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.
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
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.
After the sushi chefs at Yuubi Japanese Restaurant packed fresh scallops and salmon underneath a layer of tobiko and spicy mayo, they realized the seafood duo clung together not unlike star-crossed lovers and dubbed the roll Romeo & Juliet. The Shakespearean treat is one of nearly 30 fresh seafood rolls gracing the traditional Japanese eatery's menu. Aside from the fresh, quality seafood, Yuubi’s master chefs send tender beef short ribs, lamb chops, and asparagus-wrapped beef to the grill, and they deep-fry succulent chicken for the classic chicken katsu dish. Dessert offers up cross-cultural treats, such as mochi from Japan, crème brûlée from the French, and cheesecake from the moon.