I quit commuting and finally moved to DC three years ago this past fall. Since that time, I quit my vegetarian ways and made up for lost sushi eating time, and have been trying every restaurant I could get a friend to recommend. I have found the most inventive chefs in town are Mickey and Hiro, at Tono Sushi.
The three guys on duty who really add to the character of the place are Mickey (above left), Eddie (above right) and Hiro (below right).
Eddie is a super-friendly guy, and a great sake-sommelier. He arranged a sake-tasting for our company dinner a few months ago that was a brilliant introduction to the art of sake for I and my colleagues.
Hiro, pictured above with a beautiful female customer at the sushi bar that night, is also an excellent chef with a great attitude. He once made a spicy plum flounder mixture that I’d never seen, and completely blew me away. Hiro always mentions the special desserts he makes (he’s a dessert chef as well) but I’m always too full to eat them.
Seiji (not pictured) is one of the owners who also has his own sushi consulting company, run out of Tono sushi.
However the real energy at Tono Sushi is Mickey. Trained as a French chef, Mickey blends the presentation-intensive work of French cooking with the delicious tastes and colors of Japanese cuisine. Mickey possesses the rare quality that I don’t often find in a sushi chef: experimentation and humor. When I first started going to Tono, the menu had huge amounts of varied appetizers and dishes. Mickey’s creations were legendary, and I avoided his off-night because I wanted to try them all.
However the managers of the restaurant forced him to trim the menu a bit, because of the time it took to make some of his more fascinating creations. What remains is still delicious, and if you sit at the bar and Mickey is serving you, you’re in for a big treat!
Mickey makes the most amazing things out of ordinary vegetables; his work truly exemplifies the beauty in every part of the presentation that makes Japanese cuisine such a labor of love.
Mickey also has a special sense for unusual tastes. He often will create special combinations of tastes that I’ve never had before. Finally, and best of all, he’s talkative and fun; a bright change from dour, all-business sushi chefs.
I highly recommend you try Tono Sushi at their location at Connecticut and Calvert in Washington, DC.