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Go beyond sushi at Izakaya Seki

Don't stroll into Izakaya Seki searching for spicy tuna rolls.

The new Japanese restaurant off U Street does serve sashimi, but the menu, which is predominantly broken down by ingredients served raw, grilled/broiled, fried or steamed, typically adheres to classic Japanese traditions.

Start raw with three pieces of sashimi ($13), which could include maguro, octopus or flounder immaculately sliced by owner Hiroshi Seki. Alternately, try shime saba, a vinegar-cured mackerel ($12).

Next, move to the grill, where slices of sea bass ($14) are glossed with delicate miso glaze, and salmon is lightly seared for tataki ($12), topped with wisps of shredded shiso leaf.

Fried rock-shrimp fritters ($9) look more like latkes, with slivered onions and carrots tangling with plump shrimp in lightly battered disks alongside a bowl of gingery tentsuyu sauce.

In lieu of hand rolls, try a rice ball ($3.50), a ball of tender white rice holding a center of salmon, pickled plum or pickled vegetables, tucked into a fold of nori.

You won't miss the spicy mayonnaise.

Izakaya Seki, 1117 V St. NW (between 11th & 12th sts.); 202-588-5841 or sekidc.com