This Sushi Will Leave You Speechless; Kinjo, San Francisco

the scoop

San Francisco, meet your newest favorite sushi restaurant, Kinjo.

Kinjo, meet the diners who are about to pay an extraordinary amount of money for the tastiest, and freshest fish in the Bay Area.

While the cost may be steep, I’m willing to bet you’ll think it’s worth the price. To really put it in perspective though, when your sushi is being flown fresh from Tokyo’s oldest fish company, Sakasyu, it’s cheaper to pay $120 per person for a dinner, than $1,000 per person for a flight to Tokyo. Don’t you agree?

Plus, Takatoshi Toshi, the world renowned Michelin-starred chef, is behind the edomae-style sushi (fresh fish over rice) menu served at this Russian Hill restaurant. Those of you in the Bay Area may know him from a local fave, Sushi Ran, but those of you that are not, Takatoshi Toshi won first place in the World Sushi Cup.

Basically, he’s kind of a big deal.

The atmosphere is intentionally livelier than most upscale sushi restaurants. There are over 40 seats, but only 8 of those are at the sushi bar! Your dining experience will likely change drastically depending on where in the restaurant you sit. That being said, my recommendation would be to book a seat at the sushi bar!

Let me explain..

Takatoshi Toshi served us himself! Right in front of us, he sliced the fish to perfection, added every drop of flavor, and even held a conversation with us while he cooked. He chatted with us about details like how the restaurant came to fruition nearly three years ago, and how Michael Brennan, the restaurant designer, decked the interior in cypress wood from floor to ceiling. Even the countertops and cutting boards are cyprus, so as not to dull his knives.

From the open kitchen we witnessed the difference in serving styles from the sushi bar to the regular tables. The sushi bar is served a single piece of sushi at a time, to allow the diner to enjoy every single ingredient as much as possible, while the tables are served two to three pieces of sushi at a time. And tables don’t have the luxury of holding a conversation with the sushi master himself!

Toshi started us off with Kusshi Kaki, a kusshi oyster from British Columbia topped with the finest caviar. The menu is divided into sections, following the oyster we were served seasonal fish like, winter yellowtail, firefly squid and Japanese barracuda. Soup is always on the menu, and that night it included Japanese red snapper that cooked just enough from the hot broth.

Next was cold smoked fish like, goldeneye snapper and monkfish liver pate, and the last few pieces of sushi were primarily tuna. Toshi took us from a cured bluefin tuna, that is cured for two hours in red wine, to a medium fatty bluefin tuna, and then fatty tuna with scallions.

The portions are rather small, but each piece of sushi was an absolute work of art. There was just enough lime, soy sauce or wasabi in each bite, the fish was flavorful and smooth, and the presentation was exquisite.

We found humor in the confusion from diners regarding which utensil to use with each piece of sushi. Sometimes it was chopsticks, and sometimes it was our fingers, but each time Toshi shot a smile over and assured us of the proper form.

We found ourselves quite full despite the small portions, but the menu did not lack sweet treats. Our meal ended with organic egg custard with spot prawn and gigantic local asian pears. True to Toshi style, it was small but bursting with flavor, the perfect finish to a delectable menu.

And to think, I haven’t even mentioned their Sake options. While I’m more of an expert on sushi than I am on Sake, I can honestly say, their dry smooth Sake was the best I’d ever had.

You’ll want to order a whole bottle, sit back, and enjoy the culinary show!

tidbit

If you can stomach it (the price I mean, not the food) purchase more sushi, off the à la carte menu, once your prix fixe meal is complete. Items like Satsuma Wagyu, A5 striploin beef over rice, and pure Caviar, 2gm sustainable white sturgeon roe, are out of this world!


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✈ 2206 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA