photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

Kyojin Sushi image

Kyojin Sushi



$$$$Perfect For:Impressing Out of TownersDate Night


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Not every restaurant is meant to be your Tuesday night dinner spot. Some of them are weekend wonders where you can stunt on folks after a long week at work. Kyojin Sushi is for when you kinda want to hit the club and people-watch, but also need somewhere to sit (and eat damn good, albeit pricey, sushi).

The cave-like restaurant in Georgetown comes alive on Friday and Saturday nights, our favorite time to go. Before the DJ shows up, EDM bounces off the stone walls so loudly you might have to shout at the person across from you. At the bar, folks dressed in shimmering dresses and pressed button-downs laugh an octave too high, while glancing to see if their over-the-top behavior has pulled the attention of their neighbors chowing down on juicy sashimi. 

In the dining room, couples split fresh cuts of nigiri and test their love for each other over single pieces of $30 specialties like the seared wagyu with Hokkaido uni, a buttery piece of A5 beef topped with caviar. And college kids, sharing gyoza and a six-piece roll before heading across the street to fill up on much cheaper burgers, check out the wobbly friends whose legs have had just about enough of their stilettos.

cave walls with booths and long wood tables

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

stone walls with marble sushi counter and tiger mural painted on wall

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

dark bar with bar lights on ceiling and bar stools

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

cave walls with booths and long wood tables
stone walls with marble sushi counter and tiger mural painted on wall
dark bar with bar lights on ceiling and bar stools

Gold flakes and caviar bumps are on just about everything on the menu, and while they’re fun to look at, they don’t make the toro any better. Luckily, the best thing at Kyojin, the chef’s choice sushi platter with ten cuts of nigiri, is also one of the most affordable. It’s full of slices of bluefin tuna and salmon belly so flavorful you can eat it raw—we’re talking sans soy sauce and wasabi. 

On weeknights, without the nightclub feel and top-notch people-watching, Kyojin appears more like a dungeon where they serve fish instead of a cool underground restaurant. But on any day, Kyojin has some of the freshest sushi we’ve had in the city, which makes it worth hitting up on the weekend for a loud, fun dinner. Just make sure you have a $300 budget (or late-night burger spot) in your back pocket.

Food Rundown

ceramic plate with sushi stack of rich and fish topped with gold leaf

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

The Winner

Kyojin’s signature dish is a single piece of sushi that comes with three slices of bluefin tuna. It’s designed for three bites: one with the eel sauce, one with the pink ginger sauce, and one all together.
ceramic plate with a flower in the middle surrounded by 4 pieces of sushi with uni and caviar

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

Spicy Toro With Uni Roll

These chewy rolls, stuffed with fresh cuts of toro and topped with creamy orange uni, have a subtle kick. They’re smaller than some of the other rolls, but if you’re feeling nice, the four pieces are enough to split.
rectangular plate with a single piece of sushi topped with fish, uni, and gold leaf

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

Seared Wagyu With Hokkaido Uni

This solo bite of sushi has Kyojin’s hallmarks of gold flakes and caviar. But it's the lightly seared A5 Japanese wagyu that's so soft it doesn't require chewing that makes us risk overdrafting our account to have a couple of pieces.

Chef’s Choice Sushi Dinner

The cuts in the 10-piece nigiri plate switch up depending on what’s available, and the chef’s mood, but the slices of kampachi and salmon belly are so fresh and flavorful you can eat it raw—we’re talking sans soy sauce and wasabi.

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