454 California Ave.
Finally, a new face in the top tier of Peninsula sushi. Two new faces actually. If you haven't heard of Ichiro Takahashi and Noriomi Kaneko, both late of Nobu's mother ship in New York City, chances are you will soon. Their new venture (opened in December of 2007) has tremendous promise.
Although the 90 percent of the customers ordering spicy tuna and dragon rolls would never notice, both itamae have the superlative knife and presentation skills to immediately place them in the top tier among their much older peers. Fish quality is tops as well. There are some front-of-the-bar service issues that Sushi Monster hopes will get smoothed out as the service team comes together. At my first lunch, the servers and kitchen help were all absolutely green, and it showed.
As is true Nobu-style, the sushi tsu will find correct Edomae kata (form) on the nigiri, with some very Western twists. The kanpachi, garnished with a razor-thin slice of Jalapeno (a trick I believe Kaneko-san borrowed from the Naomi crew in Menlo Park) was simply the finest, most buttery and delectible example of the species I've ever sampled. The hotate, garnished with a tiny dab of yuzu and coarse salt, was another home run. Sweet engawa (one piece served no tataki and the other raw) and hamachi sunazuri (the richer belly cut) were also standouts in a lineup that had no weak spots.
Tane selection is good – but not on the level of Sakae in Burlingame or Sam's in San Mateo. There are a half-dozen other top-tier Peninsula competitors offering a deeper list on a regular basis.
The only notable downside to Jin Sho: Value. Seems like it was just yesterday that Sam's and Yuzu blew through the $8.50-per-nigiri-pair mark. Lunch at Jin Sho ran me a cool $85.45 (including my customary 20 percent tip), and penciled out to a rather staggering $9.50 per nigiri plate). Perhaps these Easterners need to consult a map and figure out they're not in West L.A.
For the upcoming v. 4.0 of the Big List -- www.emeraldlake.com/sushilist.html -- I'm slotting them at No. 8 -- just below Tomi in Mountain View and just above Higuma in Redwood City. There's certainly room for them to move up, if they get their service team trained properly and add more special tane.