Tucked off U Street's main drag at 11th and V streets, Izakaya Seki is a no-brainer for a first date. With just a handful of counter seats wrapping around the open kitchen downstairs and a dozen small tables upstairs, the understated, minimal-yet-cozy design pretty much guarantees intimacy.
The brainchild of chef Hiroshi Seki and his daughter, Cizuka, this spot has been open for just over two months, but has already won the admiration of pretty much every heavyweight critic in the city. Here, the focus is on the food — and the drink, since there are more than 30 varieties of sake and shochu available to whet your whistle.
Try the grilled sea bass, wasabi chicken tenders, tempura veggies, and any of the fresh sashimi prepared in the open kitchen, and before you head over, follow our recipe for one perfectly sleek and sophisticated ensemble.
H&M Jacket, $79.95, available at H&M; DV by Dolce Vita Bansi Boot, $108.95, available at Lori's Shoes; Halston Heritage Atmosphere Beige Draped Front Jersey Dress, $535, available at Stylebop; Zara Zebra Clutch With Chain, $99.90, available at Zara; Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, $8.99, available at Ulta; Accessorize Moroccan Fringe Teardrop Earrings, $23, available at Accessorize.
Izakaya Seki, 1117 V Street NW; 202-588-5841.
Photographed by Holly E. Thomas