The sushi chefs at Yoko’s Japanese Cuisine artistically roll arrangements of eel, spicy tuna, and thick-sliced salmon for diners to prod with discerning chopsticks. The menu reads like a voracious mariner's Christmas list with its plethora of ocean-fresh goodies, such as traditional california rolls ($3.75), tied together with delicate ribbons of seaweed. King Kong specialty rolls ($7.95) swat away hunger as if it were a pesky airplane, daring tongues to scale a towering combination of hamachi, salmon, and crab to reach a pinnacle of spicy squid. The deep-fried Dangerous roll ($7.95) lives life on the plate’s edge with a bold assortment of fish, avocado, and scallions, and the spicy scallop salad creeps down the slopes of the crab- and unagi-packed Volcano roll ($7.95). Diners need not scan the ocean’s vast horizon to find vegetarian or cooked options, as herbivore-friendly shiitake mushroom rolls ($2.95) and grilled chicken-teriyaki entrees ($8.95) placate taste buds of all persuasions in the restaurant’s low-key dining room.
Inside Tip: Though customizable rolls are the top seller, you can also opt for signature selections such as the miso sushi roll with salmon, tuna, fish cake, seaweed salad, and pickled radish.
Kimchi: a spicy-and-sour mix of fermented veggies such as cabbage, radish, and cucumber that’s popular in Korea
Tobiko: flying fish roe; its red-orange color and crunchy texture make it a popular garnish for sushi
While You’re in the Neighborhood: After dinner, sip a drink while listening to a live DJ at EZ5 (684 Commerical Street).
Taste the face-melting guitar solos a single sushi on Ace's menu can pull off with one grain of rice tied behind its back. Octopus nigiri ($3.50), scallop sashimi ($8.50), and chicken teriykai skewers ($7.80) crescendo appetites into the main course. Try Ace's signature mango lobster specialty roll with cilantro, spicy mayo, and macadamia nuts ($9). Creative rolls such as the Scorpion (crunchy rock shrimp, scallop, and caramelized pecans wrapped with mango and avocado, $11.50) and the Ozzy (tempura shrimp wrapped with crab, avocado, jalapenos, tobiko, and spicy mayo, $12.50) along with more traditional tastes such as a California roll ($5.25) and dragon roll ($13.50) satisfy any sushi ace.
Live Sushi Bar, Live Sushi Bistro, and Live Sushi Mission blend tradition with innovation in the rice-wrapped fish arts at all three of its welcoming restaurants, including the newest Live Sushi outpost in the Mission. All three distinct locations share lunch, dinner, and drink menus, as well as experienced staff and sushi chefs who demonstrate their skills at a sushi bar outfitted with seats for dining spectators. Here, the chefs carefully assemble nigiri and complex rolls such as the deep-fried california roll topped with bonito and the Romeo and Juliet roll that tells a love story in three acts of hamachi, shrimp tempura, and spicy unagi sauce. A live scallop entree showcases the mollusk’s culinary range by serving it nigiri style and tempura-fried, and horse mackerel comes lightly seared and dressed in a special sauce. Live Sushi’s drink menu lists 25 premium sakes, including junmai, ginjo, daigingo, and honjonzo varieties, to accompany the seafaring fare.
Asian food is a familiar part of California's culinary scene, but Nombe Restaurant’s Japanese-style tapas and brunch still manage to surprise. At dinner, parties can share small plates of deep-fried brussels sprouts with oranges and fish sauce, or they can indulge in a seven-course Kaiseki meal. The brunch menu hits sweeter notes; beignets with chocolate-orange sauce, and nori and wasabi hollandaise color a Japanese-style benedict.
Nombe actually translates to “someone who likes to drink heartily,” so of course the restaurant features a thoughtful selection of libations. In addition to 90 kinds of sake and 8 Japanese beers, patrons can sip on blood-orange mimosas and bloody marys spiced with shichimi togarashi. Onsite sake classes help diners avoid an embarrassing mix-up between rice wine and rice vinegar, and traditional Japanese sushi-making/team-building classes give them a turn inside the kitchen.
Over the last five years, the chefs at Barracuda Japanese Restaurant have continually tinkered with their sushi, teriyaki, and noodle dishes, customizing the menu to fit each Barracuda location’s neighborhood and clientele. Using fresh fish and fruit sourced locally and sustainably whenever possible, the team crafts more than a dozen specialty rolls, including the Japanese Cowboy Roll, which matches crabmeat with mango, avocado, and thinly sliced Kobe beef. Staples such as chicken teriyaki rest side by side with more intricately prepared eats including pan-seared rib eye with mashed potatoes. Lit from underneath, the dining room’s dim orange walls surround potted plants and wooden tables that can accommodate groups of all sizes.