From Our Editors
Five Things to Know About Isobune
Sushi is often seen as a formal dining experience in the United States. That’s not the case at Isobune, which takes a more casual approach. For example, the restaurant uses little boats that “float” on a conveyer belt to deliver food to tables instead of servers. Read on to learn what else makes this Japantown staple stand out:
- It's pronounced “ee-so-boo-nay.“
- It's dinner and a show all in one. Sushi pieces and other nibbles are served on colored plates, which rest in wooden boats that rotate around the counter on a conveyer belt. Diners pick up whatever catches their eyes, and at the end, the values assigned to each color plate are added up. And you don't have to worry about your kids, as, according to Gayot, “the novelty keeps even the most distracted child entertained.”
- You don't have to be familiar with Japanese customs or sushi to eat here. Since you pick your plates yourself, you don't need to take a Japanese crash course just to eat dinner. And you don't even need to master chopsticks, as eating sushi with your hands is culturally acceptable. They even provide hot washcloths to cleanse your hands with.
- A lot of thought goes into the rice. In their rolls, the chefs use award-winning Tamaki Gold–brand rice, which they flavor with yusen-su—a red vinegar made from the solid material left over after brewing sake.
- It's located in the heart of Japantown. Cultural festivals and events, shopping, and restaurants surround Japan Center (1610 Geary Boulevard), located across the street from Isobune. Also nearby is the famed Boom Boom Room (1601 Fillmore Street) whose acts have included John Lee Hooker and the Rolling Stones.