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City girl moves to Rockridge - need sushi recs!!

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After eight years happily living in the city, I've finally made the move over to delightful Rockridge. While my partner and I are beginning our tour of the local spots - have made it to Oliveto cafe, Zachary's, Pearl of Siam and Nan Yang so far, we're a bit less interested in experimenting to find the best sushi.

Who can help? Btw, we're traditionalists - our ordering tends to be sashimi, nigiri, wakame. We're less into the creative rolls, and scene-y sushi joints.

I'm aware of Tachibana, Isobune, Uzen, but haven't tried any of them yet.

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  1. Uzen! Then Tachibana.

    1. Kirala on Shattuck is very good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jd
        Robert Lauriston

        Kirala's OK but not worth waiting in line except maybe for the robata, which so far as I know nobody else around here does.

      2. I don't know about other hounds' experiences with Isobune, but after having consistenly horrible experiences there I have finally vowed to never again return. Granted, most of my visits have been weekday lunches when the place is near empty, but I've had much better experiences at other sushi places during the same time frames.

        Isobune's "policy" in their kaiten service is to set out items such as CA rolls, inari, ebi, tomago, tobiko, and other basic/westernized items. They may have a few scattered authentic (real fish) items, but they are few and far between. And when they are set out, they will just keep going around for hours until it is consumed; so if you ever go, don't pick items from the boats -- ask the chef to make a fresh batch (although sometimes they refuse due to the item already being on the boats for a while).

        You can do much better at Uzen, or at a number of places in the Alameda area.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SU

          Isobune is the McDonald's of sushi. It's not particularly "authentic," but at the same time, it has no pretense of being so. Sometimes a burger from McDonald's is what I really want. Sometimes Isobune is what I really want--quick, decent (not great), and reasonably inexpensive. But certainly far from the "gold standard" for the area.

        2. none of the above. go back to the city for sushi, or go to angelfish in alameda (though it'll probably take at least as long as going to the city). all of the sushi places in rockridge are totally underwhelming. if you have an asian craving, get soon dobu (tofu stew) on telegraph, or gang som at the thai place at college and broadway, or go to soi4. admittedly, none of these are sushi, but at least they're good food.

          1. I like Tachibana a lot, and have also had very good experiences with Mitama on the corner of College and Alcatraz. Kirala has perfectly good sushi, but not worth the line, and everyone I know has had a bad experience with Isobune.

            1. I would not go to Kirala just for the sushi, but I enjoy sitting at the bar in a busy restaurant, and enjoy the robata grill. Sushi is fine, but not the sole draw.

              Tachibana is good

              I'm glad someone said Mitama is good--havn't been yet.

              1. This is great - was wondering about Mitama after I posted. Funny, the only person to recommend Isobune was my moving guy (who was from So. Africa so perhaps not too familiar with good sushi). Thanks to all for the help!

                1. Tradionalist sushi enthusiasts seem to vouch for Sushi Sho, despite the small mom & pop operation and the fact that service can be a bit slow and spotty. But if your goal is some neighborhood sushi bar, old school style nigiri where sushi rice matters as much as sushi neta, then this might be it.

                  1. Mitama is ok, but not that great. The sushi at Uzen is almost as good as Sushi Sho, but they also have standard dinners.

                    1. Uzen is the only decent one in the area that I've had. In fact, was just there. The specials have been pretty good to me. Sushi there is generally good. I like their wild salmon if they have it. Also, their uni was great the other day.

                      Tachibana...I am not a fan, esp after the time my hamachi came to me with a green sheen on it (but I ate it and I am alive).

                      If you want dirt cheap sushi, don't go to Isobune, go to Manpuku in Elmwood. BTW the ramen is really good. sushi selection is very limited but very cheap and actually I prefer it to Isobune's. At Manpuku, cali rolls are $2.50 and a single piece of nigiri is I think $1.25. I don't recall any rolls that are more than $7. Good place for students.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: choctastic

                        Does Manpuku still have the half-off on prepacked sushi just before closing?

                        1. re: choctastic

                          I used to live across the street from Manpuku and after eating there more than 10 times, would only go there if I had a random craving for noodles. Their ramen is fine if you're in the neighborhood and you are REALLY craving ramen (and you don't want to make the trek to Ryowa, on University; or Norikonoko, on Telegraph).

                          I have had the sushi a number of times and cannot recommend it. I was served a piece of questionable tuna once (smelled off), which the sushi chef tried to convince me was toro. I won't be back.

                          I've had good experiences with Sushi Sho on Solano. The sushi there is ultra-traditional, and probably the best sushi I've had outside L.A. The unagi is divine. I've also heard positive reviews for Tachibana.

                          Have fun in Rockridge - it's a great place to live!

                          1. re: Chestnut

                            Yeah, you're right about the ramen. I was responding to the original request for stuff in the area. In the area, that's the only decent ramen I know but yeah, it's no Daikokuya.

                            I've never had their tuna and I would laugh if they told me they served toro. I basically order what I see in their glass shelf and if it looks okay and I for some reason am feeling poor, I'll get a couple of pieces. Usually it's salmon but occasionally yellowtail.

                        2. I dunno because I've never been there just before closing. they close around 10pm I think. I've actually never tried their prepackaged stuff at all. I just get some rolls, ramen and whatever nigiri looks good that day.

                          1. Love the range of opinion here... good stuff. I'm off to Uzen first and then to Sushi Sho. Will report back.

                            1. I hestitate to mention because I've NEVER had to wait for sushi here. My new favorite sushi in the area is Drunkenfish 3314 Piedmont at Broadway Ave (510) 645-1912 -- nestled between car dealerships but has a nice back patio. Not walking distance from College Ave.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: ae1011

                                That's why were all here! I've driven past this place many times, now I'll check it out.

                                1. re: ae1011

                                  I haven't been there (though friends have raved about it), but I have been to Koryo Sushi on Telegraph in Oakland, which is owned by the same people, and the sushi there is excellent.

                                  1. re: JasmineG

                                    Hmm, I was just at Koryo Sushi (you mean the one in the little Koryo plaza right? w/ the patbingsu place and yetnalguksu?) Eh, I didn't think it was very good but maybe things have changed or I didn't get the right things. I have to admit it was cheap.

                                  2. re: ae1011

                                    Drunken Fish is wonderful. Their wakame salad is great and my favorite roll, the amigo, is downright beautiful: bright red spicy maguro tuna with a tempura shrimp wrapped in pink soy wrapper with pale green wasabi sauce drizzled over it and some pitch black tobiko atop. And their sashimi is quite good. My personal favorite is hirami, which is often perfumed in its delicious fishy freshness.

                                  3. We like Mijori on Grand Avenue. The ambience is under whelming, but I think it's fresher than Tachibana, and cheaper too. Our friends from Korea, who are sushi experts, also eat there a lot. And, for all the other parents out there, it's very kid friendly.

                                    1. Tewnty years going to Tachibana on College Avenue in Oakland. Food always fresh, generous, good service. Now we go a lot to Mitama , also on College in Berkeley,and find Robert Meo's food excellent and the sushi perfect.

                                      1. Mitama was very good when it first opened, but the last time I was there, I had a very mediocre experience and haven't been back since. The selection of fish was very limited for some reason - so much so that I had to fill up on rolls.