If the only way you know how to eat Japanese rice is with sushi or sashimi, you are missing out. You need to go to Kotobuki for kamameshi, a traditional Japanese rice dish cooked in an iron pot called a kama.
Kotobuki is a hole-in-the-wall, tiny (15 patrons max) restaurant that’s certainly one of the most difficult restaurants to find. Kotobuki does serve just about the finest quality fish in the D.C. area; most days, you’ll find chef/owner Hisao Abe behind the sushi counter delighting customers with his creations. What makes Kotobuki special is that it's the only Japanese restaurant in D.C. that serves kamameshi. The rice is cooked with chicken, eel, or vegetables in the iron pot. The skill of making kamameshi well involves cooking everything so that the rice is slightly charred at the bottom of the iron pot, imparting a mild, smoky flavor to the rice. At Kotobuki, the kamameshi comes with side dishes including brined daikon, pickled beets, and bits of seasoned white fish. I find the eel to be a little too fishy for my liking, so I always go for the chicken.
For the price, you’ll get a meal that will more than fill you. It’s a great value for the money. Finding Kotobuki may be a bit of a challenge (look for it above its sister restaurant, Makoto) but it’s worth the effort!