Ozumo tomorrow - what do you recommend?
I don't know why I didn't think of asking earlier! We went to my choice last time (Incanto) & this time it is his choice. I searched the board high & low for Japanese fusion and settled on Ozumo since it is our anniversary. We both enjoy Japanese fusion cuisine and would appreciate any recommendations other than shellfish.
Thank you, thank you!
Having heard so much good reviews about the beautiful but hyper-expensive Ozumo, I decided to take the plunge & test out my credit card's limit this evening.
First impression was great - it was a seductive, slick & sophisticated-looking restaurant. Service was professional & very friendly. 4 of the 6 sushi chefs there were Japanese, and I almost l felt like I was in Tokyo, except when I looked out the window & saw the Oakland Bay Bridge instead of the Tokyo Rainbow Bridge looming outside.
The sake was excellent - served warm, the way the Japanese liked it.
Alas, there the similarities end. Sorry, but I thought the food at Ozumo just didn't quite cut it.
First, the soup. Dobin-mushi (US$9 per pot) - the consomme didn't have that light, subtle taste which dobin-mushi was supposed to be known for. The tiny (much too-undersized) pieces of seafood inside were also NOT as fresh as one would expect from a place which charged as much as they do. Also, no wedge of lime was provided to squeeze into the soup to add that extra zing.
I ordered two types of sushi:
- Shacho: Maine lobster, mango, jalapeno & cilantro, wrapped in tuna, with spicy sesame sauce (US$22); and
- Ozumo: grilled unagi & cucumber roll topped with snow-crab, tuna, avocado & spicy sauce (US$16).
Both were way over-the-top & over-complicated, and simply against the Japanese philosophy of serving the freshest food in the simplest way possible. What's disappointing was also the fact that their myriad of ingredients and flavors & textures just simply did NOT gel together. They just fell flat.
I was hoping that the hot entree, Gindara (essentially grilled black cod, marinated in Saikyo miso & sake kasu, US$26) might be the saving grace. Alas, it was not to be. It tasted much too oily & heavy, unlike Nobu (New York)'s similar dish, which exemplified the art of perfect balancing of flavors.
I had enough for the evening. Skipped dessert (had a small glass of Choya plum wine to cleanse my palate - US$9?!!).
I guess Ozumo's not the place for "authentic Japanese" cuisine. Only its astronomical prices remained true to the experience of dining out in Tokyo.
IIRC the original chef at Ozumo, Shotaro Kamio, is now in charge of Yoshi's kitchens. A lot of the excitement about the food at Ozumo subsided when Kamio left. To check out Kamio's current take on modern Japanese, I'd suggest a trip to Yoshi's San Francisco. It's on my list of things to do.
Yoshi's Jazz Club & Japanese Restaurant
1330 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA
JasmineG, you were right about not being disappointed with food; however, we had nothing but great service from beginning to end. As the hostess led me toward the back of the VERY crowded restaurant, I became more and more skeptical as to whether they would oblige my reservation request to be seated with a view of the bridge; but alas, I was rewarded. Subsequently, we had a very helpful and sweet server who was never too far away to answer our questions. We started with a couple of refreshing cocktails, the zen lemon drop & the sparkling geisha (sort of a Japanese bellini if you will) and then moved on to the rest of dinner. Unfortunately since some of the items we ordered were specials, I cannot recall the exact names so here goes:
-bluefin tuna with watermelon, a tropical salad mix presented in a cute banana leaf bowl
-crabmeat rolled in tuna & avocado topped with wispy onion rings over a spicy sauce
-hanabi - slices of hamachi and avocado with warm ginger jalapeno sauce
- toro (2 slices for $20)
-futago - thinly sliced beef tenderloin, spinach and japanese eggplant with a miso sesame sauce
- green tea ice cream with hot fudge
- genmai cha - green tea with rice flavoring (smooooth)
(also one order of sake & glass of wine)
Total: $165 plus tip
Everything was plated beautifully and we really enjoyed our meal. The only negatives would be that the hanabi seemed to be lacking any "jalapeno" flavor and was salty. My husband loved his crabmeat dish & the table next to us ordered a second helping too (I didn't taste due to allergy). I am a sushi novice and ordered toro based online research/review and this is my new love (didn't know that is one of the most expensive items). At first bite, I thought it was okay but then I started to really enjoy it & started to think how am I supposed to go back to buying basic ahi tuna at $25/lb??? And this is probably not even the best toro to be had!
Now that I know what expensive & pretentious Japanese food tastes like, my future outings in the Peninsula can only be better, right (ha, ha)?
I chose Ozumo for all that it has to offer...cool vibe, people watching, bay bridge view, easy driving location, & good food (although expensive). It was a warm night so after dinner, we went for a walk around the block, checked out the Americano at Hotel Vitale, gazed at the bridge & came back to retrieve car.
Expensive? Yes. Fun anniversary night? Priceless.
Hope it's not too late, but the shabu shabu at ozumo is amazing. the broth they use is different than traditional shabu shabu but is my favorite by far.
I also love the grilled vegetables there.
i've gone often and have never been disappointed in the food, but I don't think i've ever gone without ordering those 2 options.