Monday, July 21, 2014

Best Sushi Since Breakfast at Tsukiji

The Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is (or should be) on the bucket list of every foodie worth their o toro.  On my first pilgrimage there, armed with the breakfast recommendation of my former colleague Naoto, I ate the best sushi of my life. The pristine freshness, clarity, and simplicity of each piece of nigiri were a revelation for me, just as they have been for so many others.

Toro nigiri at Daiwa in Tsukiji Fish Market

I haven't tried to replicate the experience in the Bay Area, partly because I didn't want to ruin my blissful nostalgia for that major life adventure, but also because of my pessimism that anything here could measure up to that memory. And then I sprang for the tasting menu at Pabu.

Pabu is the brand new restaurant venture between restaurant titan Michael Mina and sushi chef Ken Tominaga (of Hana Sushi in Rohnert Park), located in the financial district of San Francisco at 101 California.  The menu covers izakaya-style food as well as shabu shabu, but the sushi captured my attention. 

Glitteringly fresh, and gracefully seasoned with a brushstroke of soy, citrus, wasabi or combination thereof (you DON'T dip this sushi yourself), the sixteen pieces of nigiri were the star of the night.  If only Pabu were open for breakfast.

No soy sauce dipping bowls here. Just pickled ginger to refresh your palate,
and (for us) a remarkable umami-driven Savagnin from the Jura.

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