My fake roommate, A, is the best eating partner for many reasons. Actually, let’s start with how I know A. My blossoming girl crush on A began a few years ago when I met A through a college friend who studied abroad with her. I immediately wanted to emulate her funky style, and found her dry humor absolutely hilarious. Once I discovered that she was an amazing cook and loves to eat good food, I was a goner. So I did what any crazy girl would do: I just kept texting her, invited myself over to her place, and relentlessly asked her to hang out with me. Fast forward a few years later, A is now one of my closest friends (perhaps not by her own choice), and one of my favorite people to explore new eating spots with. The basic reasons I enjoy eating with her so much can be summarized by this Thought Catalog article. A is always down to eat whatever. Whether I am in the mood for pizza, burgers, brunch, dim sum, Japanese, she’s fine with anything as long as the food is good. If we have already consumed everything we have eaten, and I suggest sharing more food, there has never been a time that A has shot this idea down. It is not rare for me to leave a hang out with A and immediately need to curl up into my bed into a food coma. Occasionally, I leave feeling slightly ill, swearing to never eat that much again. I’ve made this promise to myself at least 18 times, and it lasts approximately as long as it takes me to digest that meal.
This past week, A’s boyfriend was out of town so we made plans for a girl date. Of course, food has got to be a big part of that equation (Our conversation basically went like this, “Hey Uri is out of town.” “OKAY WHERE SHOULD WE EAT??”). We decided we needed to try something new to both of us, and settled on Donburi. Donburi is a small hole-in-wall restaurant with only 14 bar seats in Adams Morgan that serves Japanese rice bowls with various toppings. We were lucky and sat down right at the open kitchen after putting in our orders at the front. Now there have been times where A and I have been so hungry before a meal together that we literally cannot hold a conversation, but this time we were a little less dramatic and the food was also prepared very quickly. We started with the Karaage appetizer, which came with four big, sizzling pieces of fried chicken. The first bite was a little painful because I have no self control and chomped right into freshly fried meat. After waiting a few more minutes for my tongue to recover from the abuse before my next bite, I found the chicken was incredibly sweet and juicy, and the skin so crispy. Good fried chicken is a beautiful thing.
We then split the Gyudon bowl (thinly sliced beef brisket, carmelized onions, “Donburi sauce,” and a runny egg), and the Sakedon (salmon sashimi, nori, ginger, “Donburi sauce,” and wasabi) bowl. The bowls were ready within a few minutes after we finish the Karaage and we decided to start with the Sakedon. The thick slices salmon tasted incredibly fresh, and the generous serving of rice was fluffy and chewy. I really like the Donburi sauce, a concentrated sweet and savory mix that tastes like mirin and soy sauce.
Then it was on to the Gyudon. I love anything with an egg topping (pizza, brunch food, burger, sandwich), and this Gyudon bowl was no exception. We mixed the gooey egg into the brisket and rice, and then shoveled it all into our mouths as we listened to the cooks in front of us shouting at each other. The Donburi sauce, again, pulled the dish together and went perfectly with the salty, smokey brisket. The one thing I would change is the volume of the cooks in the kitchen. They kept yelling at each other while cooking, and it made it hard for us to hold a conversation. And by conversation, I mean it was hard for A to hear me babbling on and on about myself (I’m a joy) during the meal. Besides that, the service was pleasant and efficient. We were out of the restaurant within forty-five minutes, and spent the next 5 minutes searching for the correct uber car, narrowly avoiding getting into a random Honda three times.
This meal was wonderful comfort food, perfect for a casual girl date on this cold, December night. Overall, Donburi serves simple, filling, quality food for a great value.