Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kabuto of San Francisco

Kabuto, a popular choice with legions of fans and high ratings among yelpers, seduced me in no time at all. The service was a bit stiff, and a few selections were “not available today,” but it was the only place I had ever seen dungeness crab served nigiri-style, and certainly the only place in the U.S. that I have seen offer Akamutsu fish. Another rare but welcome touch: nigiri is priced and served as a single piece, unlike the typical pairings of most sushi joints. The dungeness crab nigiri, at $2 each, is luscious; but looking back, I wish I had asked for some Japanese mayonnaise in which to dip it. Another sassy touch: cranberries are used with parsley as garnish on every single serving plate.

What impressed me the most was the taste of the yama-imo and ume (sliced mountain potato and plum paste), served as a hand roll or cut roll. Plum paste, normally sour and purplish in hue, was salty-sour and brown in this case—and had gritty bits in it. The chef revealed that shaved bonito is mixed in with the plum paste for extra flavor—hence the crunch and brownness. The Tasmanian Salmon, they confirmed, is indeed from Tasmania, and if only for the exoticism I had to order the single-piece just to try it. The fish from down-under tasted fresh but not unlike most other fresh salmon, or maybe it was just me….

5121 Geary Blvd., San Francisco

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