For those of you who spent your youth and/or your college days in DC, I hope you will share in my excitement in what is looking to be a serious revival for the once-diminishing Adams Morgan neighborhood.
In college, Adams Morgan was THE place to go out. But in those days it was all Tom Toms, the Reef, and Adams Mill - none of which have existed for quite some time now. Probably for good reasons. When I graduated from GW, Adams Morgan was the natural place to move for budding young (but underpaid) professionals. Over the course of that year (2007-08), and in the years since then, AdMo started to slip. I moved to New York and then back to DC in 2011 to find a flourishing restaurant scene in Shaw and Logan Circle, but a mostly undesirable Adams Morgan.
I admit that over the last 3 years I had pretty much given up on AdMo. But recently, with the opening of Sakuramen, Pop's Sea Bar, Johnny Pistola's and now Donburi, my faith in Adam's Morgan has been restored.
Donburi is literally a hole in the wall, but it has the most unbelievable rice bowls topped with goodies like sashimi salmon, fried chicken or pork, or eel. A friend of mine described these as "Japanese comfort food", and I totally get why.
The set up is simple. You wait for a seat at the counter. When one opens up, you place your order with the hostess and then wait for the chefs to assemble your bowl.
Amanda and I decided to first share the Sakedon, which comes topped with sashimi-style raw salmon and the Karaegedon, with fried chicken. We sat down and were mesmerized by the orderliness of this tiny kitchen. The cooks move at lightening pace making bowls for in-house diners and take-out orders at the same time. Amidst what should be chaos, there is a jovial atmosphere. The chefs joke with one another as they cook and assemble the ingredients, and seem genuine about sharing their creations with the diners.
If you are like me, and crave really good (affordable) sushi but have yet to find that place in DC, then you are going to be excited to know that the Sakedon is the best sashimi I have had in DC. Hands down. My jaw literally dropped when I saw the size of the pieces of salmon the chef used to top my bowl. Not to mention the quality of the fish, which was super fresh and tasty.
Next we tried the Karageadon. This was a generous serving of crisp and super juicy fried chicken marinated in mirin and soy for jam-packed flavor, then topped with pickled daikon radishes, jalepeno peppers, shredded nori, and a partially-cooked egg. If you've been reading this blog, you'll know that I think everything is better with an egg on top. For the true experience, stir all of these ingredients together -- it is the ultimate umami bomb.
The food was amazing at Donburi, and I would have happily paid top dollar for the amazing sashimi and other rice bowls. But the best part is, you don't have to. On average the bowls cost $10-12, making it a budget-friendly option. I can't wait to go back and try the Katsudon (fried pork) and the Ebidon (shrimp).
Welcome back, Adams Morgan!