Sushi on the Run in Los Gatos
Went there, it was beyond tinyt, remembered that from a review a few years back.
It seems like the restaurant is just one of those newfangled roll factories. I had previously believed that they served great fresh sushi like the heavy hitter's in San Fransicso, San Mateo, and Sunnyvale. But it wasn't good at all.
I asked for Omakase, and they looked at me quizzically, and the offered a tasting of a few different pieces of sushi. None of it was good at all, and the slices were long and huge, not the kind of Edo-mae, bite-size pieces that I am used too, even if the pieces are big that's not necessarily bad if the quality was there, but the quality wasn't there either. And the rice was cold mounds of very undistinguished rice. I should have bypassed it, when I saw the list of rolls on the menu posted in the window. But alas I didn't.
Am I missing something here?
Only walked by Sushi On The Run, but was always skeptical about the place.
For good Edo style sushi you may want to try these places
Sebo - the closest to LA style Edo sushi (the top notch ones) you will find. Similar quality and size to Sushi Zo for those from Southern Cal.
Koo, I'd recommend mostly for their strengths in cooked food and fusion done right, but their nigiri is quite decent, not a supreme highlight (but great fish overall)
and north of there apparently Sushi Ran in Sausalito is very high end
Sakae Sushi (Burlingame) - Wagyu nigiri at $26 a pair, amazing fish Fed-Ex'd from Japan. Supreme konbu dashi sauce brushed on certain fish, probably the best in town.
Kaygetsu (Menlo Park) - sushi bar only seats about 6, and the sushi bar is only open for dinner during certain days of the week. Call ahead, Toshi-san is arguably the cult favorite. Very expensive. Silcon Valley types even forego the kaiseki offerings and just have some nigiri and chat with Toshi-san. Smaller nigiri pieces than Sakae, but crafted perfectly. If anything the craftsmanship and quality probably resemble the likes of Sushi Zo in LA or higher end equivalents.
A lot of people like Sushi Sam's in San Mateo and I do applaud them of having upwards of 26 varieties on the white board for nigiri, but they tend to overdecorate the nigiri with too many condiments and drown them in various sauces, thus masking the original flavors. Also a bit overuse with the blowtorch to sear certain fish. Great neighborhood places at very high prices, nice cooked food/small dishes selection. But authentic Edo style? Hardly anymore (unless you request the nigiri plain with no condiments/saucing, and then you might be able to tell the difference).
Sushi Tomi (more neighborhood like) in Mountain View
Kitsho (with more emphasis on variety and quality of fish, including some exotic stuff and more white fish selections than most places)
Hoshi (Santa Clara) - strengths in cooked food, but sushi is pretty good. Ask what is in season or do a omakase nigiri sampler to taste. Chef owner was trained through apprenticeship and used to work in a reputable sushi place in Ginza before opening up the izakaya with a sushi bar.
re: K K
Next time it will be Sushi Sam and Sakae Sushi, or maybe just Sakae, Kaygetsu sounds good time. By expensive due you mean neck and neck in price with Sushi Zo in LA, ore much more than Sushi Zo. By the way, you're correct. I am from LA, so I do know a lot about Zo, even tough I'm not quite a fan. There is much better sushi in that style in LA.
Also, have you been to Sawa in Sunnyvale? What are your thoughts. It always sounds like it would be the piece de resistance if i got lucky. But on the otherhand I don't want to drop 300 per person for a subpar because the chef, Steve Sawa, doesn't like us or wants to fleece so we don't come back again by price gouging, etc.
http://www.kaygetsu.com/sushi.html for a general idea ($4 per piece to $5 per piece of nigiri) and they are not terribly big. If you are really hungry, you can rake up $120 ish which nears the $140+ mark after tax and mandatory 18+% service charge (so no tips needed). Sakae can be that expensive if you order off their white board specials going top to bottom.
Also Kaygetsu has a very small variety of fish, although very high quality. Mostly what you see on the menu, and depending on the season, the occasional rare import stashed away from view.
Sawa....where do I begin...
Sawa has not had a proper review since 2003 or before on this board. Highly controversial subject because what customers get served will....vary. His favorite customers love him to bits and probably keep mum on the subject for good reason to want to go back there, although if you search around the net you'll find some reviews and pictures (as late as Feb 2008) by bloggers. Interesting enough, most of these reviews/bloggers (of the ones who did go back again), never got nigiri.
I've been to Sawa twice, and after talking to many other sushi chefs who have worked with him or know him, I've my own opinion on the matter and my own perspective.
To put it nicely, if you have $300+ to spend, you've got Urasawa in LA. Not that I've been, but I've seen enough pictures and words. A bit less and you can enjoy yourself at Mori Sushi amongst many other non Michelin star high end candidates. Less than half of that without drinks and up here you can hit Sebo in SF, Sakae in Burlingame, burst your belly at Sam's, achieve serenity and nirvana at Kaygetsu etc etc etc.
Someone told me last Friday's edition of the Wall Street Journal had an article about Sawa, if not him/the shop in particular the mannerisms in which these types chefs operate and behave. Does someone know where this article may be found online?
re: K K
Yep, I read the article to and I guess the poster hhc beat me to the punch in posting the link.
See if I did go to sawa i don't want to be fleeced with just sashimi, and huge pieces at that so there's no variety. I want some of the cooked dishes along with the sashimi and nigiri.
So can you describe when you've been to Sawa? Or do you have a link to it. I do know that there was guy that posted about his secret restaurant possibly about ten years back about Sawa, and there were a couple hounds that reviewed it too. But I couldn't find anything recent either except for some postings on Yelp and sites of that ilk, but I do like the hounds opinions much better.