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Omakase at Kiss Seafood?

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I'm going to a show at the Fillmore tomorrow evening and want to grab dinner in J-Town beforehand. A bar stool at Ino is my usual (and favorite) go-to for fresh nigiri in the area, but I'd like to try something different. There doesn't seem to be much else around. I've never been to Kiss and have read good things. From what I've seen on Yelp, etc. I'm interested.

Can anyone tell me how the Chef's Special Omakase is and whether it's worth it?

What else to try off the menu? Is it sushi focused; traditional, rolls, fusion, etc? What are prices like and what's to be expected for 2 people (one light eater, one large appetite) with sake, tab-wise?

Lastly, and pardon my asking this, but does Beni-Hana hold any value whatsoever for retro/nostalgic purposes? Is it simply an overpriced tourist trap, or can one still have a pretty good meal, and what about tiki cocktails and decor? This crossed my mind as a fun nearby option with the food be secondary, but just wanted to get some feedback so we don't have a miserable time.

Thanks!

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  1. Kiss is great.
    I would go with the omakase, especially the first time.
    It's 5 or six little courses. One will be perfect little pieces of sushi, another perfect little pieces of sashimi.
    I'd be very interested in hearing how you contrast this with Ino, which I also love.
    If find the pieces at Kiss to be smaller but somehow more perfect.
    The other courses vary and are always interesting and tasty.

    I've actually never ordered anything there other than the omakase, and I've been there many times.
    The omakase is either $50 or $68 per person. You might try either depending on your mood.
    Sake is not cheap, I think ranges from 8-20 a glass, but it's a nice list.

    Beni-Hana. I was there once about 8 years ago. It was pretty much a tourist trap. Won't be going back.

    4 Replies
    1. re: pauliface

      Thanks for the feedback!

      Is Tombo in the same ballpark at all, or on a completely different level?

      I don't mind the pricing so much but the photos I've seen from blog posts make it look all a bit too 'precious' and many of the small non-nigiri and sashimi plates seem very hit or miss. Approx. how long does the omakase take and would it be suited to a relatively fast (1hr or less) meal before seeing a show at the Fillmore?

      Thanks again for your opinions!

      1. re: OliverB

        I've never tried Aka Tombo.
        People say great things about it, but when I've looked in the window it's never drawn me in.
        Since you like Ino, as I do, I'll be very curious to hear your reaction if you try Aka Tombo.

        Kiss is a little precious, but in my mind it's just a perfect little jewel of a meal. I have not found the other dishes to be hit or miss. To me it's always good, and it's very hard to find a place that mixes sushi and non-sushi items well in SF.

        Kiss is tiny and a little quiet, but of course compared to Ino it's like going to a Rave.
        Aka Tombo looks much more informal and boisterous.

        I do think that 1 hour is rushing it at Kiss. You should probably have 2 hours to properly enjoy it. Aka Tombo sounds like it may be a better pre-Fillmore venue...

        Then of course there's the shabusen, also right there, which is always fun.
        The food is nowhere near the quality of Kiss, but there's something about shabu shabu...

        1. re: pauliface

          Thanks, this has been really helpful!

          I think we're going to do Aka Tombo tomorrow for a more casual pre-Fillmore meal, but I will definitely add Kiss to my list to try soon. I'll be sure to post feedback on the omakase at Tombo and let you know how it compares (if at all) to Ino, which is my benchmark in the city!

          1. re: OliverB

            Having lived in that 'hood for four years, I really preferred Aka Tombo over Ino so I think you will enjoy it. Can't tell you if you need a res - I always went in really early.

            I'm a big fan of Kiss as well, but it is more precious and expensive. But take a look at the Aka Tombo sampler platter. The last time I was there, it was in the $40 range and a killer bargain for what he offered.

    2. Nevermind, trying Sushi Aka Tombo instead.

      Better priced and more what I was looking for. Do I need res for Thursday night?

      4 Replies
      1. re: OliverB

        You will not regret going to Aka Tombo. It's in my opinion a much better value than Ino: cheaper AND better quality. Chef Ryoji-san is a master. Oh, and he's a really nice guy too so the atmosphere in Aka Tombo is really fun compared to Ino. I recommend the $30 ten piece nigiri omakase to start, it is an insanely great value. You will be served stuff like o-toro, uni, mirugai, aji, awabi, sanma, bincho, kohada, etc. Last week he had konoshiro (adult kohada) that was ridiculously good.

        You will probably not need a reservation, depends on what time you go. If you want to sit at the bar I would call ahead, just to be safe.

        1. re: od_sf

          Wow, thanks so much to everyone - it sounds fantastic and I'm really excited about this meal!

          I will definitely do the nigiri omakase (only 10 pieces or could I chose 15?) and probably follow up with some additional sashimi and maybe shellfish or salad. Are there any must-try recommendations apart from the omakase offerings? The blue prawns look interesting. Should I just ask Chef Ryoji-san to chose how to feed me?

          My girlfriend is into maki more than nigiri; is there anything that she should definitely try?

          Thanks again for all your responses, it'll be fun to compare dinner tonight with past experiences at Ino!

          1. re: OliverB

            their tofu is good/unique/special.

            1. re: OliverB

              The 10 piece nigiri omakase will come with miso soup, and will include whatever is in season, freshest, etc. He doesn't do a 15 piece omakase but of course you can order more after the 10 piece set. As far as must-tries, just look for the "specials" white board hanging on the wall to the right of the bar, and ask Ryoji-san for recommendations. Not sure about maki, I never order them. All the cooked dishes I have tried there have been excellent too, though.