Barracuda Japanese Restaurant?s chefs tweak their selection of sushi rolls, teriyaki dishes, and noodle bowls to make sure that each of the eatery?s three locations offers a tailored menu. The restaurant?s namesake roll tops a core of soft shell crab and avocado with sliced salmon, mango, spicy mayo, unagi sauce, and tobiko. Other rolls showcase an eclectic spread of ingredients ranging from deep-fried spicy tuna and jalapenos to chicken and white wine sauce. The chefs even eschew rice in certain rolls, instead swaddling ingredients with iceberg lettuce, cucumber slices, and cozy blankets. Traditional Japanese cooked dishes also star on the menu, including spicy pork slathered in teriyaki sauce and tempera veggies submerged in udon soup.
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).
Perhaps Frommer’s put it best when describing what sets Ace Wasabi's Rock-N-Roll Sushi apart “from the usual sushi spots around town,” citing “the unique combinations, the varied menu, and the young, hip atmosphere.” Indeed, this restaurant has stood out since 1995 thanks to inventive dishes that feature seasonal fish flown in from Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market. The tuna, scallops, crabs, and salmon are paired with accouterments such as maine lobster and Niman Ranch bacon bits. Nearly 40 maki rolls fill up the dinner menu––with options named after famous bands, movies, lingerie shops, and even Elvis¬¬––many of which can be wrapped in organic quinoa instead of sushi rice. No matter the selection, there’s something to complement its flavors on the drink menu, which includes six beers on tap, wines from around the globe, seven signature cocktails, and an extensive list of cold and hot sake. Not surprisingly, posters and album covers from rock-and-roll bands such as U2 and The Pretenders bedeck the walls, which are illuminated by studio lighting. Bottles of sake and candles line display cases, and an open sushi bar gives diners a chance to watch the masters at work.
Live Sushi Bar and Live Sushi Bistro blend tradition with innovation in the rice-wrapped fish arts at both welcoming restaurants. Both 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.
A Sampling of Sushi
Some Not-Sushi Options
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.