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Maruya on 16th, best sushi in SF?

Or better said, how does Maruya stand up to some of the great sushi spots in Tokyo?

After a show at ODC my girlfriend and I walked over to Bar Bambino only to discover its out of business (moved?) and Maruya sushi has taken its place.

The quality of the fish was superb as was the Uni, although the rice seemed a little too sweet. The presentation and service were heads above. I cannot remember the last time I was at sushi place, nay any restaurant, and did not have to catch the waiters attention at least once.

Maruya is the best sushi experience we've had in San Francisco.

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  1. Did you order a la carte or omakase?

    2931 16th Street
    San Francisco, CA
    415 503 0702
    Closed Monday and Sunday


    3 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      can one order a la carte? menu online doesn't seem to imply that you can

      1. re: vulber

        The linked Tasting Table review says this:
        "You're not obligated to order the set menu (though we'd recommend it). Chef Sueyoshi prepares nigiri and hand rolls à la carte. Bonus bite: Order a boozy, jade-green macha tiramisu to finish the meal. "

      2. re: Melanie Wong

        A la carte, they allow the ordering of separate pieces and as pointed out they are on the pricey end of the spectrum with per piece at $8+ ... but worth it!

      3. I've heard that one of the chefs here gave a great omakase presentation and the other one not so much. It'd be great to find out which one is the good one.

        1. Wow, thanks. They're open nice and late too.

          1. This place is practically across the street from us, so we knew we would be giving it a try. Excellent selection of fresh fish--easily Sebo or Sushi Ran quality. I ordered the sushi combination, my dining companions had Hide's omakase. All of my sushi was pristine, though the rice was maybe a tad undercooked. Lovely, restrained use of fresh wasabi, ginger, and other garnishes.

            Dinner ended with an awesomely savory bowl of red miso soup and mushrooms. Uni was some of the freshest and sweetest I've had. Very happy about this addition to the neighborhood.

            1 Reply
            1. re: possumspice

              I am waiting for them to settle down before my visit (being selfish here). It would be nice to hear from someone who tried Masa-san's omakase at Sebo back then. My personal experience was excellent, and I don't expect any less from him at Maruya.

            2. I had a great meal last night. Ordered the Masa Hide omakase, which has a few set items from the kitchen and as many nigiri as you like. Standouts were super-fresh Mendocino uni, a cured fish something like saba, and something seared with a blowtorch just before serving.

              I sat at the counter right in front of the chef so had the optimal experience. He said he gets 80% of his stuff from Japan and was talking about how important it is that the fish is killed properly and eaten after the optimal amount of time for the species.

              They have an "orange" Vermentino by the glass that goes really well with sushi. Ten pieces and three glasses of wine came to $165 before tip.

              I haven't been to enough of the top places to rank it, but it was some of the best sushi I've had. I'll have to go back and ask him for a more esoteric selection.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I tried both ala carte and the Maruya omakase ($85), was less satisfied with the omakase (since they gave me several fish which are not my favorites and which I would not normally order, they only served to fill me up prematurely-- e.g. 3 giant pieces of maguro in an omakase, come on?!). The side dishes provided with the omakase were good but did not knock my socks off. Have not tried the Hide omakase. I would probably go ala carte in the future. Their botan ebi was particularly good. They could use some nama sake in their list. Enjoyed the anmitsu. The ambiance is much more relaxing and zen-like (reminiscent of Urasawa) than say Saru or Hamano but prices are also much higher than either of those.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Did they have an ala carte option when you went last night? Stopped in last week and the only menu we were shown at the door was for two set menus. Decided to go elsewhere as we weren't that hungry.

                  1. re: tjinsf

                    I think if you get the Masa Hide omakase you can ask for anything you want from the list I photographed. Or maybe you can just order a la carte, period, I didn't ask. Note that I split the list into two photos to make them readable.

                    I think the botan ebi were the only item I got two of. The fried heads were another highlight.

                    1. re: tjinsf

                      Ala carte is always available. That's why the menu they hand out inside shows prices per piece.

                  2. As good as Tokyo, not sure about that but the quality of fish was some of the best I've seen on the West Coast.

                    We got the Maruya Omakase and were very pleased with almost everything. really liked the trio of small dishes we started with, so much that I broke my no picture rule and the spouse took a picture. It was housemade tofu with uni on top, toro prepared tartare with gold leaf and tobiko on top and pickled veggies with miso dipping sauce.

                    The we had a cold noodle dish in a tomato consommé .

                    The next dish, the grilled fish was the only real miss. It was overcooked fluke.

                    The assortment of sashimi and nigiri that followed was very high quality fish and prepared with a light hand. I liked that there was no bottle of soy sauce & fake wasabi for people to drown their nigiri in.

                    We also ordered ankimo which was as good as any I've had in Japan.

                    They give everyone a yuzu lemonade shot to finish the meal.

                    While they did present a list of just nigiri and sashimi as well as the main menu that has the two omakase and the two Moriwase choices, they never said anything about being able to just order al a carte.

                    The service was pleasant but restrained, wish we had been at the counter. When we were there it was completely full at 8pm. They do close on the early side.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: tjinsf

                      When they gave me overcooked sanma as one of the courses, I told them that I thought it was overcooked (tough actually) so they took it away and replaced it with black cod (gindara) which was much better. i'm sure they do not encourage a la carte but it is certainly an option (I've done it several times). If you liked the trio at Maruya, you might like to try the dish which Melanie showed a picture of in a recent thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/973115 (seared toro and tuna dice over uni panna cotta w/ truffle jus and edamame)

                      1. re: barleywino

                        yeah I could have sent it back for sure. Black cod would have been better.

                      2. re: tjinsf

                        I would say Maruya isn't quite at the level of Sushi Ran in terms of fish quality and selection, but the sushi chef preparation elevates it. Very good attention to detail with things like temperature of the rice and understanding unique qualities of each fish.

                        I still have never had a good chutoro in the US to match the best I have had in Tokyo. I think there are lots of premium cuts which just won't make it to the US.

                        1. re: tjinsf

                          How was the ankimo prepared? Was it formed into a cold terrine or was it served warm? I haven't had good ankimo in SF in more than 5 years, and would be delighted to find some.

                          1. re: felice

                            cold and served in large slices without any ginger or scallions. I don't why ankimo I've had here is different from what I've had in Japan but it is.

                            1. re: felice

                              Sushi Tomi in mtn view has great ankimo iirc and their aji tataki is even better if it's still available