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Sushi with atmosphere near Piedmont Ave.?

tonbo0422 Dec 28, 2011 11:01 AM

I'm in from Montreal (montrealfood.com!) for the holidays visiting the folks . . . haven't been back in three years. I see Kotobuki has gone -- that used to be a good place to belly up to the bar and have a friendly chat with the itamae-san, but now all I see is Geta, which is pretty much cafeteria style. I seem to remember there was a place just up there on Broadway in the mall, but is there any place within walking distance of Monte Vista/Piedmont that might fit the bill for a leisurely sit-down at the bar with sushi, saké and conversation with friends and sushi chef, that won't break the bank?

Thanks in advance! When you come to Montreal I'll return the favor!



  1. Robert Lauriston Dec 28, 2011 11:04 AM

    Uzen's about a mile and a half.

    Uzen Japanese Cuisine
    5415 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      tonbo0422 Dec 28, 2011 11:24 AM

      Robert, never heard of it, but it sounds like exactly the kind of place I'm looking for! Thanks for the rec -- I'll tell the old friend I'm meeting today that we should make that our choice. I'll let you know how it went.


      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        Rapini Dec 28, 2011 02:05 PM

        Uzen is very good, and has a nice atmosphere, as requested.

        I'd also mention Drunken Fish [near the intersection of Piedmont and Broadway] for good sushi, good value, nice place, and in your personal bio-region.

      2. drewskiSF Dec 28, 2011 11:36 AM

        Rikyu is pretty good and a couple blocks closer, if you get tired :)

        the chef used to work at Kirala before opening his own spot

        Rikyu Japanese Restaurant
        5335 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

        3 Replies
        1. re: drewskiSF
          tonbo0422 Dec 28, 2011 12:52 PM

          Ah yes, I remember Kirala. Rikyu will be our visit after Uzen!

          1. re: tonbo0422
            drewskiSF Dec 28, 2011 01:44 PM

            Oh, and Kotobuki relocated to Montclair Village as Kotobuki Jr. The original owner retired and the kids have taken over, thus the "Jr" part.

            I've eaten there a couple of times, but was not impressed.

            1. re: drewskiSF
              tonbo0422 Dec 29, 2011 02:34 PM

              Yes, Kotobuki was never anything to write home about, just that it was warm and fuzzy.

              We ended up hanging around outside Uzen yesterday before the 5:30 opening, but it looked really clinical. Like an OR, I remarked to my pal. The staff were having their afternoon meal and it just seemed . . . somehow . . . not right.

              We wandered up to Rikyu and were pleasantly surprised. The decor is much friendlier, more conducive to a good chat over saké. The itamae-san was a bit brusque, in a busy sort of way, and the tobiko/tuna rolls were way too tightly packed for my taste but everything was completely serviceable, if a little personality-less. The gyoza seemed Costco-ish and the house saké (Ozeki) was a touch too tepid but all in all, the atmosphere was very welcoming, everyone was pleasant and it gets a solid b- from this Montrealer.

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