Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tataki of San Francisco

If you can judge a city by its restaurants, then San Francisco should definitely rank high amongst sushi aficionados. In the City by the Bay, sushi is fresh, innovative, and daringly different. This is, after all, the area in which I had first seen the pairing of cream cheese with eel, and the liberal and frequent use of fruit and macadamian nuts in rolls. Years later, it seemed, L.A. slowly began to catch up.

My first stop of many: Tataki on California Street, a tiny sushi restaurant reminiscent of a cozy coffee bar.

Faux-nagi, as it says on the menu, is obviously short for faux-unagi, otherwise known as seared black cod which looks like unagi. And just when I thought it couldn’t get more interesting, I saw the strange term iwana on the menu. Thanks to the translation written below the phonetically spelled Japanese word, I learned that it was “arctic char from Iceland.”

Oh, how it never fails to thrill me, these findings of rare fish you’d hardly come across in L.A. I have actually eaten arctic char roe (as well as whale sashimi) in Iceland, both of which were amazing, but rare is the occasion that I see arctic char on a menu—in a sushi bar, no less.

The seared black cod was a delight—buttery and smoky at the same time, as it remained soft even though it was seared. The arctic char sushi was certainly fresh and reminiscent of regular salmon in both texture and flavor, but my steadfast preference for the eggs over the fish remains.

The arctic char was also available in a cut roll with avocado, which I ordered along with a shiitake mushroom roll.

2815 California Street, San Francisco

No comments :