Zeppelin Opens and No One Ever Wants To Leave
Sushi. Sake. Karaoke.
Stepping in through the wooden door of the newly opened omakase style restaurant, Zeppelin, guests are transported to a buzzing bar, dimly lit and engulfed with the sounds of shaken cocktail. Flames lick skewers of meat and vegetables that satiate the appetite while encouraging all to imbibe.
Delicately prepared, the food is a true replica to what one would find on the streets of Japan.
To get things started, order some yakitori. From the sea you’ll find shrimp enrobing a tender grilled scallop. How the chef achieves perfect cooking times on both proteins astounds me. The shrimp is sweet and snappy while the scallop is succulent and custardy. I could eat these all night.
If seafood isn’t your thing, try the traditional shishito peppers, blistered over the hot coals and tossed in crunchy sea salt. Or maybe some bacon wrapped asparagus is your snack of choice – chewy and crunchy all in one bite it’s a trip to flavor town for sure.
If you’re craving yakitori from the land, you’ll find fluffy chicken meatballs, grilled chicken thigh and succulent silken pork. The chicken offerings are painted with a sweet and salty glaze that results in a finger licking ritual that is impossible to avoid in order to enjoy every bit of these Western flavors. The silken pork is advertised as the Wagyu of pig and does not disappoint. Woven with ribbons of fat that melt in your mouth, this pork is outrageously juicy with flavor that is unique to Zeppelin’s – something I’ve never experienced before in the district.
My favorite small bite of the evening were the lightly fried ebi shumai. A filling of sweet shrimp is fried in airy tempura batter adorned with green Japanese herbs. The airy pockets of are almost doughnut-like and addictively pop-able while sipping on craft cocktails or sake varieties.
For your second course, don’t sleep on the shaved beef, tender as all hell, it goes down too easily making it difficult to share with my fellow diners. The sweet and spicy marinade enhances the beef without overpowering it, and is served with a simple green salad for health, I suppose, a bit unnecessary in my mind. All I could think was “Where’s the beef?!”
For the main event, the sushi is the star. Indulge in the FATTY TUNA, but explore the wonders of the mackerel and yellowtail. Some of the best sushi I’ve had during my years in the district and prepared traditionally with real wasabi and a a hint of sweet soy painted on each piece of fish, no soy dipping necessary. The rice should not be overlooked – sweet and sticky – a true feat of Japanese sushi.
The atmosphere is buzzing, the service is impeccable – with servers beaming with pride and knowledge as this new hot spot packs in the fans of Micah and Ari. It’s a place you want to be, and I’ve already been back three times. One of the best surprises of Zeppelin is KARAOKE every night on the top floor starting at 10pm.
So head to this sister of Chaplin’s, eat some things on sticks, nosh on some sush and have the best time with your friends and family singing along to your favorite songs and indulging in cuisine that you’d typically have to cross an ocean for.
I can’t wait to go back.
1554 9th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
Sunday - Thursday | 5pm – 2am
Friday & Saturday | 4pm – 3am
Photos by Robert Fairbairn