Izakaya Seki is where I go when I want authentic but unfamiliar Japanese food, and is a place for somewhat adventurous diners. It sits in a nondescript building on a quiet residential street, with a red lantern being the only indication if the place is open!
Run by a Japanese chef and his daughter, the first floor of the 2-level space has 10 stools overlooking Chef Seki’s counter, and the second floor dining area accommodates up to 30 people. Yes, it’s pretty small and is always packed with “foodies”. They do not take reservations, but once they have your name on the list, they will call you when the table is ready. Until then, there are plenty of options in the area to grab a drink and wait, and believe me, it will be worth it.
The menu is exciting, grouped into sections such as raw, grilled, fried etc and they also offer an extensive sake selection. Almost everything I have had here has been a hit, but some of my favorites are the fried meat skewers (fried pork belly on a skewer!), monkfish liver, yellowtail sashimi, crab and corn croquettes and the garlic fried rice. Honestly though, the food shines and the options are delicious. Definitely be adventurous at this place and take the staff’s suggestions.
If you like Japanese food, then this is definitely a must-go in DC.