O-Ku - DC

4.8
185 reviews
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$30 and under
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Sushi
O-Ku DC is a modern Japanese restaurant opening May 2018 in the Union Market neighborhood of Northeast Washington, DC. Executive Chef Bryan Emperor will create a menu of innovative dishes using traditional Japanese techniques and the finest fish and ingredients from around the world.

The 120-seat restaurant will also house a lounge specializing in Japanese whiskey as well as a 40-seat rooftop bar, both featuring a sleek industrial design to complement the surrounding neighborhood.
What 185 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.7
service
4.8
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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CH
Chicago
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this place! So great to have a fantastic sushi restaurant close by.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was amazing Matt was our server he took it to an othe

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CB
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I've been here twice now and have never been disappointed by anything on the menu.

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t
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

I had a 9-course omakase in O-Ku. Everything was exceptional. The chef was professional and experienced. The service was also very nice. One thing I was a little bit disappointed was the main entree course--they served grilled snapper with ponzu sauce, which wasn't very special. I would have been happier if it was something more Japanese oriental.

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KJ
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Came here twice in one week! First time for Happy Happy and then later for dinner. Service and food were outstanding!

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ML
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on March 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good food. Good customer service

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ZP
Washington DC
29 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

All the small plates we tried were excellent and served in sharing size. The chef’s specials and robota items were hit and miss, all tasty but small yakitori chicken and small amount of short rib. Had some good Maine uni.

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OT
Salt Lake City
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and great atmosphere.

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was hand crafted as unique. Quality sushi worth every penny!

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S
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved it! Perfect date night with my wife. We will definitely be back!

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The menu and presentation far exceeded expectations and the service was quality. O-Ku has an incredibly knowledgeable and personable staff. We will definitely be going back here soon!

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KH
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Took my in law here for an anniversary dinner and everyone was raving about every piece of food they got to try! I would describe this place as a Japanese Tapas return. Small dishes for everyone to share. Very delish and the staff was amazing!

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HG
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love the aburi chef! He is a true artist and a kind person. We have come several times and he has such great service and is an amazing artist!

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KR
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I really like the vibe of this restaurant. Ever time we have gone there, the manager or partner greets us and chats for a while.. But the food is also wonderful.

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GC
Baltimore
5 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

This was good but not outstanding. The small plates were a little salty. The rolls were good but not anything you couldn't get somewhere else.

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F
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

We dined here on a Friday night. The ambience was fine walking in. We were seated at the sushi bar which we normally enjoy. A few things went wrong. Our full order wasn't placed. Our first dish was taken away before we were finished (a new one was promptly replaced.) The snow crab roll was just not good. Loosely rolled. Overwhelming flavor of propane from a sauce they had scorched. This technique was over used on rolls I saw going out. Overall. Not a great sushi experience. Fell somewhere in between on almost everything for me. The tono small plate was the best thing we ate all night. It reminded me of early 2000s Wabi Sabi in LA.

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KF
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great vibe and good food

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MV
1 review
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and great vibes. Played bangers the whole time.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such a great space!! So excited to have this addition to our neighborhood.

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K
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

My girlfriend and I went to O-Ku for dinner with another couple. We ended up doing the Omasake (9 course chef’s dining experience for $100). The quality and quantity is an absolute steal for what you get served. One course actually came with a sake pairing. One of the people in our group didn’t not drink and they catered perfectly to serving non-alcoholic/spirit-free cocktails. The server was amazingly friendly and helpful with navigating our preferences. There was a minor snafu in the timing of one of our courses but it didn’t bother us one bit because we still felt taken care of and we were given a little seaweed salad to hold us...but also it is 9-courses, so it is a lot of food to where we weren’t anxious in getting served. The four of us have gone to O-Ku for other occasions (I.e. date night, happy hour, casual everyday dining) and we have never had bad service/bad food/a bad experience. This place always come through with a wonderful dining experience, and it is affordable for something simple and can be a place to cater all the way up to being more upscale/elegant.

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D
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Food was great and server was funny and nice. Ambiance was good as well. Wish they’d given us an option to not sit in the main entry way vs the room in the back-we didn’t even know that existed!

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KW
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really great! Good food, fun and knowledgable server (Giancarlo).

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P
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Our server Gian Carlo, I think was his name, was lovely and well-versed in the food and drink offered at the restaurant. The atmosphere was welcoming and everyone there was attentive to our needs. Only two of us were drinking alcohol while the other two stuck with water and so our bill was not as high as a server might like, but there seemed to be no thought to that as my friends and I reconnected after a long separation - we did not feel rushed to leave and they continued to fill our water glasses. That was nice. There are places that want to turn over tables as soon as possible. We did leave when we realized how long we had held the table... I would highly recommend this restaurant!

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OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Went here for Valentines with my hub. He works at Gallaudet, so it is really a treat to have a new sushi place of this quality close by. We are big sashimi fans, however for some reason didn’t get much of it this night, which is probably my reason for 4 stars on the food portion. We got 3 rolls, the snow king (3) crunchy prawn (4) and the unagi (5). I’m not a huge fan of crab in a sushi roll, so that was my least favorite. Unagi was delicious. The one sashimi dish we did get (hamachi small plate) was a 5, and left me wanting to come back for a smorgasbord of sashimi. It wasn’t cold at all, and had tremendous flavor. Cocktails were a solid 4/5. The service and atmosphere are 5, will definitely be back.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Food was good but value wasn’t there

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the half price sushi and very attentive wait staff

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Arguably one of the better restaurant experiences I’ve had in DC. Certainly the best for sushi and Japanese food. The menu and cocktails were elevated by a solid vibe and knowledgeable wait staff. Highly recommend.

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OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, drinks, and even better experience!

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J
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I would highly recommend O-Ku for a date night. Great sushi, great music, and all around good vibes. Definitely going to come back soon.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food and service - a little loud for a business dinner. I will definitely return again.

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DD
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

In DC area for a business trip this week. The co-worker traveling with me is a huge Sushi fan. I have never had the opportunity to try this delicacy. To be honest I was intimidated in the past not knowing what to try or where to get it from. I saw the Top 20 Restaurants in DC to try review, and checked out the menu. Having grilled options to fall back on, gave me the courage to suggest that we try O-Ku. I knew my dining partner would jump at this chance, so I knew i was going as soon as I opened my mouth....

Our server/guide for the night was Amanda. She is fabulous, and took the time to talk to me to see what I would like, and make some suggestions. She had the chefs make up a tasting of Nigiri Salmon with a miso truffle sauce that got me started and eager for more. We were lucky to get seated at the kitchen bar top, so I was able to watch the skills of the chefs as they prepared food for the clients. We had crab, prawn, tuna, Wagyu, .... and all were absolutely fabulous. Amanda was attentive as was all the staff. The manager stopped over after hearing that I popped my Sushi Cherry that night. She was curious what i thought coming in, and after dining with them. We had some Sake, and finished with a delicate gelato that really completed the meal.

My co-worker has been to many Sushi restaurants and was thoroughly impressed with the quality,ambiance, and dining experience. He was worried that I would not take to Sushi, but was thrilled at how that was not to be the case. Having taken the chance, this was the right place to jump into Japanese Cuisine. No regrets!. Nothing but great memories to carry forward, thanks to all the staff that interacted with us that night. Hope to see you again soon!

Note to those using Google maps to get here. Google Maps tried to take us to the back door. Yes we walked up an alley to the back of the restaurant.... No idea why Google tried to do that, but it was just one street off.

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JP
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The drinks and food were creative and delicious. Our waiter Matthew took incredible care of us. Very attentive and had great recommendations. The atmosphere had a lovely, glowy warmth. Highly recommend.

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H
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

They really went above and beyond for my friend’s birthday! We didn’t even say that we were celebrating but they saw me give her a card and inquired if we were here on occasion. That level of service is simply phenomenal and made my friend feel very special!

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JB
Washington DC
46 reviews
Dined on January 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Took husband here for birthday dinner. Great location; fun to wander around before. Lovely food and an interesting wine list. They were really nice about the birthday - sparkling wine and a card! Great waitstaff. Sushi is terrific. Seaweed salad was memorable. Not cheap, but ok for a special dinner.

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RP
1 review
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I loved O-Ku. It was our second time dining at the restaurant. The place is beautiful, and it has a great bar upstairs. The food is simply delicious and original. It is and feels special.

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l
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 21, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 5ambience 4

It was ok, but the sushi seemed a bit overpriced. Good service and a nice looking place, though.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulously creative sushi, lovely service, cozy atmosphere at the sushi bar. Really fun date, too!

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CR
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Executive Summary:
1. Highly recommend O-Ku - DC
2. The interior design is magnificent. Check out the 2nd floor
3. Service is amazing and knowledgeable

Driving through the Union Square area with the wholesale feel, one does not expect to find an amazing experience that is offered at O-Ku-DC. Their front door, stands out amongst the steel wholesale doors and you just know behind the door is a whole new world, and it is.

Open the door to O-Ku-DC and the design "pops" at you. They have "High-Top" tables, regular tables and the Sushi Bar seating tables. The layout has an amazing area upstairs where you could use their "Couch" area to have a great group outing and share in some of the amazing food. The upstairs also has a roof deck. Due to my January 2019 visit, I can't comment on the roof deck, but it looks fun.

The menu has a great selection of Sushi products and Chef creations. Don't forget to take advantage of the non-alcoholic drinks on the menu. The Thai Tea and Lemonades were delightful.

The entire staff was welcoming and our server was great to offer thoughts on the menu.

Take the time to get down to the area and dine at O-Ku - DC!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great recommendations, good service, awesome atmosphere, and incredible food. Will go back again and again!

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