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Secret Sushi Dinner from an Olympian

“Fish runner,” we whispered as we approached the door at Mess Hall in Northeast, DC. That was the secret password to get into Sushi Belly Tower


The decadent sashimi feast was served by Stanford grad and Olympic athlete Michael Stember. He competed in Sydney in 2000. Fortunately, he can slice premium fish as fast as he can run 1,500 meters. The $175 per person pop-up dinner (and there were about 60 people there) Tuesday night was part of Michael's tour of the East Coast. He's based in Los Angeles, where he cooks for celebs through his company Upstream Foods.


Courses weren’t limited to fish, though the yellowtail drizzled with uni and coconut milk was one of the stars. “One per person,” Michael pleaded. There was also a splendiferous hunk of Wagyu beef fresh off the plane from Japan that he served both rare and kissed by the pan. Other featured sashimi included two kinds of tuna, salmon and Maine scallops—which often came drizzled with avocado oil and sprinkled liberally with sea salt.