I love a good sushi bar—and I regularly lament the lack of good sushi spots in Washington. Sometimes, you just need a spot for a spicy tuna roll and a frou frou cocktail, with cool vibes and sexy music. We just don’t have that here in D.C. Where I come from, South Florida, there are places for basic Bitches to drink cosmos and have sushi rolls with their girlfriends on every corner. I must admit I miss that sometimes.
There are a few, awesome hole-in-the-wall sushi spots, but they lack the atmosphere for cocktails and a night on the town.
Enter: Sakerum, a cocktail bar and lounge, sushi and Izakaya, complete with a beautiful design, sexy rooftop patio, and quirky cocktail menu filled with concoctions that will make you say “Oh, fun!”
It’s just that: a perfect place for a fun group happy hour, a girls’ dinner and cocktails on a Friday night, or to drop by for cocktails. It’s also conveniently located on 14th Street.
As I missed the opening party, I was invited to try the restaurant, so I invited my friend Cara to catch up on a sultry, hot summer’s evening. We made our way through the imposing door into the low lit, sleek space.
The space is designed by Swatchroom, a design and build studio from local female entrepreneur Maggie O’Neill. They’ve designed numerous popular spots, including Chaplin‘s, Lincoln, Teddy & the Bully Bar, among others. The downstairs was sleek and narrow—with a long, modern open sushi bar with black sleek booths with Peruvian cloth on the opposing side.
The upstairs is an outdoor wooden patio, with Moroccan lights hanging from the ceiling and Miami vibes. It’s the perfect, sexy spot for cocktails on a date. The cocktail menu is comprised of tropical cocktails with Asian and Latin influences and oh-so-quirky names. We ordered the “Ladies Love Me,” and the “Girls Adore Me,” respectively. Both cocktails were served in enormous wine chalices and loaded with fruit, which put them at a strong start before we even took sips.
I enjoyed the “Ladies Love Me,” with rum, yuzu tonic, mixed fruit, and lime. It was light, refreshing, and not too sweet.
While I loathe gin, Cara enjoys it, and the “Girls Adore Me” had Ford’s Gin, strawberry tonic, mixed fruit, and lime. It was just a tad sweet—the cocktail had the perfect sweetness to mask the booze.
We also sampled the Nikkei, which at first blush looked like a Piña Colada, but in reality was anything but. The Nikkei was made with Pisco, Mizu Lemongrass Shochu, Snow Moon Sake, lemon, and egg white. It was frothy, creamy, and smooth—somehow light. It was absolutely heavenly and I highly recommend it.
The most exciting part of the cocktail menu—and the evening—occurred when they brought out a flaming punch bowl that contained not only rum but sashimi. This enormous bowl was filled with a rum cocktail for two with shaved ice, and nestled on the top was salmon and tuna sashimi. The waiter was very pleased with himself as he presented this creative concoction—then nearly burnt his fingers off trying to ensure we didn’t do the same.
Sakerum’s dining menu offers a light selection of Asian appetizers and crudos, as well as an expansive menu of sushi rolls and sashimi. We tried the salmon crudo, made with pickled fennel, carrots, asparagus, red onion, bonito flakes, and a sesame aioli.
The waitress, who was an absolute doll, recommended we try the Yaki Tako. At first, I thought she was talking about tacos—so I of course wanted to place that order. Turns out the Yaki Tako is a grilled octopus dish, and we both love grilled octopus. This dish was simply executed—the octopus was brushed with lemon oil, and served with chunks of spicy orange and mango.
In addition to to the Yaki Tako, we ordered two classic rolls: the Kazan roll, which is a roll filled with shrimp tempura and avocado, and topped with that delicious baked spicy crab salad we’re used to from sushi bars. It did not disappoint.
We doubled down on the shrimp tempura, also ordering the double fried shrimp tempura, served with a shiso chipotle aioli and bonito flakes. It was super crispy and oily, in the best possible way. The shrimp were presented with heads on, which we excused given the beautiful presentation. Everything at Sakerum was plated creatively and the food was great with those tropical cocktails.
Sakerum is a welcome addition to a D.C. dining scene lacking in sushi spots and especially ones that also serve great cocktails. I’m happily adding it to my Rolodex of fun spots to have on hand for girls nights, either for a quick dinner, happy hour, or night out.
2204 14th St. N.W.