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Feb 15, 2010 08:22 AM

Sawa Sushi in Sunnyvale

Has anyone been to recently? And is is really 350 bucks per person for the full course meal?


Does it rise to the heights of Ginza Sushiko in Los Angeles or Masa in NYC?

Thanks. And does anyone happen to have a list of the sakes served their and wine list if they have one?

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  1. Since you last inquired (whenever that was), Sawa has a new website

    You will see that there are a few options for multiple "omakase" course, of which the premium version is $350.

    Based on reading random reports of others (not here by the way), Steve has taken omakase to another level where the dishes are either plates of raw fish, or French Cali fusion style looking courses. Of course he still serves nigiri and seemingly Americanized rolls upon request, but omakase that contains a side dish or two, miso soup, sashimi, nigiri, hosomaki, more or less does not exist there (unless you specify I suppose).

    The website does not mention the sake list but I'm sure he carries a good selection that probably surpasses most Northern California sushi restaurants (even the high end ones, perhaps with a few exceptions).

    For one thing, Steve does not seemingly do true hybrid kaiseki or kaiseki type dishes a la Masa Takayama, let alone Urasawa, or in the vein of Mori Sushi (LA) from what I know (and also based on photographs online if you look hard enough), but it is very clear he has his loyal fanbase (e.g. bloggers which is quite apparent from the website).

    6 Replies
    1. re: K K

      i've visited sawa couple times over the past two months. price has ranged ~$100 - $120 pp all in, including some (expensive) sake. i'm sure it could be a lot more expensive if i were to request special items. he's never asked for a price range, and i've never given one, so i assume this is the "default".

      his sake list is extensive (and expensive) he claims to have 40 different kinds, priced from $80 a bottle to $600 a bottle.

      apart from serving raw fish and being expensive, sawa is as far from urasawa and masa as you can get. urasawa and masa have great decor and service, and beautiful dishware. sawa just serves huge amounts of very high quality fish.

      overall, the place is just ridiculous for many different reasons. personally, i love it, but it is not hard to tell why some people hate it. alongside ino, it is my favorite bay-area restaurant.

      any other fans here on chowhound? any regulars? any suggestions on what to special-request?

      1. re: Dustin_E

        Why do you love it ? Bsically the large portions of high quality raw fish?

        1. re: kevin

          yes, the very large portion of very high quality fish is what i love. i suppose i love sacrificing service, decor, variety and complicated dishes for more better fish.

        2. re: Dustin_E

          Did you get any nigiri at all in your last 2 visits, or was it strictly a sashimi fest? And what did he serve you at that $100 to $150 pp price range? Did Madison prepare any of your food for you?

          1. re: K K

            no nigiri at all. a couple cooked dishes. a couple meat courses in the first meal. Madison (i assume this is his younger assistant shown on his web page) wasn't there on my most recent visit. might have been there on my first visit, but if she was, she was in the kitchen.steve had another older lady helping in back on my most recent visit.

            1'st visit $200 all in for 2 people, one $40 375ml sake

            salmon in green sauce
            white tuna with avocado and ikura
            cooked prawn
            homemade sausages
            cooked salmon (belly?) and green beans with a mustard sauce (i think)

            $240 all in for 2 people, one $80 750ml sake:

            scallop in light spicy sauce
            salmon in green sauce
            tuna cubes and uni and wasabi (holy crap amazing)
            white tuna (i think), avocado, ikura
            sea bream, or something similar, in a red sauce
            cooked prawn in a red sauce
            some mochi ice cream things

            i might be forgetting a course or two. the second meal had fewer courses for similar meal price. maybe a function of what he had in stock? regardless, we were stuffed by the end.

            another group got a few bowls of noodles, but i think these were only for their young children they had brought along.

          2. re: Dustin_E

            My experience is from 8 or 9 months ago, but very similar. Basically it was sashimi the whole way, each course with some kind of sauce. Didn't ask about the price beforehand and it was indeed about $120 pp all told.

            While I wouldn't say I hated it, it's certainly not high on my list of places to return. To me there are two main reasons: 1) each course was about 2 to 4 times the size that it should have been, and 2) the sauces sometimes distracted from the purity of the fish experience.

            If I could have had double the number of courses, each half the size, I'd consider going back for sure. If Steve would have thrown in a few traditional sashimi and nigiri courses along with the more fusion stuff, then I'd be there a couple of times a year. As described above, the quality of the fish is extremely high and sometimes you get things that seem almost impossible to get elsewhere, even at, say, Sakae Sushi.

            243 California Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010