Restaurant Review: Sushi & Sake

Sushi & Sake Brings Their Magic Touch To Nob Hill

Dan Pennington
4 min read
Nob Hill Revival Is A Go
A feast that can succinctly wrap up your year (Eric Williams Photography)
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It’s the end of the year, which means we have to find a way to wrap up 2019 in a nice and simple way. But, as with most things, there is no nice and simple way to wrap anything up. Or so I thought before I began writing this. The thing is, we have no way to succinctly amalgamate complex ideas and experiences into a solid singular thought that is easy to digest yet conveys the depth of the moment where it originated. In a way, food fits this template. While ingredients on their own are all very simple, what they amount to is so indescribably different than the sum of their parts that you can’t ever portray it in full. My job, as wonderful as it is, requires my doing my best in spite of the challenges, to rise above and excel. When I visited the new location of Sushi & Sake in Nob Hill, I was presented with that never-ending challenge.

Open in Nob Hill since September, Sushi & Sake has a long respected history in the city as a brand that the new location needed to live up to. With the revival of Nob Hill beginning as ART becomes fully operational, now is the best time for them to spread their wings and take off as the go-to Korean BBQ and Sushi joint in the area. The real trick is: Does the consistency and quality carry over?

I’m very pleased to report that it does. Let’s start with the two obvious orders, the sushi and the sake. For sake, we went with a hot Gekkeikan sake ($7.50), which is earnestly a solid starter sake. With no overly dominant flavors, this rice wine fills your head from chin to brow with that smooth, almost buttery warmth and joy that can only be found in a good glass of hot sake. For the sushi, we rolled with the Fire Cracker ($12.99), which featured asparagus, jalapeño and spicy crab meat all wrapped up with the addition of tuna, a house dressing and
kaiwari. It’s literally a work of art, with the vibrant colors holding court with your eyes and the spicy flavors dominating your taste buds. The asparagus helps wrangle in those immense spicy sections, giving you a chance to enjoy the bounty of quality seafood. A true testament to their sushi though was the fact that in the hour we were there, four massive boats (yes, a whole table-sized boat) of sushi were sold and delivered to tables. I felt sushi envy.

Additionally, there were the Korean BBQ offerings I had to get my hands on. I went with the Chadolbagi ($21.95 for a pound), which was a thinly sliced beef brisket that was generously seasoned and came surrounded by a ton of garlic chunks. The aroma alone would be enough to sell me on the love of this dish, but then you get waves of flavor in every bite, leading to a voracious consumption of meat in an aggressive fashion. For good measure, I also snagged the Donkatsu Don ($14.99) which had panko-breaded and fried pork, rice, a wide spectrum of veggies and eggs. The sauce drizzle they added to the fried pork was something of legend. It had a touch of sweetness that truly opened up some of the more ignored facets of pork flavor, letting it blossom in your mouth. The crunchy panko crust helped hold onto that flavor and gave it the oomph it needed to be spectacular. Add in all that egged-up rice and veggies, and you’ve got a bowl of food that will leave you so full, you won’t be worrying about your next meal for a while.

Finally, I had dessert. I noticed they had mochi, and immediately knew there was no other choice. For $4.50, you get two sizeable mochi, sliced into quarters and dressed with whipped cream. Between the strawberry and the mango that we ordered, it was hard to pick a favorite because both were so exuberantly delicious. Just the right amount of chewy texture to let your mouth find intrigue in between the double-sweet punch combo of fruity goodness and whipped cream.

When looking at the offerings at Sushi & Sake, complexity makes sense. There are always multiple pieces that go into any meal, allowing different ingredients to either highlight other aspects or to step up for the shortcomings of something else. Sushi & Sake manages to have a consistent level of genuinely amazing dishes that balance both of those aspects, leaving you with something absolutely worth your time and energy.
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