Food Diary: Himitsu

We weren’t drunk, that was the guy next to us.

For my fiancé’s birthday, we went due North on Georgia Ave. until we hit Petworth and Kevin Tien’s pseudo-Japanese spot, Himitsu. With just 24 spots in the dining room, Himitsu is a cozy restaurant that only started taking reservations recently — back in those ill-remembered, old days diners had to show up hours ahead of opening to nab a seat. We weren’t in a position to make it up to Petworth at 3 p.m. on a Tuesday to claim a spot, so the reservation system was the only reason why a few weeks ago we were sitting at the chef’s counter next to a drunk chef from Santa Rosa, CA.

He was a nice enough guy, really, we just marveled at his ability to smash five cocktails (in two hours) and handle three separate conversations while savoring the oh-so-delicious food that came his way. If that’s the life of a chef, someone loan me $30,000 so I can attend the Culinary Institute of America, please.

The menu at Himitsu is small — though it changes frequently — but mighty and welcoming for the gluten free and vegetarian who walk among us. We leaned toward veggies and fish in our meal, which peaked the interest of our new chef friend. We thought for a while he hadn’t ordered much of anything, until the pork chop and wagyu & foie showed up in front of him near our meal’s end and we realized he was marveling at our small plates because he had gone big.

The French onion dip with fresh veggies

I really wanted the off-menu (or chef’s special?) fried chicken, something I had seen all over Yelp and Instagram as I prepped myself for the meal, but sadly they were already sold out by our seating (not even that late!). Obviously, something that looks so delicious wouldn’t last forever, so we diverted our attention elsewhere on the menu.

Crudo? Yes. Street carrot? So soon we fell in love with Rooster & Owl’s, but that’ll work. French onion dip with a big ol’ bowl of crudité for dipping? Of course.

I love oysters, whether raw with a little bit of lemon or fried and covered with parmesan cheese. Himitsu’s are the latter and arrive on a bed of shaved salt (that, yes, our chef friend tried to eat unsuccessfully). Highly recommended.

Oysters on a bed of salt.
Eggs on toast.

Also highly recommended: the eggs & toast, an extremely delicate dish that may be off the menu now, but happily made its way into our belly’s that night: creamy scrambled eggs topped with uni topped with caviar. Good God, this was excellent.

Crispy red drum.

Lastly, we had to go big — not pork chop or wagyu big, but bigger than carrots: the red drum. Served in a piping hot pot, the dish paired crispy fish and crispy rice with herbs. By this point my fiancé had reached her fill, which was fine by me. I ate nearly the whole bowl myself and, unlike our chef friend the morning after, I regret nothing.

Himitsu. Find it.

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