Sunday, December 22, 2013

Donburi in DC

I have a confession: I often complain about food in DC, particularly if it's Asian food. It's often too expensive compared to its relative quality (and compared to good food in Los Angeles, for example).  Case in point: after several disappointing Sichuan meals, Ethan and I decided we would only eat Chinese food in the suburbs, never again in the city - a decision I stand by.

But recently, I've witnessed a small wave of donburi (Japanese rice bowl) shops hit the city.  Japanese rice bowls are one of my comfort foods. When executed well, a rice bowl is satisfying and simple.  I think I've survived on some type of donburi since undergrad.  I even had a spot I frequented when I lived in Cambodia.  

I'm thinking donburi may be a worth exception to my ban on (most) Asian food in DC.

Exhibit #1:  The karaage (fried chicken marinated in mirin and soy) donburi from Donburi, a 14-seat bar in Adams Morgan, is topped with a hefty serving of pickled vegetables, sliced onions and a half-cooked egg that seeps into the warm rice.  

Exhibit #2:  Another favorite is Daikaya's Japanese twist on a traditional Filipino dish, the sisig donburi with citrus marinated pork belly. 


  1. I hear you on the suburbs having better fare. The academic in me would like to know what's driving this surge in Japanese donburi shops. Is it just the next big thing in food, or is it responding to a growth in specific ethnic populations (ie. Japanese)?

  2. I could be wrong but I don't think it's spurred on by a growth in population. I feel the high rents in the city continue to drive many ethnic populations away, both for business and residence. It's probably just the next big thing to hit DC after ramen.

  3. Though the two joints I mentioned are owned by APA folks.


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