Sasaki Sushi - SF

Anybody been to this place? I have a reservation.

At Maruya, three years ago, co-owner / chef Masaki Sasaki served me the best sushi I’ve had in SF since Sebo closed, if not ever, so I’m looking forward to trying it.

Yes, it’s very likely the best in SF proper right now. Some resemblance to Maruya-era, and a lot of techniques/approaches/style that is unique to the restaurant and a mix of traditional and modern (modern yet Japanese in roots). I’m sure a good number of local F&B industry folks have been already, and Japanese expat food friends are loving it too.


Long story short, this place is great.

That’s the whole place, 12 seats. One seating Tuesday through Thursday, two on Friday and Saturday. The first people to arrive get seated at Sasaki-san’s station. Everybody gets the same dish at the same time.

Notice the beautiful fresh wasabi. I should have taken a closeup of the lovely house-pickled ginger. I told him I was going to try to make it at home, he said I wouldn’t be able to get the right kind of ginger, but I’m pretty sure they have it at Berkeley Bowl.

$180 seems steep but it’s plenty of food, mostly labor-intensive, and the staff-to-customer ratio is high.

I’m not sure what this amuse was. Dried fish with salt plum and cucumber? Two photos for scale.

I didn’t photograph the zuke maguro or the other nigiri except for a couple of the prettiest ones. Insanely good. The rice was slightly warm.

Octopus (nidako). Tender and creamy.

Sawara (Spanish mackerel), I think the most delicate mackerel I’ve ever had. Lovely.

Kinmedai (golden eye snapper). Crazy good. Very delicate pickles.

Tara shirako (cod milt) in a sauce that had a smoky note from katsuobushi.

One of the prettiest of the nigiri. I was having too good a time to keep notes. One of the most memorable was a black throat sea perch.

Partway through the nigiri they served a little palate cleanser of clam broth, then switched to rice made with a different kind of vinegar.

Another pretty one.

Tuna tartare from which Sasaki-san made the best hand roll I’ve ever had.

Looks like dessert but it’s actually ankimo (most delicate preparation I’ve ever had) and some sort of winter squash on daikon.

Akadashi, subtle but deep flavor.

Some kind of special lunar new year dessert. Reminded me of panforte but starchier, maybe had some kabocha in it? Not my thing.

Drinks menu is Champagne, sake, and one beer. I splurged on a bottle of Krug NV since the markup was only 50% over retail. Next time I’ll pay the $40 corkage, not only to save money but because I prefer other types of wine with sushi.

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Robert, glad you enjoyed this place. A few comments:

The fresh wasabi is possibly from Half Moon Bay Wasabi company, good stuff. The other chef is Taka-san (owner or former owner of Hamano sushi), really nice guy. On my visit I’ve noticed he dresses his nigiri omakase differently than Masa-san for some pieces.

The amuse is dried persimmon with yuzu. If you had something with cucumber underneath, it’s mentaiko or tarako (spicy cod roe) stuffed cucumber (unless my memory was incorrect, then perhaps it was JP bottarga/karasumi/cured mullet roe, but it felt like mentaiko to me)

Yes his white vinegar seasoned sushi rice has the best temperature, amount of salt.

The sawara was likely smoked first, great aroma.

The “another pretty one” is vinegar marinated sardine, it was one of the highlights during my visit.

The pickle next to the ankimo is narazuke (Nara style pickle, marinated with sake lees) and in this case it’s either squash or more typically, baby watermelon.

The dessert looks like a variation of yokan (one of several typical Japanese wagashi/desserts). He did a persimmon, matcha pudding and chestnut sweet potato paste for dessert on my visit.

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