I went back to Ariake tonight for a long due sushi dinner and I was blown away.
If you haven't been here, it is on Geary between 14th and 15th Avenues, a block away from Park Presidio.
Jin, the owner, was a longtime chef at Ebisu and his restaurant Ariake is much better in my opinion; better fish, very short waits if any, reasonable prices and excellent service.
Keep in mind I've been to all the well regarded sushi restaurants in the Bay Area (Ozumo, Ebisu, Kabuto, Kirala...) and some in LA (Nobu, Matsuhisa) and New York (Sushi Yasuda) so I can spot good fish.
On to the important part. The dinner started with a variety of sashimi; halibut, red tuna, yellowtail and salmon. Each piece was as tender and fresh as could be. A nice mix of flavors complimented by a refreshing shiso leaf.
Next course was two medium sized oysters in a thin, slightly spicy soy based sauce with tobiko. These oysters were so fresh and flavorful without being overly salty. The sauce complemented the oysters perfectly. Thin slices of lemon really heightened the flavors.
The main course was an assortment of 10 different nigiri pieces; yellowtail, yellow jack, amber jack, white tuna toro, red tuna toro, halibut, tuna, snapper, uni and white tuna. Each of these pieces had so much flavor and were so tender, with perfect proportions of fish and rice. I was blown away and kept telling our table how great the sushi was. The fish couldn't be any more fresh and silky. And liberal use of shiso was above and beyond the call of duty.
Dessert was mango mochi and orange slices--all very good. Cold sake was served also and was smooth and clean.
Ariake is worth the trip, even if you're used to hipper places. With the money you save you can head to the Marina (or Trader Sam's) and buy a few drinks.
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