“You like? You like?” I’m not sure what to call this little woman (mama? matron?), but she came out of the kitchen to make sure I enjoyed my meal. “Of course,” I say. “It’s extremely delicious and really really pretty.” I’m talking about the deluxe sashimi bowl. It’s a work of art and I spin it a few times in admiration before digging in.

I would never have found this little restaurant — except for a small sign at the top of the street indicating “Japanese food” on the street below. The building is rather nondescript, but was packed during both of my visits, which is usually an indicator that the food is good.

I notice right away that the sushi chef says “hi” and “thank you” to everyone who enters and leaves. “It’s family run,” I am told by one of the servers. “My uncle runs the restaurant and the staff are family.” Next to me at the sushi bar is the chef’s mom (she’s the one who recommended the sashimi bowl). “Make sure he doesn’t add too much rice,” she whispers with a mischievous grin. Everyone here is really friendly.

Earlier in the week I sampled the fried egg hotpot with a seaweed salad. Both were delicious. Instead of rice they use lemon grass in the hotpot, which is a twist I’ve never encountered before. I want to try it again but the problem with discovering such a wonderful place is: I don’t live in Washington and I don’t know when I’ll be back.