Best Asian Restaurants: No. 4 Nasime

The details at Nasime are enchanting.

Photo by Jonathan Timmes
A sashimi platter decorated in edible flowers / Photo by Jonathan Timmes

Chef and owner Yuh Shimomura burns his restaurant’s name, Nasime, onto each pair of wooden chopsticks. Also on the table: a tubular piece of pottery on which the chopsticks rest between courses. The details are enchanting.

But then you try to flag the waitress/host/manager and realize there is only one of her in the entire restaurant. The restaurant is 20 seats, everyone eating the same multi-course, $48 meal.

It’s this juxtaposition—the care, the hurried service, the esoteric root or herb, the huge pot of miso ramen with lobster claws pointing skyward—that translates into acknowledging Nasime is a restaurant unlike many others here, not just in its size and staff of three (four on the weekend) but also in what you will find on the plate. There will be yam stem, sweet and crisp like an apple, with a ponzo jelly paired alongside sashimi, the latter of which, thick slices of raw fish, might be the only recognizable contribution to the plate.

This intimate approach, with Shimomura cooking everything (there are no other cooks) and, if you sit at the counter, presenting the food too, stems from kappo-style dining. It’s of a non-Western demeanor and conception, twee and funky and precise, just like how Tokyo feels jarring and alive and like another planet in the best possible way. • 209 King St., Alexandria

(April 2017 Best Asian Restaurants)

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