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Best Sushi in SF is where?

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I imagine I'm opening a wonderful can of worms by asking this question. A good friend and I will be in SF for three days next week and we want the hands-down best sushi in the city. Price is no object. I went to Ame and had the tasting menu with wine pairings, last time I was in the city and it was fantastic, but it was more of an overall great dining experience and this time we'd like straight sushi and sashimi.

In LA my favorite spot is Sushi Zo, and hers is the Hump. We also love sake. Neither of us have been to Urasawa, and we're not huge fans of Nozawa, if that helps with some guidance.

I've searched the board with various key words and haven't come up with anything yet, though I recall reading about a few places that have gotten raves.

We wait excitedly for your responses!!

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  1. the first return for the query "best sushi" returns this thread:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/364089

    you might also find this thread helpful:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/508841

    I have little to add to these threads, but I'm a fan of Ino. For one visit, I'd venture that it's less unlikely for you to have a bad experience at Sebo (for reasons you'll find in the threads above).

    1. YUZU
      347 Fillmore St
      (between Chestnut St & Lombard St)
      San Francisco, CA 94123
      (415) 775-1873
      www.yuzusf.com
      Really creative.. and good, also -Japanese beer you cant find anywhere(I've looked.)

      2 Replies
      1. re: jacob_mochel

        Uhh...you might not be able to find the following Japanese beers in many other Japanese restaurants (Hitachino's distribution in particular is notoriously finicky, making it ill-suited for most restaurants to have on the menu) but I've definitely seen all of these at bars and liquor stores in SF and they are almost always in stock. Or are you referring to beers that aren't on Yuzu's website?

        White Ale - Hitachino Nest
        Red Rice Ale - Hitachino Nest
        Japanese Classic Ale - Hitachino Nest

        These are regularly in stock at Healthy Spirits and New Star-Ell Liquors. Additionally, I've seen the Hitachino XH, Ginger Brew and Espresso Stout available.

        Echigo Koshihikari
        Echigo Stout
        Orion, Okinawa

        I think that all of these can be found at Nijiya Market in Japantown (not 100% sure about the stout).

        1. re: bigwheel042

          I've seen Hitachino Nest beers in the bottle at Beretta while at the bar.

      2. If Zo is your benchmark (and it is mine, as well) brace yourself. You're not going to find anything in that league in the Bay Area. If you're out of the city near SFO, consider Sakae. In the city proper, look very carefully at the operating hours of the high end places. Most are dinner only. And there can be some odd days off (ie: not just Sunday/Monday). Murasaki, Koo, Ino, Ebisu, Zushi Puzzle and Hama Ko are all consensus picks that you'd be well to research online (see the forum that sounds like "kelp"...) I hope you get to try several and report back.

        Sushi Monster
        www.emeraldlake.com/sushilist.html

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sushi Monster

          I would stay away from Ebisu, plus I thought I heard they were closed for remodeling? I do like Koo, but have not been to the LA benchmark restaurants you mentioned for comparison.

          1. re: Sushi Monster

            After reading Sushi Monster's extensive reviews (insanely amazing list) I found myself at Sakae today after a meeting on the Peninsula. Hiro took very good care of me and I took my time making my way down a good deal of the white board. In short, and I apologize for my lack of Japanese names here; shima aji, hotate, o toro (best I've ever had in the Bay Area), aji, hamachi, tai, an amazing uni from Japan (apparently a type of uni without spikes on its exterior), ocean trout and at least 1 more. He noticed my interest and even gave me a small bowl of baby octopus, as well as a small piece of hirame wrapped around monk fish liver. Casual, unpretentious, but amazing freshness and Hiro (the owner) is extremely friendly. As a huge fan of Sushi Ran, I think this matches it minus the ambience but a plus on the personality of the chef. I still really enjoyed my trip to Sushi Sho (Albany) recently as well. I'll be back, thanks Sushi Monster.

          2. I haven't found any as good as Zo here but Sebo is my favorite in SF. Mellow, not a factory like Nozawa. Only the freshest ingredients. Small pieces (as they should be) like at Zo.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Senor Popusa

              +1 for Sebo. I think they come the closest to Zo out of all the other SF places.

              1. re: K K

                another +1 for Sebo. One of my highlights of 2008 was a solo dinner I treated myself to at Sebo. Not cheap, but nothing I ordered had I ever seen at another sushi restaurant - flavorful, fresh and fairly creative fish that particular evening. Not cheap, but very friendly and everyone in the place seemed to be really enjoying themselves.

            2. Sushi Ran in Sausalito and Sushi Sho in Albany, though I cannot compare to Sushi Zo. Don't be intimidated by what you read of the proprietors of Sushi Sho. It's small, intimate, the chef is friendly and conversational, and the menu extremely focused and fresh (I felt as if I was at a family dinner of sushi amongst strangers). Sushi Ran is larger and more adventurous but also of high quality.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

                Sorry, I disagree. If the seats at the bar are taken, he nearly screams you out.

                His prerequisite, I suppose, but he reserves his kindness to those sitting at the bar, not those who rather rudely might *want* to sit at the bar.

                1. re: bbulkow

                  Sorry, but the bar as I saw it is 8 seats only plus a few spares, and I saw no screaming. In fact, anyone who wondered in was offered a spare seat at the bar for a drink only until other parties left (plus some congeniality) or left to wait at a table until new seats opened. As other postings have suggested, their customer service leaves a lot to be desired, but if you're willing to "buck up", it's well worth it.

                  1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

                    Yes, the bar seats 8, and I'm glad he wasn't rude to you.