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Restaurants & Bars 4

tokyo go go -- my birthday surprise

david kaplan | May 5, 200412:45 AM

After a lousy day at work I wanted sushi for my birthday dinner but was too impatient to go far from home. So we went around the corner to Tokyo Go Go (16th btn Valencia & Guerrero), which I hadn't been to since my days as an occasional San Francisco visitor rather than a resident. Though Tokyo Go Go is a few steps from home, I had always assumed that it was too trendy to be good, and I assumed that any place with a fusion menu (Japanese, Chinese, and California small-plate standards) couldn't possibly serve good sushi.

Was I wrong.

The sushi was great. The hamachi and saba were rich and firm-textured. The soft-shell crab roll arrived too hot to eat immediately, and pleasantly light on the tempura. Inari had a generous amount of sweet, floppy tofu skin, and the scallop was as good as I've had anywhere. They even had a couple of unusual but traditional nigiri -- aji (Spanish mackerel) and anago (sea eel, as opposed to unagi, the more common freshwater eel). My only gripe was that the sushi rice was under-seasoned and therefore bland relative to my expectations, though it was otherwise properly cooked.

On top of that, it wasn't expensive. Most two-piece orders ran $3-$5, so we ate for much less than usual. A large Nigori (unfiltered) sake was $9.

The two of us sat down -- no waiting -- at 7:30 tonight (Tuesday) at the sushi bar, and service was fast and friendly.

Of course the experience isn't Minako, where the love that goes into the food is palpable. No one is hugging the owner at the door of Tokyo Go Go. Nor are they encouraging you to linger. But for speedy sushi after a long, cranky day, it was perfect.

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