Where to find amazing sushi?!
I am looking for a place that serves amazing traditional sushi. I really don't care for Americanized rolls. I am more into straight nigiri, sashimi, and omakese, done extraordinarily well.
The type of sushi restaurant I am looking for is ALL about freshest and best selection of fish, not about having large menus and big portions.
I want a place that serves superb toro that is similar to wagyu beef carpaccio, well marbled, ultra tender(almost like uni), just the perfect amount of fat content.
Sea Urchin that is so sweet it almost tastes like candy.
Creamy yellow tail belly that almost taste like toro.
I am looking for a place that is closed on Sundays for freshness reasons, and that grates its own wasabi. A place that has an emphasis an Nigiri, where it is well propotioned, already has a little bit of wasabi on it, and even some yuzu/ponzu on it on occassion.
Other than Sushi Ran, I don't know of any places like that in SF.
So hounders, are there any legit sushi places that are more about the fish than the "creativity" of the roll?
Well nigiri sushi is not just about the fish, but the right balance of rice, the rice receipe itself, the sushi chef's knife skills, creativity, and accentuating flavors to their maximum, in addition to knowing and optimizing what is in season. Of course jlrobe should know this as I see old posts mentioning kiriko, maybe Zo, and Mori in Los Angeles (after spending a minute looking into his or her old posts), and I have some experience with Zo (already heard a ton about Mori).
The standard "best sushi in SF" type answers will fail here, because to truly understand the question, you have to find out where the OP is coming from. Seeing that you spent a lot of time in the LA boards, and presumably have had some high end nigiri sushi from there, I'm going to throw the answer back that you are not likely going to find anything here that rivals the top 3 or 5 in LA here.
The short answer, if you have been to Sushi Zo in LA and at least enjoy it nicely (which I have), it is definitely better than 98% of the places in SF Bay Area. I've never been to Sushi Ran but have heard great things about it.
With that in mind, I would think only Sebo in SF would match what you are looking for, but it is still a few notches below Zo (the portions are similar, ie small nigiri). Ino Sushi I would recommend for their ankimo, that surpasses both Zo and Sebo (but just by a few hairs).
Kiss is not a formal sushi restaurant although they have a sushi bar.
The next place I would recommend is Sakae in Burlingame that likely has exotic fish quality that I'm sure rivals that of Sushi Ran.
But to only have toro, uni, and hamachi belly, is only scratching the surface.
If you appreciate really fantastic fusion style cooked food, small dishes, alongside decent fish, try Koo in San Francisco. The chef owner spent time at one of Boston's first Japanese restaurants, Tokyo a Go Go, and also worked at Sushi Ran before. A true master. Get the $80 omakase and order 3 days in advance (specify cooked food/small plates alongside sashimi and nigiri at the end).
There are plenty of old school sushi places that have excellent fish but keep the rolls to satisfy the Californians. Just because a shop has rolls shouldn't be a black mark - you don't have to order them.
Does your definition of SF include the peninsula?
How about Berkeley?
I actually had some very good bluefin last night at Yoshi's in berkeley, surprisingly enough.
There's good sushi in greater SF, but the level of quality you're describing, though, I'm not sure can be found outside of Tokyo. At least, I've never found it.