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Northern California Sushi recommendations?


JayTee
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*first post*

So jazzed to be posting here and meeting all of you. Although I'm located in the Bay Area, I did not find this site until I took a trip to New York last week and found Timeout NY recommending eGullet as a great place for foodies to mingle.

Anyways, my first question (didn't see anything previously posted, hope i'm not repeating) is if anyone has any sushi recommendations for the Bay Area? The wife and I love sushi and we've eaten at quite a few joints, but we're looking for fresh and tasty nigiri and sashimi. We're not as big on fancy rolls or anything like that. Our favorite is a place in San Mateo, Sushi Sam's. Anyone care to recommend their favorite?

Thanks!

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I highly recommend Kabuto A&S, in San Francisco's Richmond district - best sushi I've had in the city. It's located at 5121 Geary, near 15th Avenue. It's a small place, though, and very popular, so be prepared to wait a bit.

Kabuto's menu

The menu link above doesn't include the chef's special concoctions, which change rather frequently and include some more fusion-y excursions. Everything on the menu, even the simplest of items, is meticulously prepared.

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Ah yes, we really like Kabuto too, but we haven't had a chance to go back since they've opened up in the new location. Sounds like that hasn't had any effect on the quality of food there. Thanks!

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If you value a fun atmosphere with your sushi, I recommend Miyake Restaurant in Palo Alto. (On University right by Stanford) They don't take reservations and the wait can be up to two hours on some nights, but I guarantee that if you order sake bombs when you get seated and follow along with the crowd, you will have a good time and decent sushi. (They have a large sushi menu as well so if there is something you like that is hard to find, they probably have it.)

"I believe it was Socrates who said, ‘I drank what?’"
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Java, to try his more "fusion-y" stuff, do you usually just ask for omakase? And if so, are there standard price points?

I haven't tried Sachio's omakase yet (and thus, can't comment on the price point), but there's a special "unique" sushi menu provided at the restaurant (not currently on the website, apparently) that contains most of the less-traditional options.

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I highly recommend Kabuto A&S, in San Francisco's Richmond district - best sushi I've had in the city. It's located at 5121 Geary, near 15th Avenue. It's a small place, though, and very popular, so be prepared to wait a bit.

Kabuto's menu

The menu link above doesn't include the chef's special concoctions, which change rather frequently and include some more fusion-y excursions. Everything on the menu, even the simplest of items, is meticulously prepared.

This place looks great--but it's only open til 10:30. I'm flying into Oakland at 9:30 on a Friday night and driving to Union Sq--where can I go for sushi at that hour?? A place with a similarly extensive list of sushi would be great!

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Considering the time and location, your best bet is Sushiman on Bush at Powell. It's a very short walk from Union Square. They are usually open past midnight on weekends. The fish selection is smaller than Kabuto, however, the fish is equally as fresh. I always have omikase at Sushiman (usually once or twice a month) and prefer it over Kabuto. Service is definitely much better than at Kabuto, which is spotty at best especially when it's busy.

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Hi JayTee,

Yum-Yum Fish on Irving is a favorite among friends. Another friend who loves to eat sashimi likes We Be Sushi, which is located in a number of spots, Clement (or Geary) being one of them. Sushi Zone on Pearl at Market also had wonderful sushi from what I remember. I also love Kirala in Berkeley - the eel is fabulous. When I go home, my friends and I often go to Minami on Clement at 20th. It's a tiny place beloved by the neighborhood (sex-columnist Isadora Alman took me there first, years ago) and produces consistently good sushi. And it's cheap! Mmm....

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Sara,

If you want to venture a little further from Union Square, check out Blowfish Sushi or Ace Wasabi. Both places are open fairly late I believe (Blowfish is open until midnight). As for sushi, Blowfish is pretty good, additionally they have a huge selection of appetizers and rolls. I have not been to Ace Wasabi, but a few friends have recommended it.

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Megc,

I've been to Yum-Yum Fish (used to live near UCSF) -- love the freshness of the fish, but I just haven't had the opportunity to go back. We actually bought sashimi from them and threw a DIY sushi party of our own . . .ah. . .good memories. I'll definitely have to check out your other recommendations, Sushi Zone and Minami. Thanks!

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Our favorite is the much-lauded Kirala in Berkeley. It's expensive, but the rice is perfectly seasoned and I can always get ankimo!

Thanks so much for this recommendation. I live in the Boston area, and was only in San Francisco for three days. I tried to go to Kabuto on Friday night, but it was closed until Tuesday because of a family emergency! Staving off my hunger for sushi for one more night, I took your suggestion and tried Kirala, which was wonderful, and not as expensive as you made it out to be!

By the way, on Friday night I went to another restaurant I had heard great things about, and can recommend it wholeheartedly. It's called Charanga; it's a small tapas place in the Mission district that serves great, inexpesive food.

Luke
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Bluekale, you really got around! Glad you liked Kirala and hope you didn't have to wait too long for a seat.

I don't believe I've heard of Charanga but I will definitely go check it out now.

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Considering the time and location, your best bet is Sushiman on Bush at Powell. It's a very short walk from Union Square. They are usually open past midnight on weekends. The fish selection is smaller than Kabuto, however, the fish is equally as fresh. I always have omikase at Sushiman (usually once or twice a month) and prefer it over Kabuto. Service is definitely much better than at Kabuto, which is spotty at best especially when it's busy.

Thanks--giving our long trip to get there, the short walk to this place is appealing..

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just wanted to update with the fact that we finally made it out to the "new" Kabuto A&S

and i have to say i had one of the most DELICIOUS sushi meals i've had in a long time! :biggrin: the wife and i were attempting to savor the taste still as we were driving home.

we were in SF for the day, and decided to head out that way. when we got there, we managed to slide right into the bar (we must have hit the timing in between waves) because by the time we left, there was a long wait.

i don't remember Kabuto having this much variety in terms of fish offerings. Chef Kojima actually had 4 different types of tuna on the menu (yellowfin, bluefin, big-eye, and fatty) plus a special on escolar (MMMM!). Unfortunately they were out of a few other specials, such as wahoo, which the chef said was very good as well. :sad: maybe next time.

not only was the fish melt-in-your-mouth tasty, I also noticed that they paid very close attention to their sushi rice there, it wasn't too sticky, as some places make it especially when making it very quickly. it stuck together well but when you ate it, the rice petals separated nicely.

there is also a list of rolls that come in a special menu. and we're not talking about the usual dragon roll, butterfly roll, etc. It seems like they've unleashed their creativity and just tried to come up with various combinations, some more out-of-the-box than others. We tried the recommended Ceviche roll, which was halibut with a type of salsa on top, drizzled with citrus, and placed on a rice roll on top of a fried seaweed wrapper. Very delish.

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I recommend Fujian in Walnut Creek. Let Spencer, the chef owner, start you off with sashimi of his choosing and you will not be disappointed. Of course, they have a wide selection of fancy rolls and whatnot, but the sashimi is what keeps me going back as often as I can.

Edited by carp (log)
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