Japanese concept of the izakaya, a warm, welcoming gastropub — tinged with the flair of a Latin lounge.

Sakerum’s menu of sushi & sashimi and Latin-inspired Asian dishes will offer an exciting blend of flavors and cultures based on innovative recipes. The 3,600-square-foot Sakerum features bars on both floors in addition to a private dining space and a 90-person retractable rooftop on the second floor.

The colorful sushi bar, located on the restaurant’s first floor, is led by Chef Khan Gayabazar, whose sushi, sashimi and appetizer offerings are big on both flavor and creativity. The Mar y Tierra Roll — sushi made with Maine lobster tail and scorched Miyazaki Wagyu beef — and Yaki Tako, tender grilled octopus brushed with lemon oil and served with orange-mango picante, are just a few of Sakerum’s unique dishes.”

The first floor of Sakerum on 14th Street. Photo by Farrah Skeiky
The first floor of Sakerum. Photo by Farrah Skeiky

Beverage consultant Gina Chersevani leads Sakerum’s cocktail program, which will use fresh sugar cane for cocktails and drink flights. Chersevani’s cheekily-titled drinks include the “Wandering Samurai,” made with sake, Flor de Cana, yuzu and bitters, topped with 6-piece sashimi and the “Pirates Creed,” rum, coconut, pineapple, Yuzu and nutmeg.

sake sushi drink
The Wandering Samurai cocktail features sake, Flor de Cana, yuzu and bitters, topped with 6-piece sashimi. Photo by Farrah Skeiky

Sakerum’s general manager Justin Cho, whose family has been in the restaurant business for his entire life, has more than a decade of experience working in and managing restaurants in Washington, D.C., Michigan and Washington state. Cho will bring his lifelong passion for all things culinary to the table at Sakerum.

The interior of Sakerum highlights textiles from both worlds, combining minimalist Asian sensibilities with whimsical art, found objects and gilded bird cages. Because the Sakerum concept celebrates two of the most iconic spirits representing both cultures — sake and rum — the elements of the restaurant’s namesake are used in the polished rice and sugarcane motifs found in the logo and interior decor.

Sakerum's rooftop features a retractable ceiling. Photo by Farrah Skeiky copy
Sakerum’s rooftop features a retractable ceiling. Photo by Farrah Skeiky

“I’ve always loved Asian and Latin cuisines and cultures, so bringing them together to create Sakerum was a no-brainer for me,” says owner Andreou, whose wife and partner Constandina Economides’ family owned and operated former D.C. dining institution Blackie’s. “Sakerum is dedicated to bringing out the best of both worlds and we think guests will appreciate how thoughtfully we have paired these amazing cultures together with our outstanding food, drinks and decor.”

13 Comment

  • This place looks awesome. Although I am a bit skeptical of marrying asian and latin cuisines. It”s been done many times in the past with little success – hopefully they have some new formulas that work.

    • Like those Korean tacos everybody hates?

    • I’ve seen it done very well — Zengo was pretty solid in it’s heydey; China Poblano and a few other Jose Andreas places do the job well. The flavor profiles and techniques line up nicely.

      • Yeah, there are certainly places that do it well, it’s just that it can fail miserably (like any restaurant I suppose). I’ve been to Zengo a few times and liked what I had. I need to try China Poblano – that looks promising and I feel like Andreas could execute a successful blending.

    • Chifa cuisine is eaten all around the world and is a staple of Peru. Plus, Chinese food is all over Mexico and has been for like 400 years. So yes, it does work. Places like Zengo, Masa 14, China Chilcano, Takorean, and others have had a lot of success in DC.

  • That “concept” is a goddamn mess. Obviously created by bots, not humans. Because no human would say “Drinks make money. Sushi makes money. Wait… I’ve got an idea…”

  • Sounds like a play off of the old Lima Lounge!

  • I think I read that Wondering Samurai cocktail is going to run $40. Say, $15 for the cocktail. That leaves what – $25 for six half-pieces of sashimi? This seems rather dubiously priced, but I guess we’ll see if they have much luck at this price point. I don’t particularly mind paying top-dollar for fancy liqueur-filled cocktails, but I don’t care much for half-assed gimmicks at $40/pop.

    • Looking at the picture, are those two straws? If so, it’s like a tiki bowl, so price based on two cocktails.

      Not saying it’s a steal, but it’s not quite as much of a rip off as your math is proposing.

  • Love the interior. Saki Bomb’s for all.

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