This was probably the third time I have eaten at the sushi bar at Hotel Nikko and that is because every time I am up in SF I think: I know we have better sashimi in LA. I welcome anyone to challenge me with an invitation to Urasawa but otherwise feel I can say with assurance that Anzu is as good as it gets.
By that I mainly mean that Chef Takahashi is as good as LA chefs, whom I tend to think are at the top of the pack at least here in the US. He would not give me amaebi saying that it was frozen and was almost invariably frozen. I know this not to be the case at places I frequent in LA but appreciated and respected his clarification and stand. (A decent conversation ensued about sushi, fish, consumers etc in LA vs SF).
I had some of the fabulous ankimo pate that Fatemah noted a month ago and think this is a dish on which a national reputation could rest. However, and I said this to the chef, it urgently requires a few grains of good salt and a slice of that gelatinous slightly fruity green substance the name of which I do not know. He pretended not to understand these suggestions. I hate the ubiquity of the pineapple-fig-rhubarb-boysenberry compote with any fois gras as if it takes a spoonful of sugar to make it palatable, but here I did see where sweet-tart could advance the liver (and salt). Maybe a sliver of candied yuzu on a smear of kumquat syrup with a line of ten grains of maldon or black hawaiian salt? I love edo style but this was a work that needs and merits treatment a la francaise par californie. Or something.
Anyway he was grand incl great uni and chu-toro hand roll. If I can ever figure out how to set myself up in SF I will become a regular.
Btw bartender David is also a gem.
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