Former Sushi Taro chef returns to DC with Japanese food hall

Love Makoto has opened at 200 Massachusetts Avenue NW on the ground floor of the recently completed Capitol Crossing office building. (Courtesy Mike Fuentes Photography)

Chef Makoto Okuwa, whose U.S. culinary career began 20 years ago as a sushi chef at longtime D.C. sushi restaurant Sushi Taro, and who now runs restaurants internationally, is returning to D.C. with a Japanese restaurant featuring several concepts in one.

Okuwa has partnered with Chef David Deshaies and restauranteur Eric Eden, the team behind Unconventional Diner and L’Ardente, for the opening of Love, Makoto.

Love Makoto has opened at 200 Massachusetts Avenue NW, adjacent to L’Ardente, in a 20,000-square-foot space on the ground floor of the recently completed Capitol Crossing office building.

Makoto’s culinary collection is opening in two phases. Initially, three full-serve concepts opened this week. They are:

  • Dear Sushi, which offers a sushi tasting menu
  • Beloved BBQ, a Japanese steakhouse where diners grill Wagyu beef at their table, and
  • Hiya Izakaya, a cocktail bar with a menu of skewers

Menus are online.

Phase two will open later this summer as a fast-casual food hall serving everything from ramen to maki rolls, dumplings and desserts.

“I am so excited to return to Washington, D.C., to show the city where I have been since we parted, and how those journeys have informed my perspective as a chef,” Okuwa said.

After a stint in D.C., Okuwa went to work for Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto as head sushi chef at Morimoto’s Philadelphia restaurant, and also his New York outpost.

His current restaurants include Sushi + Sake Lounge in Manhattan Beach, California; Makoto in Bal Harbor, Florida; Makoto and Yokocho Japanese Whisky Bar in Panama; Makoto Polanco in Mexico City; Makoto Cidade Jardim and Makoto Shops in Sao Paulo; Otokam by Makoto in Caracas; and Makoto in the Dominican Republic, which opens this year.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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