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).
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.