Best Meal on a Budget

Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
For a place that serves something as humble as rice bowls, you might not expect the sophistication and care that comes out of Donburi’s tiny open kitchen. Pull up a stool at one of the 14 counter seats in the minimalist Adams Morgan haunt, and you’ve got a front-row view of chef/owner James Jang slicing salmon sashimi, deep-frying panko-crusted pork and shrimp, and caramelizing chunks of eel with a blowtorch. Jang takes time to carefully assemble each on a mound of white rice with pickled jalapeños and his special donburi sauce, which means you may have to be patient. The menu has only eight rice bowls, most of which cost $9 to $12 (only eel is more). It’s affordable enough that you’ll want to treat yourself again the very next day.