Acclaimed restaurateur Yoshi Tome came to America for a teacher-exchange program, but he used his degree more in teaching Americans how to truly enjoy sushi. Today he owns the restaurant Sushi Ran, where his chefs craft entrees with fresh fish from local purveyors or from the Tsukiji market in Tokyo. Executive chef Scott Whitman has a plate for every taste—vegetarian options, seafood, and meaty entrees including slow-cooked duck breast and Vietnamese shaking beef. Meanwhile, executive sushi chef Nori Kusakabe rolls soft-shell crab, vegetables, and spicy tuna at the sushi bar. Wine director Gabriel Alamilla helps diners navigate the 300-bottle wine list and explore the collection of 30 small-production wines by the glass. He matches rieslings with raw fish and chardonnays with Japanese entrees. He can also recommend a selection from 30 different sakes, which are separated into four categories: fragrant, light/smooth, rich, and aged.
Roy Lui and Chanel Liu, expert fish purveyors and Tsukiji Sushi Bar & Restaurant's proprietors, place veteran chef Haruo Komatsu at the helm of a kitchen stocked with fresh fish and tender Koshihikari rice. Sourced from the enormous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, sushi staples including albacore tuna, salmon, and eel curl up in sleeping bags of salty rice and seaweed alongside more exotic offerings such as sea urchin, flying-fish roe, giant clam, and lightly grilled submarine. At the sushi bar, chef Komatsu awes onlookers in seven nearby seats as he deftly slices rolls and doles them out for immediate consumption.
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).
Live Sushi Bar, Live Sushi Bistro, and Live Sushi Mission blend tradition with innovation in the rice-wrapped fish arts at all three welcoming restaurants. 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.
A Sampling of Sushi
Some Not-Sushi Options
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.
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.