Photo of O-Toro Roll by Laura Hayes
Photo of O-Toro Roll by Laura Hayes

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About a year ago the internet went wild over what was thought to be the most expensive sushi roll in the world. It was created Setsubun, a Japanese holiday when eating massive sushi rolls, as opposed to the traditionally simple rolls with one or two fillings, is thought to bring good luck.

Tokyo’s Shinjuku Isetan department store served a burrito-sized roll stuffed with twelve types of fish, including luxuries like Hokkaido sea urchin and pufferfish. The whole thing was then enveloped in a sheet of gold leaf. It cost ¥10,800, which amounted to $96 at the time.

Sakerum on 14th Street NW is now serving two rolls that cost almost double that once you factor in tax and tip. The Wagyu Roll features Japanese A5 grade Wagyu beef, sweet miso tempura lobster tail, Royal Shassetra caviar, fresh wasabi, and shaved truffle wrapped in soy paper. It’s served with spicy lobster miso soup and costs $155. 

The second roll also calls for a whole live lobster. The O-Toro Roll features sweet miso tempura lobster tail topped with o-toro (fatty tuna), sea urchin, Royal Shassetra caviar, and edible gold flakes. It too is served with spicy lobster miso soup and costs $135.

Lobster spicy miso soup

Chef Khan Gayabazar introduced what he calls the “Rolls-Royce” of sushi rolls last week as a part of the restaurant’s new menu that establishes Sakerum as one of the most high-end restaurants on the dining corridor. He also launched a new tasting menu featuring modern Japanese cuisine that costs $120 per person before tax, tip, and beverages. See the menu below. 

Over the nearly two decades Gayabazar has been working in Japanese restaurants in D.C., he’s been developing relationships with other chefs and fish purveyors. This new menu shows that he now has the best contacts to get him top-of-the-line products.

“It’s a kind of connection, a chef connection,” he says. “Whatever fresh fish that’s coming, they send me the best ones. I don’t care about money, just bring it.”

But getting the best can mean dealing with delays and other obstacles, especially when the fish is coming from overseas. “Sometimes it’s delayed in customs and U.S. Health Department didn’t check it yet, but always I push them. At 6 a.m. my phone is going off. Fish is hard.”

Sakerum, 2204 14th St. NW; (202) 518-2222;