Inspired by sister restaurants in Charleston, S.C., Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., O-Ku DC invites guests to explore rare and unique dining options –traditional sashimi and sushi, innovative Japanese specialties and wood-fired robata-style dishes from the Kitchen’s Binchotan grills. The fish and other ingredients are sourced from the highest-quality purveyors around the world and is committed to using sustainably sourced ingredients when possible.
Our thoughtfully curated beverage program complements the menu, focusing on quality ingredients celebrating Japanese culture and DC’s best purveyors. Enjoy a sophisticated blend of specialty cocktails, premium sake, wine and local beer selections along with a rare assortment of Japanese whiskey available in the second-floor lounge.
Located in the Union Market neighborhood, O-Ku DC offers the area’s only roof deck, giving guests sweeping views of DC landmarks.
Partners and Purveyors
At O-Ku, we are passionate about supporting our local farmers and fishermen and proudly showcase their bounty throughout our menu.
Steve Palmer is the managing partner of the hospitality and consulting company, The Indigo Road Hospitality Group. Founded in 2009 in Charleston, SC, Indigo Road now owns and operates more than 16 concepts throughout the southeast. Prior to forming The Indigo Road, Palmer worked with several esteemed restaurants including Charleston’s Peninsula Grill, Magnolia’s, and Blossom, as well as Canoe and Houston’s in Atlanta. In addition to his presence in the hospitality business, Palmer has also been recognized for his charitable and community efforts. In 2016, he founded Ben’s Friends, the food and beverage industry support group offering hope, fellowship, and a path forward to professionals who struggle with substance abuse and addiction. He has been recognized by The New York Times, NPR, Southern Living, Atlanta Magazine and Charleston Magazine, and has presented at TedX Charleston and the Charleston Wine + Food Festival.
Kimball Brienza is the Managing Partner of O-Ku, a modern Japanese restaurant with locations in Washington, DC, Atlanta, Charleston and Charlotte. Born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Cooperstown, New York, Kimball began his hospitality career while in culinary school at the Otsego Area Occupational Center in New York.
In 2001, Kimball moved to Charleston, SC where he was hired as a server at Carolina’s Restaurant, a pioneering establishment serving Southern classics in a fine-dining atmosphere. He was later promoted to bar manager, then assistant general manager. It was here that Kimball first met and worked with Chef Jeremiah Bacon, now of Indigo Road restaurant group’s concepts Oak Steakhouse and The Macintosh.
After working his way up to a management position at Carolina’s, Kimball was offered the opportunity to serve as the dining room manager at The Boathouse in Charleston, where he was responsible for overseeing all dining room staff, allowing him to further cultivate his exceptional customer service skills and an unparalleled attention to detail.
Kimball joined the Indigo Road restaurant group team in 2009 as the assistant general manager of Oak Steakhouse. After a year, he was promoted to general manager at sister restaurant, O-Ku Charleston.
During his five-year tenure as general manager, restaurant was recognized as one of Esquire magazine’s 20 Best New Restaurants of 2010, chosen as one of the Top 50 Hot Spot Restaurants in the nation by OpenTable in 2011, featured as one of Travel + Leisure’s Top Sushi Restaurants in 2012, and named one of America’s best Japanese restaurants by The New York Post in 2016.
In 2016 Kimball was named the managing partner of O-Ku. In his current role, Kimball splits his time between the concept’s four locations, overseeing operations for the restaurants. When he’s not jet setting from city to city, you can find him boating, at the beach or spending time with friends and family in Charleston and New York.