The sushi restaurant in the D.C. Trump International Hotel

I offer a mostly sociological review in my latest Bloomberg column.  When I went the restaurant was completely empty the entire time.  D.C. really doesn’t like Trump, or being affiliated with him.  But here is my assessment of the food and restaurant:

And what about the food? It may be the best restaurant in Washington right now — and it was the second-best sushi meal I’ve had in America, behind only Masa, the Michelin three-star temple in Manhattan. Sushi Nakazawa flies in lots of sushi from Hokkaido, a premier source of supply, and the presentation is impeccable.

If I have a complaint, it is about the décor and atmosphere: the tacky carpet, highly visible fire alarm and annoying muzak were all magnified by the absence of human beings in the main dining room. The room is ugly without being informal or relaxing or culturally interesting.

And here is my theory of tax incidence:

How much money did I funnel to the pockets of Trump? I don’t know the details of the restaurant’s contract with the hotel, but unless business picks up, I suspect I was merely limiting its losses. Still, there is a small chance that my single meal — or maybe this column — nudges its operators into extending their lease. Then again, if a sushi restaurant is a worse fit for the hotel than, say, another bar or steakhouse, I could just as easily be helping to keep the hotel’s profits down. I don’t feel I have committed a utilitarian sin.

Be there, or be square!


"Nonetheless, a number of people objected strenuously to my visiting the restaurant,..."

I really can't imagine being that partisan. But on the other hand, I'm probably just a rat caught in the maze. ;)

"It may be the best restaurant in Washington right now ..."

And those same people are really going to be upset by that comment. Kudos Tyler, to both standing up to peer pressure and finding a fine place to dine without any beautiful women.

Or even ugly women, apparently.

As a matter of fact, it appears that the true tip for enjoying a great sushi dining experience is to find Prof. Cowen eating by himself in an ugly room with tacky carpet and annoying muzak, musing about being or not being a utilitarian sinner.

It has been a while, but truly, this is the greatest satire site on the Internet.

what a great opening scene for a movie.....

+1 to both Prior and Rat.

Something ironic about protesting Trumpism by boycotting a cosmopolitan ethnic restaurant with a global supply chain.

Oops! You write that to be helping to keep the hotel’s profits down you don’t feel you have committed a utilitarian sin. I am not sure you haven't. Is there something utilitarian in maximizing losses?

I might eat there, or I might think that I might eat there. In the end I might satisfice with middle-grade sushi.

The sushi restaurant has a separate entrance from the hotel entrance, so patrons aren't really at the hotel. The WP gave the sushi restaurant a glowing review. I suspect that the problem isn't the sushi restaurant or even the Trump name, but the awful restaurant that preceded it, described as the worst restaurant in DC.

This article is actually hilarious, especially if you look for a Straussian interpretation.

....but with a Sushian interpretation.

I was just thinking about the time Steven Miller threw away an $80 takeout sushi after being berated for being Steven Miller. I suppose it is not as funny as him throwing away an $80 papusa?


Also, prices start at $120 a person, so there is that. While D.C. is wealthy, the wealth is distributed more evenly than in New York. Fewer oligarchs (oddly, since it's the capital). At least, it was that way four years ago when I worked there. Last time I went back, it felt like Moscow.

It really isn't surprising for a dinner restaurant to be empty between 5 and 6:45. Most people who want a bite to eat at that hour would be at the hotel bar. And references to the population of DC are kind of irrelevant: the residents of a city are not generally hotel customers, and residents of a poor city like DC don't patronize high-end restaurants.

I don't believe in mixing politics and business, so I don't believe in boycotts. If Tyler thinks libertarians would win a boycotting contest, that is another example of his usual foolishness.

there are hardly any residences in the area. On the weekend it’s empty aside from tourists with kids and maybe people there for a caps or wiz game. You can usually walk in just about anywhere for a pretheater dinner. Sometime there is a wait at Jose andres places, but most places seem pretty quiet

Janet Reno used to live in that area, she lived in the apartment building above the Shakespeare Theater, next to Jaleo and that little Borders books place that closed down long ago, I don't know anyone else famous who lived near there, except for people who lived in the White House.

DC is a complicated place. It is not Paris by a long shot but they both are cities on planet Earth, and both are full of good restaurants.

How many places in the universe can you say that about?

Substitute, if you wish, lots of other nouns for restaurants.

For example, did you know that DC has a better public collection of Renaissance Italian art than Manhattan?


I'm not sure what world you live in, but DC is not a poor city. I'm not familiar with this restaurant as I don't frequency DC much these days, but there are plenty of high-end restaurants and this one is probably lost in the noise.

'but DC is not a poor city'

Actually, DC is a pretty poor city, though the fact that the federal government is responsible for most of the major tourist attractions tends to mask that fact. The DC region, however (think Great Falls or Middleburg) is not poor by any stretch of the imagination.

It may be the best restaurant in Washington right now

This sort of sentence in a restaurant review, all too common, is obnoxious.

Sure, it might be the best, or not, or, what I think is the case, the whole concept of "best restaurant in Washington" is meaningless.

Is there really an objective standard by which we can rank restaurants? Sure, some are better than others, but even comparing A to B will usually get you a difference of opinion. Why not, "Gee, it was (one of?) the best restaurant meals I've had in a while." Too mundane?

Besides, how many meals did the reviewer eat there? Here it sounds like only one.

It's a preposterous claim.

I'm at least a little skeptical it's even the best sushi restaurant in DC! But certainly byomtov is right that I don't know how you'd compare the best sushi restaurant, whatever it is, with Pineapples and Pearls, Minibar, and Metier, all of whom are doing very different things.

Personally I love that he threw in "right now."

Apparently he wants us to think that he is so locked in to the all-important DC Restaurant Scene that he has a continuously-scrolling ticker tape going by him 24/7, like you'd see on Wall Street or your local horse racing track, giving him non-stop updates on how visible everyone's fire alarms are.

Tyler has presented a theory that restaurants are best for a short period of time after they are opened but then slack off and coast on their early reputation.

The responses to this on twitter are absolutely hilarious.

big fat +1

oh my it's entertaining

Comedy gold.

Really, if the place makes great sushi, what does it matter if money gets channeled to him? You're gonna eat lame sushi just because you hate the guy?

These people have humiliated themselves daily, online and in print and on national television, because they hate the guy.

"Eating lame sushi" does not crack the Top Ten Thousand List of all the debasements they would suffer for their hatred.

If it was the only place in DC with great sushi, and sushi were indispensable, maybe you would have a point. Since there are plenty of other sushi restaurants with excellent sushi, and better atmosphere, it makes perfect sense not to funnel your money to Trump if you have a choice.

Make America Great Again by

Eating Sushi Edition.

We only use domestic fish


Endangered species killed by Don Jr.*

*Trump Steaks no longer on the menu.

Personally, I would never eat raw fish at a place that didn't look busy.

I wouldn't worry at this grade, the staff probably eats really well, and what the customer gets is fresh.

Before eating at a Trump affiliated restaurant, one should seek approval from Jim Carrey, Chrissy Teigen, and LeBron James, the wisest arbiters of truth in the country today.

Can I get a dispensation from Kanye?

I live in DC, well near it anyway, and I like to tell my friends (who all know how high an opinion I have of my own intelligence - I am sort of like Taleb that way, except I don't use foul language and I sort of feel sorry for people who understand math really well when they could have spent that time understanding the world ----) that there are only two presidents in the history of this country that I consider at (or close to) my intellectual level.

Trump and Eisenhower.

Maybe Garfield (the President not the cat although I love the cat, and the best thing that came out of the last couple of years of political argument was the understanding I got that Scott Adams is not the guy who drew Garfield and not the guy who drew those cartoons Gary Larson used to draw - I used to think they were all three pretty much the same guy but now, thanks to the electoral college, I know better), but probably not - a rich kid (Garfield the politician not the cat, that is) with too much of an Aspergerian view of the world - (you know, the sort of kid who grows up to be a Nabokov or a Rousseau instead of an Einstein or a Godel) ---

and, halfway through: thus ends my comment,

with an observation on Garfield that you have probably never considered before.

By the way, the French series of books (Que sais-je) and the lamented no-longer published "Journal of Recreational Mathematics" both have information about a housewife who (in the 1990s or the early 2000s) made a new discovery in basic triangle geometry that was surprisingly significant - one knew that minor discoveries were possible, but as for significant ones:

it is not that God is a God of surprises it is that we know so little.

the joy of finding out we are right about important things we know little about - say, for example, that the soul is eternal, that evil does not exist for long in the great scheme of things but that it (evil, personified or generalized) is nevertheless just as evil as it would be otherwise, that good people like other good people but also like bad people, that tomorrow every tree on this earth may dream a dream, at the same time as all the other trees, that someone who loves trees may have dreamt three weeks ago last Tuesday .... a dream where we meet once again an old friend, in an unexpected place, on a day that is sunny, or cloudy, or windy, or even on a night that would have been sunny if it had not been moonlit (Pushkin - or was it Lermontov? - wrote a good set of poems on this.....)

there is a joy in finding out we were told, once or more than once, the truth about important things.
Ephesians, Philippians, I am not sure which is better.
Both very well written, anybody who tells you they weren't
cannot read the languages they were written in.
The language of God is redemptive power and the desire not to be too clear about it, out of a desire that we love because we love and not because

we experience too much that feeling that is called gratitude

and not enough that feeling that is called friendship

chebere ok chebere amistad

sit down you're rocking the boat

Its a bot.

not a bot, now a character from a fan fiction novel ... much closer to the truth ....

definitely not a Mary Sue character - notice the lines of unpleasant arrogance (in the description of Garfield) uncomfortably close to the lines with good advice ....
Nobody would want to be that way in this world (a Mary Sue character depicts the author as hero or heroine in a fictional setting).
Well, nobody would want to be Falstaff, either, comparing greater things to lesser, lost in words.

The citations are good, though - Ephesians and Philippians refute the worse parts of the character's rhetoric: but that particular effect is lost on people who do not know anything about Ephesians and Philippians. Specifically, the first two chapters of each, which take about ten minutes to read ....

There are plenty of places where you can read, straight up, about the truths in Ephesians and Philippians.

("sit down you're rocking the boat" is from Runyon's Guys and Dolls and is an expression meaning Don't be too impressed with yourself and your amusements)

What would be the consequence of a boycott?

1. Less money for Trump's reelection? Maybe.

2. A punitive incentive for Trump that he better stop doing the things that potential sushi diners that chose to boycott his restaurant object to? There's no demands from potential sushi diners for Trump to follow, even if Trump was disposed to heed them. This seems unlikely to be effective.

3. Or maybe a boycott is meant to deter future Trumps from doing all the unarticulated things that potential sushi diners dislike? Unlikely.

1 is the most convincing. In that case, the utilitarian calculus is whether the expected social welfare utility decrease of the 120 dollars added to Trump's re-election campaign is greater than the marginal utility of the meal compared to the next best sushi restaurant (assuming a non-substitutable sushi craving).

"whether the expected social welfare utility decrease of the 120 dollars added to Trump's re-election campaign is greater than the marginal utility of the meal compared to the next best sushi restaurant "

No, that's the wrong math. On the Trump side it would be whatever profits accrue from the dinner to Trump. First, it's probably a lease, so Trump doesn't get any of the marginal money. Second, if you were to apportion out the money, it's doubtful if Trump would get more than 20% of that amount.

Yeah. I should have said Trump's profits from the 120. Nevertheless, the idea stands.

"Nevertheless, the idea stands."

I agree and didn't mean to quibble.

Is there a corking fee? Anyway, willing to put up with it. Can't put up with the swill otherwise known as that which originates from the Trump winery.

Small point but it’s likely that the fish is flown in fresh from Hokkaido, possibly as sashimi but definitely not as sushi-the rice would dry out.

You can't eat at a Trump restaurant AAAND be a leftist. It's not how it works.

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