Kushi (Temporarily?) Closed in Mt. Vernon Square

by Prince Of Petworth July 24, 2011 at 10:04 pm 35 Comments

A reader sent in word late Friday night that Kushi had closed with the above note posted the door. Not sure how fast tax problems can be cleared up/resolved but The Triangle notes that Kushi’s twitter feed says:

“Hello friends! Kushi is taking the weekend off and will be closed until early next week.”

Kushi is located at 465 K St, NW and we judged them to mostly positive reviews back in March ’10. I’ll be sure to update when they reopen.

  • rooty tooty

    what the crap? this is my fav spot for sushi.

    • MtP

      That’s a big leap, to get from “DC shut us down for noncompliance” to “we’re taking the weekend off.”

  • fresh n fruity

    Not surprising that they’re closed, this was some of the worst sushi in DC, thought the fact that they can’t pay their taxes with those ridiculously inflated prices is pretty unbelievable. Selling terrible fish for hilariously high prices has got to pay the bills, right?

    • Anonymous

      what places do you like more?

    • ShawShank

      This place is widely considered to be one of the best restaurants in the city and has made the short list for some national awards. You clearly had an abnormally bad experience or don’t know what you are talking about.

      • fresh n fruity

        I’ve been there a couple times, always been disappointed in the fish, the flavors, and then laughed at the price. I know it looks cool, and is rather hip, but I have never come away impressed, much less happy I ate there.

        • JustSayIt

          I lived in Japan for a year and visit it often; one thing I can assure you is that Kushi’s fish is VERY fresh. Whether fish is fresh or not, is not that subjective, it is closer to a fact. As far as their prices and whether it is an authentic Izakaya, that is a different story.
          Recently they cut their menu down about 2/3’s. According to the waiter it was “So they can make it seasonal and locally sourced” – What a novel idea(joke) It’s also Hogwash!! The night I was there the only Kushiyaki (the grilled skewers the restaurant takes it’s name from) available was chicken breast – no chicken thighs?!?! Are they not in season, or available locally. Something’s going on at Kushi, and it isn’t good news for the people who liked it in it’s normal inception.
          Btw, my wife and I posted a similar complaint on their FB page and they deleted it.

          • steve

            agree, the place is overpriced for mediocre food, and the yakitori is subpar. $5 for a negima with no flavor…?!

            with those prices if this is tax-related i’m only going to laugh..

          • Jason

            The place was always packed. They couldn’t have spent too much on their minimal but tasteful decor compared to other restaurants that operate at that upscale pricing level. If they are having cash flow problems then it’s poor management. Not every chef or caterer who makes excellent food is equipped to be a savvy and efficient businessperson.

            That said, it’s also entirely possible DC government charged them an outrageous and erroneous bill and they refused to pay it without contesting it. And perhaps sticking to that principle meant being willing to close for a few days.

            We really don’t know much…

    • Anonymouse

      The sushi was great, especially the seared fatty salmon. If you can’t afford it, stay home. I don’t want to sit next to your broke, complaining ass anyway!!!!!

    • sushi fan

      This is a nonsensical post. Kushi has probably the best sushi in town.

  • dues

    wtf! i’ve only been there once but i loved it. sat at the izakaya bar. had some killer uni. come back!

    • Ben

      Agree – that and otorro. Still some of the best sushi I’ve had.

      Although I noticed it had recently declined slightly since I first went back in June 2010 – hope it’s not a sign.

  • Anonymous

    Place sucks. I know this was shortlisted for some awards, but I’ve eaten better at many other sushi/izakaya places in and around DC. And such outrageous prices! In a different DC this place would survive for a decade or more (see: TenPenh), but we’ve finally started to move away from tolerating mediocrity.

    My guess is that mismanagement + failure to pay taxes is what’s going on here.

    • Anonymous

      you didn’t like tenpenh? what are you comparing it to?

  • SOUP

    I found their grill/skewer items to be lackluster but thought their fish fresh and excellent.

  • Chris

    If people don’t think that Kushi is the end-all be-all for Sushi and specifically izakaya, what would you suggest?

    Also – I would recommend going for lunch if you have issues with the prices. They are beyond fair and you get a ton of food.

    • Anonymous

      i’ve been for lunch and found the prices very reasonable.

  • oink

    +1 for alternative suggestions. I’m tempted to use Savored to try Sushi Taro some night. No way I’d go otherwise.

    • Claire

      My boyfriend and I went to Sushi Taro for restaurant week this past winter and it was an amazing experience. If you’re able to get reservations there for the upcoming summer restaurant week, I’d recommend it!

      • Anonymous

        +1 on Sushi Taro. Probably the Gold Standard in DC

        • rooty tooty

          gold standard indeed. bring your gold ingots, because it costs a fortune. but if money is no object…it’s there, or makoto.

  • Lindsey

    They also were closed for approx 24 hours a few months ago (I don’t remember the details, I just live in the area so remember the sign). I also am amused by the fact their facebook page makes it sound like they took a mid-summer break, rather than then being closed down!

  • Anonymous

    Anyone know if Jordan’s 8 (8th Street SE) is taking a similar vacation? They’ve been closed for a couple weeks now.

    • jaime

      Was wondering that myself… do they have any sort of sign up?

  • I’ve been twice (though not for some time, sorry to hear about changes to menue) and thought it was excellent on both occasions, maybe a BIT pricey given the portions, but quality was excellent and none of the Japanese places around here are exactly cheap. Every time I’ve been there or peeked in when in the area, it has looked absolutely packed to me, I’d be shocked if it wasn’t profitable.

    I’d put it up with Sushi Ko as the best Sushi / Japanese I’ve had around D.C. I preferred both to Sushi Taro, Sei and Kaz, certainly. Although yet to try Kotobuki or Makoto, which many say are the best. I also think Tono is very underrated, reliable and tasty delivery. If there is another Japanese place that gets hype outside of this group, I haven’t heard about it …

    • Anonymous

      banana leaves belongs in the underrated, reliable, and tasty delivery category (more so than Tono, which used to be my go-to); RIP until they re-open.

      p.s. Kushi has their sushi FedEx’d in every day, or so the story went. according to the NYT, most sushi restaurants in the US end up buying their fish from the same people (though better cuts probably go to better restaurants). it’s how they store and prepare it that matters.

    • Anonymous

      +1 for Tono Sushi. It might not be the fanciest sushi in the city, but it’s delicious and delivery is always reliable.

  • bennett

    kotobuki in palisades and yosaku in tenleytown have WAY better sushi than kushi. the rest of kushi’s menu is admittedly delicious, and the fish is great sometimes, but not always. i’m consistently surprised people think the sushi is so good.

    • bennett

      and makoto, kotobuki’s neighbor!

  • Anon

    I am so tired of the haters in DC. I have lived in this city of almost a decade and did not like it all that much when I first arrived because of a lack of a good nightlife. Kushi and places like it should be applauded not bashed. DC cannot be a city of cheap eats and cheap drinks. Kushi was shortlisted for the James Beard Award. Look it up if you don’t know what it is. The food is great, period. There may be other places that you like better but it does not suck. Stop with the hating and negativity! How many of you have had the courage to open a restaurant? Probably none of you. DC needs more places like Kushi where we can escape the crowd that is always in search of the next $1 beer and nachos. For God’s sake people, get some sense of style and class

    • Ace


      If you’re looking for a really affordable meal that will leave you stuffed, there’s this popular America joint called Mac-Don-alds… cheap bastards looking for cheap eats.

      And I love how all these people say that the food sucks, but yet they’ve gone there ten times. STOP GOING IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT. Or you can keep going and just use the stupid term “FML..”

      Whether there was mismanagement or miscommunication with a government office (cause that NEVER happens…), they were open one business day later. If they opened that quickly, something got resolved. And for a government office to resolve something that quickly.. says something in it self.

      At the end of the day. I can go back and get some great food!

  • MikeD

    Kushi should be applauded it is a damn good restaurant. Unfortunately the owners are clearly crooks and have serious challenges managing cash flow. Not paying withholding on employees can put people in serious jeopardy never mind the obvious failure to pay sales tax.

    Someone is going to be in a criminal court soon.

  • emmyindc

    I like Kushi, but it’s overpriced for what you get. Best when you have a Groupon. My favorite place for sushi is Tachibana in (gasp!) Mclean. Fantastic.

  • urban-anthro

    ate at Kushi last night. All systems GO!!


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