You know those few restaurants that it seems like everyone from your school goes to on the weekends? The ones where everyone has Facebook pictures with the same colorful background holding the same glass of Sangria or doing the same Saki bomb? I'm sure you've had your fair share of these restaurants by now; I know I have. That's why there is something very satisfying about finding a new go-to restaurant in college, which is why I'm beyond relieved to have found Raku.
One of my biggest – and only – culinary complaints about Washington D.C. is I have never managed to find good quality, fresh sushi…until now. Raku serves up an array of exotic sushi rolls and drinks that easily compete with (and maybe even surpass) the quality of other well known sushi joints in D.C. Raku is literally a hidden gem- it is located on a back corner of Dupont Circle, behind one of D.C.'s most acclaimed non-political landmarks-Kramerbooks. So why would you ever stumble upon Raku, when any pedestrian would happily make their way into Kramer's? The key to finding any hidden gem is talking with locals. In this case, the "local" happened to be my friend, Sara, who has spent the last three school years and two summers studying, exploring and, most importantly, dining in D.C. Sara insisted that she take me to Raku to experience "the city's best sushi," and boy, was she right.
To start off, we walked to and sat outside at Raku… in March. It was one of the first nice, springlike nights and there is nothing I like better than to sit outside and enjoy a tasteful dinner. We were greeted by two smiling, well dressed hostesses. Their trendy outfits mirrored the decor and ambiance of the restaurant, thus giving me hope for an equally fashionable meal. As we pondered over the dinner and drink menu, I realized my decision would be harder to make than I thought – everything sounded so good and so unique compared to the average California roll. Sushi rolls filled with everything from Maryland crab, to Maine lobster, to potato crisps, and an extended menu of mixed drinks to wash it all down. Between the three of us, we ended up getting six different rolls to share, each one just as freshly flavorful as the next, and one drink each. The drinks were in soda-sized glasses, filled to the brim with colorful, mouthwatering concoctions and topped with a cherry. When the bill came, we were pleasantly surprised to see that it, including the tip, was under $100. How can you beat that in Washington?!
After experiencing Raku, I take back what I said about D.C. not having any good sushi bars. I am now open to experiencing new takes on my favorite cuisines. There are hidden gems all over the city just waiting to be found by college students looking for a great meal at a reasonable price. I'm sure you're thinking about how you would really like a change in your group's go-to dinner scene, and now you know, it can be done! With the right mindset and motivation, you too, can find your own Raku.