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Sushi Sho to Reopen in El Cerrito

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danieldumont Feb 2, 2010 07:51 AM

My neighborhood newsletter states, "Akitoshi Kawata, owner Sushi Sho, 26 yrs. on Solano Avenue is moving to 10749 San Pablo" next to Big O Tire, 1 1/2 blocks north of Moeser. I never tried it on Solano but had heard some very good reviews.
Does anyone have more information?

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    Missmoo RE: danieldumont Feb 2, 2010 08:42 AM

    No but thank you for posting this, I've been wondering where he was going to reopen.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Missmoo
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      apocalyptical RE: Missmoo Feb 2, 2010 08:44 AM

      thank g'ness, it's about time they reopened! i love sushi sho!

    2. bbulkow RE: danieldumont Feb 2, 2010 12:16 PM

      News about whether they plan to keep the peculiar seating rules would be appreciated (no waiting allowed, bar seating only, no lines, no reservations).

      4 Replies
      1. re: bbulkow
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        Dan Wodarcyk RE: bbulkow Feb 2, 2010 06:33 PM

        Many peculiar rules but I enjoyed it the one time I went. I had thought he was retiring. The place was for sale about a year ago.

        1. re: bbulkow
          r
          rccola RE: bbulkow May 6, 2010 10:42 AM

          If the same rules apply, well, waiting outside at Big O Tire in El Cerrito will be a bit less fun than waiting on Solano.

          1. re: bbulkow
            j
            jman1 RE: bbulkow Jul 22, 2011 05:53 PM

            Good news that he's opening.

            I wasn't a regular, having only discovered Sushi Sho about a year before it closed. However, I didn't quite experience the rules described.

            In my experience, we were offered a seat at a table while waiting. From the table, we were offered to order drinks and small plates until the second seating.

            It was odd to have such a large space and only use a portion of the sushi counter, but we didn't mind. He was a bit of a "Sushi Nazi", but was also friendly enough.

            (Oops, didn't notice that this was an old tread with only some new posts on the bottom. Looks like we might have good news in Oct.)

            1. re: jman1
              Stephanie Wong RE: jman1 Jul 22, 2011 06:08 PM

              When the old location opened over 20 years ago, Aki-San had another sushi chef behind the counter with him, another in the kitchen, 2 food servers, plus a dishwasher in the kitchen. Over the decades, as his rent increased along with other costs, his margins got smaller so he scaled back to just him and his wife doing the all the buying, prep, service, and clean-up. While his offerings were no longer all inclusive, I found his sushi and hospitality to always be wonderful and gracious.

              I really, really look forward to enjoying his company again.

          2. h
            heyitsjai RE: danieldumont Apr 16, 2010 01:10 AM

            I went approximately 40 times in my 2 years living in Albany... 1 word: Phenomenal. Ultra-traditional, nigri/sashimi only. The fish is as fresh as it gets and Aki-san just takes so much pride in his food. His unagi, grilled to order over a habachi, would easily be my death row meal. He also smokes his own salmon and brews his own shoyu sauce, I believe. If you're in a hurry or have a palette geared towards American sushi, this would not be the right place. Your meal will take at least two hours and you'll wait a very long time to take a seat and almost as long for the first bite of food -- but it'll be transformational. Better than the Michelin 2-star Urasawa in LA in terms of sashimi & nigri IMO.

            Do any of you know if he's actually opened? I'll have to give him a call... I'm stuck in LA right now for business school, but I'm not joking when I say I'll fly up for a weekend to eat there one more time and give my heartfelt thanks to Aki-san and his wife for all the amazing meals I've been privileged to eat at Sushi Sho on Solano and great conversations I've shared with him and their other guests around the bar.

            -----
            Sushi Sho
            1645 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

            2 Replies
            1. re: heyitsjai
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              kc72 RE: heyitsjai Apr 16, 2010 12:41 PM

              Drove by today, didn't look like it

              1. re: kc72
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                ThaDu RE: kc72 Apr 16, 2010 11:02 PM

                drove by everyday. i stopped by and they are still working inside.

            2. l
              laurapie29 RE: danieldumont May 5, 2010 07:36 PM

              Any change since the last post? I live in the city now so I can't check for myself. We're so thrilled he has found a way to reopen.

              14 Replies
              1. re: laurapie29
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                kc72 RE: laurapie29 May 5, 2010 07:45 PM

                no change from the outside

                1. re: kc72
                  r
                  Ridge RE: kc72 May 6, 2010 09:54 AM

                  Reading this post made my day (even my week). That’s such wonderful news. It was our favorite place for sushi. The only negative thing about it was it was challenging to get seated because it was so popular and small. The sushi was always super high quality delicious and I liked the atmosphere. Aki-san could be stern, and while this was off-putting to some, there was a genuineness and warmth in the restaurant and in Aki-san himself that is lacking in most restaurants. And some of our most entertaining and memorable non-food restaurant experiences were watching his interactions with unseasoned newbies.

                  1. re: Ridge
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                    Missmoo RE: Ridge May 6, 2010 11:44 AM

                    I always loved when he would tell me the best way to eat one of his preparations!

                    1. re: Missmoo
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                      heyitsjai RE: Missmoo May 16, 2010 11:54 PM

                      I was in Berkeley this week and stopped by Monterey Fish Market on Hopkins only to discover that Aki-san serves sushi there on Saturdays!!!! Its a shame I had to leave before the weekend but I'll be back in a month and definitely be there on a Saturday for his sushi!

                      1. re: heyitsjai
                        Melanie Wong RE: heyitsjai May 17, 2010 12:17 AM

                        Great tip --- could you please tell us more about the set up at the market?

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          h
                          heyitsjai RE: Melanie Wong May 17, 2010 12:23 AM

                          Unfortunately I don't know... I stopped there on a Friday before my flight out :-( They had a poster saying they serve sushi by Aki on Saturdays so I asked the guys there if it was indeed Aki from Sushi Sho and they confirmed yes!

                          -----
                          Sushi Sho
                          1645 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                          1. re: heyitsjai
                            t
                            tomatoaday RE: heyitsjai May 18, 2010 08:20 AM

                            I was in 2 weeks ago to buy fish and while they were sampling 2 rolls (spicy tuna and a simple avocado) with some items in the case, I did not see anyone preparing or serving sushi - maybe he was taking a break? It was about 2:30. I did sample the rolls and thought they were average, rice too soft and the nori damp - perhaps they had been prepared way in advance. The set up seemed to be for takeout only; no chairs, crowded with customers there to buy fish and the deli like set up.

                            1. re: tomatoaday
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                              calalilly RE: tomatoaday May 18, 2010 12:55 PM

                              Okay, please explain to me why there is such a cult following of Sushi Sho. I don't get it. I've been there several times in the last few years and have always thought that the food was okay, nothing great. I've sat at the bar and ordered a variety of sushi and specials, and have ordered entrees off the menu. It's fair but nothing like what people are describing. What am I missing? I think Taki Sushi a few miles away is far superior in terms of freshness, value and overall quality.

                              -----
                              Sushi Sho
                              1645 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                              Taki Sushi
                              10877 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530

                              1. re: calalilly
                                r
                                Ridge RE: calalilly Jun 10, 2010 04:25 PM

                                Are you sure you are talking about the same place? To me the quality of the sushi at Sushi sho was always at the highest standard you could expect. Everything I ate there was very good to excellent with 90% of the things being excellent. Nothing could beat the fluke sashimi and he always managed to get his hands on bluefin Toro that was much better than anyplace around. It was the best Sushi in the Bay Area (at least in my opinion). And Aki San and his wife were great fun. I miss them.

                                1. re: calalilly
                                  wolfe RE: calalilly Jun 10, 2010 04:36 PM

                                  I was under the impression that they served only sushi. Which entrees were on the menu?

                                  1. re: wolfe
                                    Stephanie Wong RE: wolfe Jun 10, 2010 04:44 PM

                                    The only thing that might be considered an entree on the menu that I can recall is the hamachi kama (Aki-San grilled it back in the kitchen), and I really miss his preparation. (Other places seem to believe grill the collar too much, turning it into inedible charcoal on the outside and very overcooked flesh on the inside.)

                                    Also really miss his marinated salmon and his marinated saba.

                                    1. re: Stephanie Wong
                                      wolfe RE: Stephanie Wong Jun 10, 2010 05:17 PM

                                      I was wondering if calalilly remembered entrees if it wasn't one of the sushi places further west, Sushi Solano or Sugata.

                                      1. re: wolfe
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                                        calalilly RE: wolfe Jun 10, 2010 05:34 PM

                                        My mistake. Just looked them up on yelp and google, not the same place I was thinking. Hmm, I thought that was the name of the restaurant but guess not. This explains a lot. Now I'm looking forward to the new place to open so I can experience what everyone is writing about!

                                  2. re: calalilly
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                                    xargs RE: calalilly Jun 14, 2010 01:17 AM

                                    He's a gifted sensei, the sushi on its own is just good quality sushi, but the sushi along with his instruction and his blessing, so to speak, is something else entirely.

                                    -----
                                    Sushi Sho
                                    1645 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                  2. l
                    laurapie29 RE: danieldumont Jul 29, 2010 09:55 PM

                    I am hoping for help again about whether the restaurant has now reopened- just waiting for the word before I drive across the bridge.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: laurapie29
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                      kc72 RE: laurapie29 Jul 30, 2010 07:03 AM

                      Hasn't reopened last time I drove by about a week ago

                      1. re: kc72
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                        Ridge RE: kc72 Sep 24, 2010 04:35 PM

                        Any updates???

                        1. re: Ridge
                          k
                          kc72 RE: Ridge Sep 28, 2010 10:00 AM

                          Doesn't look like any change as of a few days ago.

                          1. re: kc72
                            Eugene Park RE: kc72 Sep 29, 2010 09:48 PM

                            Ugh, my salivary glands went into overdrive when I read the title. Since moving back to the East Bay (Montclair) from San Mateo, I've been missing the easy access I'd had to upper echelon places like Sakae, Sushi Sam's & Yuzu. Uzen is good IMO but has a limited menu. Sushi Sho reopening would've had me rearranging my schedule so I could get there at least once a week.

                            I feel like the lady in the Mervyn's commercial from years ago......."open open open!!!"

                            1. re: Eugene Park
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                              Wicker Parker RE: Eugene Park Dec 21, 2010 09:12 PM

                              Any Update?!

                    2. t
                      troutstalker RE: danieldumont Feb 2, 2011 08:17 PM

                      Construction currently in progress (after delays for design/permits).
                      Still at the rough-in stage, so might still be a bit of time........

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: troutstalker
                        drewskiSF RE: troutstalker Feb 3, 2011 09:40 AM

                        wow. year to the day from the original post and still in progress. damn those permits!

                      2. c
                        ckelley7 RE: danieldumont Jul 22, 2011 01:41 PM

                        I've stopped by Sushi Sho's the new location at 10749 San Pablo next to Big O Tires in El Cerrito. I talked to Aki-san about his extensive remodeling effort and all the obstacles that the cities of Richmond and El Cerrito have put in the way of re-opening his business. The short answer is that he'll probably reopen for business by October 2011. The long answer would bring tears to your eyes. Regardless, the new restaurant will be gorgeous inside. Aki-san has done most of the carpentry himself with his usual pursuit of perfection.

                        Sushi Sho serves the best sushi I have ever eaten and I've had sushi at up-scale restaurants in Tokyo several times. I can't wait to be a regular there once again!

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: ckelley7
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                          Gastrodisastro RE: ckelley7 Jul 22, 2011 03:54 PM

                          That is such wonderful news! My wife and i have been so missing Aki-san's artistry. The last time we checked the location a few months ago, it looked like nothing was happening and we both had pretty much given up hope of he and his wife's return.

                          1. re: ckelley7
                            Robert Lauriston RE: ckelley7 Jul 22, 2011 03:57 PM

                            Richmond AND El Cerrito? Do the city limits run through the restaurant?

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                              wolfe RE: Robert Lauriston Jul 22, 2011 04:01 PM

                              What you don't have the parcel map for that area?

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                                Bigshadetree RE: Robert Lauriston Jul 22, 2011 06:14 PM

                                Yes, the El Cerrito - Richmond City limits between Manila Ave. and Lincoln Ave. run along the west side of San Pablo Ave. The restaurants front door is probably in El Cerrito and the
                                main body of the building is in Richmond. This is about a mile from where I grew
                                up (on the Richmond side) - ;-)
                                http://www.el-cerrito.org/public_work...

                                1. re: Bigshadetree
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                                  troutstalker RE: Bigshadetree Aug 11, 2011 06:32 PM

                                  That's funny, the old place straddled the albany/berkeley border .
                                  Progress is being made, Aki hope's to open in about a month.

                                  1. re: troutstalker
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                                    heyitsjai RE: troutstalker Nov 4, 2011 12:13 PM

                                    Omg, does anyone have any updates on this???? I'm back in the Bay for the week and would love to see Aki-san!

                                    1. re: heyitsjai
                                      t
                                      ThaDu RE: heyitsjai Nov 4, 2011 08:29 PM

                                      wheel chair ramp is done and i can see they still working inside. drove by everyday.
                                      very soon be patient

                                      1. re: ThaDu
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                                        Missmoo RE: ThaDu Nov 30, 2011 01:52 PM

                                        Any news? Is it open?

                                        1. re: Missmoo
                                          k
                                          kc72 RE: Missmoo Nov 30, 2011 02:02 PM

                                          no

                                        2. re: ThaDu
                                          z
                                          zfalcon RE: ThaDu Nov 30, 2011 06:42 PM

                                          Sounds like the place is going to be packed even more than it previously was since all of us have been anxiously waiting for it to reopen for years. :)

                                      2. re: troutstalker
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                                        apocalyptical RE: troutstalker Mar 18, 2012 03:37 PM

                                        Any news? Does anyone know if they are open yet??

                                        1. re: apocalyptical
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                                          hyperbowler RE: apocalyptical Mar 22, 2012 12:50 PM

                                          I peeked in today. It smelled like paint and it looked like there's still basic construction going on. There weren't any signs or ornamental things visible.

                                          1. re: hyperbowler
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                                            ThaDu RE: hyperbowler May 11, 2012 03:51 PM

                                            went by today and saw all plastic sheets were removed from the windows and replaced with Japanese screen.

                                            1. re: ThaDu
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                                              Longing4SushiSho RE: ThaDu May 20, 2012 05:38 PM

                                              There is a small round Sushi Sho sign out, looks like it is a lighted sign!!!!!!!!!
                                              I have a feeling that people will camp out for this. We have missed it so much

                                              1. re: Longing4SushiSho
                                                Eugene Park RE: Longing4SushiSho May 20, 2012 07:53 PM

                                                Ohhhhhhh yes!!

                                                To co-opt a former national retailer's advertising - - - OPEN OPEN OPEN!!!

                                2. Melanie Wong RE: danieldumont May 21, 2012 11:36 AM

                                  Menu is posted by the door.
                                  http://m.lockerz.com/s/210795634

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: Melanie Wong
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                                    Longing4SushiSho RE: Melanie Wong May 21, 2012 12:26 PM

                                    yea! Thanks

                                    1. re: Longing4SushiSho
                                      Melanie Wong RE: Longing4SushiSho May 22, 2012 12:08 AM

                                      I couldn't see the whole room. It's not very big. Looks like four or more seats at the counter and six seats total at two tables.

                                      More photos of Sushi Sho
                                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong
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                                        ckelley7 RE: Melanie Wong May 24, 2012 02:00 PM

                                        It reopened Tuesday night, 22 May. I was there along with at least 20 other regulars. One guy got in line at 3pm for the 5:30 opening because it's first-come first-served at Sush Sho.

                                        Once inside, you'll find that the ambiance is even better than Aki-san's previous location. Everything inside the new Sushi Sho is perfect including the lighting. And a lot of the credit goes to the man himself. I visited while the restaurant was under construction and saw that Aki-san did most of the framing.

                                        Everybody got drunk and waited a long time for their food. We didn't care. One woman brought flowers. Everyone was friendly and open for conversation. It felt like a party at a private home. I actually made Michiko, Aki's hard-working wife and hostess, laugh. When Aki-san finally appeared, we all cheered!

                                        The fish was as tender and sweet as I remember it was 3 years ago. My son and I had a great time and a lot of laughs. I teased Aki-san about being "The Wasabe Nazi" and I even asked for a big lump in jest. He promptly put one on my plate! After I composed myself I asked him politely to take it back. His sous-chef explained that Aki-san had mellowed. But I knew better than to mess with perfection.

                                        Sushi Sho opens Tues-Sat at 5:30pm. The first wave starts to clear out at about 8pm.

                                        1. re: ckelley7
                                          Melanie Wong RE: ckelley7 May 24, 2012 02:41 PM

                                          Hurrah! So happy for you and the rest of the regulars who've waited so patiently. I can't claim to be one. Good timing on my part that I had an appointment in El Cerrito on Monday and remembered to drive by to see for myself.

                                           
                                          1. re: ckelley7
                                            g
                                            Gastrodisastro RE: ckelley7 May 24, 2012 02:55 PM

                                            We are looking forward to seeing Aki again, but I was hoping that maybe Michiko could could get an assistant or simply rule as hostess. She's earned it.

                                            1. re: ckelley7
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                                              Longing4SushiSho RE: ckelley7 May 25, 2012 09:29 AM

                                              AHHHHHH!!!! We simply CANNOT wait!

                                              1. re: ckelley7
                                                z
                                                zfalcon RE: ckelley7 May 25, 2012 12:30 PM

                                                Woohoo, this makes me so happy!

                                        2. Robert Lauriston RE: danieldumont May 24, 2012 04:21 PM

                                          So he changed his mind about wanting to retire?

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/609977

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            wolfe RE: Robert Lauriston Jun 1, 2012 06:25 AM

                                            Obviously.

                                          2. r
                                            Ridge RE: danieldumont May 31, 2012 11:18 PM

                                            We were big fans in Sushi Sho and were sad when they closed down the Solano restaurant a few years ago. Last night we finally made it to the new location in El Cerrito. The location is better for us since we live in Vallejo. Going to the new restaurant felt like going to the home of a dear friend or relative who you have not seen in a long time and have missed. The food and hospitality were spectacular as always. We are happy that Aki-san is back.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Ridge
                                              drewskiSF RE: Ridge Jun 1, 2012 12:02 AM

                                              That's great to hear.

                                              I wasn't a regular at the old location, but I still remember it as one of the best Uni that I've enjoyed.

                                              Was there a line or is it under the radar, at the moment?

                                              1. re: drewskiSF
                                                k
                                                kc72 RE: drewskiSF Jun 1, 2012 06:47 AM

                                                Drove my Wednesday night and there was nobody standing outside/line. I don't believe there was a name/sign on the outside of the restaurant either.

                                                1. re: kc72
                                                  Stephanie Wong RE: kc72 Jun 1, 2012 07:16 AM

                                                  See Melanie's photo:

                                                  http://www.chow.com/photos/767164

                                                2. re: drewskiSF
                                                  r
                                                  Ridge RE: drewskiSF Jun 1, 2012 06:13 PM

                                                  On wed night we got there around 7:15. There were only two people there when we arrived. By 8:00 the place was comnpletely packed. Most people I think were regulars at the old place but the nice couple seated next to us were new and had come after reading about it on chowhound. Of course don't come here if you are in a rush but come when you can hang out for a while.

                                              2. h
                                                hyperbowler RE: danieldumont Jun 13, 2012 06:02 PM

                                                For a chef's choice dinner, what's an evening here usually cost?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: hyperbowler
                                                  wolfe RE: hyperbowler Jun 13, 2012 06:11 PM

                                                  For a start the minimum charge is $25 per Melanie's menu.

                                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

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