1811 Columbia Rd. N.W. Tel. (202) 234-6218 Fax (202) 234-9453
An unpretentious entrance off Columbia Road leads to a garish second-story dining room, which was deserted except for the sushi bar (but apparently not on Sundays, when there's a drag show brunch), and perilously steep stairs leading to the rooftop bar and dining area. They don't take reservations, but a friend and I arrived early and were promptly seated between two Danish journalists and a young couple more interested in each other than the food.
It was a cool evening under the stars, and the excellent Lindeman's Bin Australian chardonnay we ordered was perfect for the occasion, and a bargain at $ 21. We shared the sushi platter ($ 18), an assortment of raw fish perched atop sticky rice, as good as any I had in Tokyo's famed Tsukiji fish market.
We stayed with seafood, which Chef Keith Palen executes with panache. They were out of the black sea bass, so I ordered the Dover sole ($ 16.95) and my guest had the halibut ($ 17.95). Both were seabreeze fresh and perfectly cooked, and accompanied by equally fresh vegetables. The rooftop restaurant quickly filled with mostly young people, who seemed to be having a wonderful time. But diners should be careful when they leave, especially after a drink or two, as they must navigate the steepest, scariest stairs this side of Macchu Picchu.