We decided to stay close to home for our anniversary dinner, so we cancelled our reservations at Aqua and made our way down to the delightful Yuzu Sushi and Grill. I had read great things on Chowhound about Yuzu and knew that they were the sister restaurant to arguably the best sushi in the Bay Area, Sakae Sushi. I had read that to sit at the sushi bar, you really should make reservations, but when we got there, it was mostly empty. Shocking really, I guess the word just has not gotten around yet how much this place rocks.
I say this cautiously because, well, I always have something to complain about, but, not one misstep. Everything was perfect. We ordered a tempura appetizer, because tempura is a good test of a kitchen I think, do they make it crispy and light or oily and soggy? Of course, it was perfect, light and crispy, even the broccoli was good and didn't have the batter in the nooks and crannies all soggy and uncooked. We then had a chef's choice sashimi platter, which included Maguro, Aji, Hamachi, Conch, Albacore Tataki, Hirame, and Sake. It was beautifully presented and each piece was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I enjoyed the Aji so much that we had some more sushi, with HUGE pieces of fish on top. This place has cured me of my pickiness over sushi. I put myself in the hands of Chef Yoichi Arima and trusted everything he served me. I even tried Uni. Yes I did. And despite my squeamishness, I liked it, and was not expecting it to be so delicate and creamy. Chef Yoichi explained that it was special uni, from Japan and that normally they get it from Santa Barbara but that the recent runoff from the rough weather there has meant they need to import the Uni from Japan, so it was very special. Hey, you tell me something is special, love it or hate it, I'm going to try it. We also had the HUGEST pieces of Blue Fin Tuna Toro, and oh my, next time I'm getting the sashimi (even for $29). It was that good.
Throughout the evening, Chef Yoichi gave us some special treats, one included Sea Bass roe in a light sauce with some green onions and chopped fish on top (I didn't catch the type of fish but it was silver!). Again, my squeemish brain said, uh oh, but I ventured forth and it was good, nutty and salty. The roe was in a ball and was firmly held together, so there was no squishiness like I expected. Next time, I hope to try more new things and have more of that Blue Fin. Wow.
To drink, we started with the sake flight, and then chose a bottle of Ginban that they had unfortunately run out of. Chef Yoichi explained that there was a sake that he was sure we would really like, and so we ordered that and enjoyed the whole half bottle of that, which we shared with Chef Yoichi, so, he of course, in turn, shared some other sake with us. And then...
Magic tricks! Really bad magic tricks with folding and bunching up paper, but really fun magic tricks. I mean how can you resist the best sushi, yummy sake and wonderful company AND magic tricks by the chef!? Check it out.
Yuzu Sushi and Grill
54 W. 37th Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94403
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