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 what's best in the bay area for Japanese?


samuelsontag
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If you're looking for sushi, my friends recommend Kabuto, Hama-Ko and Kyo-Ya. However, these are second-hand recommendations (albeit from people whose taste I respect), as I don't eat sushi myself.

There is a great place for beef teriyaki right on street level in the middle of the Japantown plaza, but I'm blanking on the name. (They also have tasty tempura.) Will post if I can come up with it.

Good luck,

Squeat

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Kyo-ya in the Sheraton Palace Hotel is first rate (but can be very expensive). The hotel is owned by Japanese & they know what they are doing re: food & presentation. I work across the street from it & often go for lunch.

Elsewhere on the spectrum is Kirala in Berkeley. I haven't been in a couple of years, but we liked it alot. It is not fancy, but very good food & rationally priced. I don't think they take reservations, so go v. early or prepare to wait. Pretty good Berkeley scene.

Charley Martel

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By the way,how do you become a member  :huh: (That is,the step above acociate member).

I'm pretty sure you automatically become a member after making a certain number of posts, though I'm not sure what that number is. I don't remember doing anything special to make the transition.

Back on topic, I spoke to a friend last night who had just eaten at Kabuto for the first time since they reopened in their new location. She said if anything it is even better than before. She claims it is the best sushi she's ever eaten (and she has traveled in Japan).

Squeat

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I've got no idea - I'm still trying to figure out where to get great sushi around here.

Places that my sushi club likes to go:

Minami on Clement at 20th. Great, inexpensive sushi and very tasty. The service there is good they are so nice!

Kirala in Berkeley. I've always had really good sushi there.

Yum Yum Fish on Irving near GG Park (I think). Two of our members love this place for the fine fresh fish.

Sushi Zone on Pearl at Market, near the Castro. I've had some fantastic sushi there. Tiny place, with room for maybe 12-15 people tops. Best avocado rolls ever, among other things. Nice atmosphere. Was recommended to me by a taxidermist who adores sushi.

We Be Sushi, recommended for sentimental reasons. If you like secret wasabi in your sushi, this is the place for you!

I've eaten all you can eat sushi at Sushi Chardonnay on Union Street. Don't know if they are even there anymore. It was quite a deal and the sushi was ok. Also a sentimental recommendation.

None of these places will break the bank - most every place has reasonably priced sushi/sashmi. I've eaten at all these places with some serious sashimi lovers and they all give a thumbs up.

I miss eating sushi in the Bay Area.

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While I am not exceptionally knowledgable about Japanese food in the SF area, I have never been let down by Kabuto on Geary near 15th. Terrific sushi, probably the best I've ever had and I've had my share. Sit at the bar, as it makes for a better experience and always call ahead as their hours are flexible :-) Terrific stuff though. I'm drooling just thinking about the place.

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What do you think melkor?melkor?melkor?melkor? :huh:  :huh:  :huh:  :huh:  :huh:  :sad:

I've got no idea - I'm still trying to figure out where to get great sushi around here.

Yo on the corner of Texas and Travis in Fairfield! Okay, so it is made by Koreans and is Maki and Temaki as opposed to sushi - but it is damn fine!

I'll treat - you name the day!

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Are there any good Japanese restaurants in the San Bruno/South SF area?

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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Looks like we need to do some serious San Francisco reconnaissance into Japanese food! I'm missing my SoCal establishments terribly and have been reading this thread with interest, trying to figure out the best places to head to.

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Looks like we need to do some serious San Francisco reconnaissance into Japanese food!

Agreed. We always go to Kirala because 1) It's close to our house 2) The is consistently seasoned well, and the fish fresh and 3) They always seem to have ankimo.

What I'd love to find, though, is a great place for omakase, on the level of the stuff we had in NYC. I just don't know if there's anyplace, other than Kyo-ya, that can offer that kind of experience.

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Great, inexpensive sushi and very tasty. 

I maybe a bit un pc here but the thought of inexpensive sushi scares the bejeezuz out of me. :blink:

Well that and the sushi boat thingy. :hmmm:

Here's where I get jaded. Yo in Fairfield (yep, here I go again), makes Maki & Temaki in the $3.50 to $7.95 range. But two rolls are huge and incredibly filling. Shawn and I go in and rarely spend more than $10.00 or $12.00 a person, with a great variety. But it is hardly traditional and they offer no Omakase. They just started offering Udon which is pretty great for me when it is cold and rainy, but it IS in a fast-food establishment.

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Ok I’ll bite. I am a sushi aficionado, a purist at that. No California Roll or avocado in anything for me. Sushi is about impeccable piece fish on top of perfectly seasoned rice, that is it. If that’s what you are looking for, the only place in town is Kiss.

This is not a place for everyone, mind you. If you think avocado has a place in a sushi or maki, don’t bother. If you are looking for “inexpensive” sushi, don’t bother. If you’re in the mood for fussy rolls swimming in sticky sauce, dragon roll or spider roll, really, don’t bother.

If fantastic sushi and other Japanese dishes are what you’re looking for, make a reservation at Kiss. You will be in for a treat, pristine ingredients, impeccably made dishes that are complex but unfussy, and simply sublime.

I just came home from a fantastic 10 day trip to London and Paris, my fourth one since August. It was another busy time for my tastebuds, including Robuchon’s chestnut soup, Fergus Henderson’s roasted woodcock, and Hermé’s white truffle macarons, to name but a few. The place I made a b-line for when I returned was Kiss, for a light and restorative meal to bring back my balance. What better praise can I give them?

It is not cheap, no good sushi can possibly be, but not terribly expensive either. When I go alone, the bill comes to around 50-60 or so, sans tip, with one other person it is often at least twice that.

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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Great, inexpensive sushi and very tasty. 

I maybe a bit un pc here but the thought of inexpensive sushi scares the bejeezuz out of me. :blink:

Well that and the sushi boat thingy. :hmmm:

"Inexpensive" is a relative term, of course, but you can find a wide range of markups for the same quality of ingredients and skill of preparation in any cuisine. A higher markup might be due to location, spit-and-polish of the premises, a "name" chef's salary or just as a ploy to develop cachet.

I'm not a sushi hound, but to cite examples in other cuisines, Yank Sing is not 3X the quality of Y. Ben House, and in fact might not be even it's (your previously expressed perceptions notwithstanding). A Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall might be the equal of The Slanted Door for 1/3 the price, and let's not even start comparing the "Tandoor-loin" spots with the pricy Indian restaurants.

Sorry, but I haven't yet bought into the "if it's not expensive, it can't be good" theory.

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Sorry, but I haven't yet bought into the "if it's not expensive, it can't be good" theory.

hmm...I went back to read my post on sushi and I realized I sounded like Plotnicki. Let me explain myself. I definitely don't think good food = expensive food.

Trust me, the one food item of which I could consume unlimited quantity is tandoori Lambchop at the New Tayyab in London. They cost next to nothing, yet are one of the best things in the world to eat. I eat at holes in the walls all the time, and am definitely not a fan of the Slanted Door.

I just think sushi, as a special category, is different. A good sushi starts with impeccable ingredients, meaning that a restaurant simply cannot compormise on the quality. Freshness is also another issue. If I wanted a sushi meal, one factor I would never bother to worry about is cost.

And don't get me started on the sushi boat thingy.

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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Agreed. We always go to Kirala because 1) It's close to our house 2) The is consistently seasoned well, and the fish fresh and 3) They always seem to have ankimo.

I would cross the bay for Kirala's tempura. The batter is light, the shrimp fresh, the sauce is warm (as it should be.)

I find the sushi to be only good, but the tempura fantastic.

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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A fun, but expensive, high-end sushi tour would travel in an arc from Kyo-ya to Ozumo to Sushi-ran.

I recently ate dinner at Ozumo "omakase" and had a very impressive "cavier special." Think of Ikura shushi, rice with a cylinder of nori and filled with salmon roe. Now add Albacore Tuna roe and Hallibut roe and change the strips of nori to very thin slices of Albcore Tuna, Salmon, and Hallibut each paired with the cavier. Was very impressive and very good.

If you are very familiar with Japanese and Japanese food (or if you are willing to try something different), try Kappa. This place, located on Post in Japantown above the Denny's, is a "koryori" establishment - essentially a Japanese Tapas Bar. But, it is very elegant (Mrs. Kimura, the hostess is kimono clad) and a bit exclusive (no sign). Great food and hospitality.

If you are up for some Japanese home cooking, you can't possibly do any better than have a meal at Minako (Mission between 18th and 19th). Billed as "Organic Japanese Cooking" it is a daughter/mother shop with really really good and reasonably priced food with super friendly service.

Edited by chaud-froid (log)
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for some reason unknown to me, i've never found top-notch sushi in japantown. however, i have found what i consider to be the best sushi/sashimi joint in the bay area...

go to sushiman. it's on bush just west of kearny. the experience there is much better than kabuto while the fish is equally as fresh. i've consistently gotten more rare cuts (all the fattiest cuts - hamachi, oh toro, salmon, etc.) at sushiman.

it's important that the sushi master gets to know what your tastes are and how refined your palate is otherwise you'll be serve regular cuts. my advice for those looking for the freshest and rarest cuts: sit at the bar and begin the meal with some oh toro sashimi at any new place. it's important to set the bar at a high level from the beginning. "McSushi" joints such as ace wasabi, we be sushi, etc. will mostly likely never have the rarest cuts simply because their clientele does not look for such cuts and are not willing to pay for them either. basically, a sushi restaurant will only stock what they can move.

btw, sushiman's cooked dishes are above average as well. i find kabuto less personal (more commercial) than sushiman. for me, dinner at sushiman (they're only open for dinner) usually takes 2-3 hours (omikase). they're not an assembly-line operation. unlike kabuto (which is very good too), there is only one guy behind the bar, ryo. he prefers to serve fewer customers rather than having to work at a fast pace and serve dozens.

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