If you pay careful attention, you’ll notice Chef Akira Yoshizumi and his staff are carefully timing the courses. Each time you’re finished, within minutes you’re presented with the next along with a detailed explanation. That is how you should be treated during omakase. Include amazing food and an intimate atmosphere and you got yourself Sushi Yoshizumi, a modest and unassuming establishment in the heart of downtown San Mateo. Sure, you may walk by it. Except with all the rave reviews and that prestigious Michelin star, you’ll be seeking this place out. I sure did.

Once we got inside, you’re up close and personal with the chef and owner. The seating around the sushi bar was everything one would expect from a place that specializes in the traditional ways of sushi. Minimal. There’s no fancy flowers, refrigerated cases of fish, or even soy sauce between you and the chef. It’s his journey he’s prepared for you. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy.

The Yohei Omakase was priced at $145 USD. It included six types of otumami (small snack size dishes), twelve types of nigiri, owan (soup), and dessert. We also added a mini sake pairing at $50 USD. The whole meal was a little under 2 hours to complete. Most of the time was probably due to my awe of each dish and making it a photo op. So I’m pretty sure you’d finish in less time. Not to say you should eat and go. This place is a place for you to get to know the food and the person behind creating it. Chef Yoshizumi is a very friendly guy and makes time for you. He was more than happy to answer questions. And throughout the meal, he was calm and collected creating each dish. Never rushing to complete things. We basically had front row seats to watch a master at work. All of that, made this dinner spectacular.

I sure am looking forward to coming back here again.

Sushi Yoshizumi

325 E 4th Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
+1 (650) 437-2282

Verdict: A must try for sushi enthusiasts who doesn’t mind that price tag.

Seating Around Chef Yoshizumi

There's seating for about nine at this sushi bar. If you're looking for any group tables, then you may want to look elsewhere. This is the only seating in the house. And this is exactly how you want to have dinner, up close and personal with Chef Akira Yoshizumi.

Steamed Oysters

Shortly after deciding on the omakase, this wonderful delight greets us. Steamed oysters topped with what I believe is minced daikon with a touch of yuzu and garnished with flower pedals. So beautiful and a fresh start to our meal.

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Katsuo (Bonito)

Next up were a couple rich tasting cuts of bonito. Not exactly sure what the consisted of but it was good. It had a hint of smokiness underneath that rich taste. Along with the tenderness of this fish, it was a perfect meld of texture and flavor.

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Tucked underneath the mushroom glaze and within egg custard were cuts of red snapper and octopus. A good bowl to warm your stomach. I only wished there was more. =)

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Black Cod

The black cod was nice and flaky. It had a light miso glaze with that now familiar minced daikon with yuzu flavors. The dab of natural wasabi gave it a slight kick, but unlike the process variety, this was very mild and smooth.

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Tako and Ankimo (Octopus and Monkfish Liver)

So the monkfish liver was as you'd expect, rich and creamy. The octopus however, was totally a surprise. The texture was unexpected. It broke down like a soft mash while keeping those familiar flavors. I'm very curious on how this was done.

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Mini Sake Pairing

The mini pairing included seven types of sake. Each one brought out right before our next course. It was more than enough alcohol for the meal and you get a very good range of sakes. I can't imagine what the full pairing involves. I don't think I'd be able to walk home. I was already buzzed off the mini.


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Gari (Pickled Ginger)

Disclaimer, I usually don't eat the sliced pickled ginger you get at most sushi establishments. However, this stuff blew me away. Cut into these tiny squares, the crunch along with that taste has made me a fan once again.

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Skewered Baby Octopus

These baby octopus has the same delicate texture as the one earlier. Served cold, they paved the way for the nigiri. Bring it!

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Suzuki (Japanese Sea Bass)

Right out of the starting gate, Chef Yoshizumi gave us a winner. Oh this was perfect and one of my favorites of the night.

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Aji (Mackerel)

Next up was this precisely cut mackerel. There was a nice aroma of smoke to it though I didn't see anywhere it could have been charred. This chef was a magician.

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Kanpachi (Amberjack)

At this point we were simply spoiled by the quality of fish we were eating. The amberjack was treated with a light coating nikiri. A great way to compliment the flavor of amberjack.

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Maguro (Bluefin Tuna)

Look at the wonderful hue of this tuna. How can you not fall in love with the quality here?

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Chu-Toro (Medium Fatty Tuna)

Another favorite of the night was this beautifully cut medium fat tuna belly. Look at the gradient from pink to red. It was so good we had another one of these at the end.

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Sawara (King Mackerel)

Yeah, I don't get to try this one too often. So happy to see it included in our meal tonight.

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Sake (King Salmon)

Continuing on the theme, we now are honored to try royalty from the salmon family. Look at that color. And only if you could taste the delight you'd agree this was past of the favorites tonight.

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Hotate (Scallop)

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Mini Uni Ikura Don

The flavors of the Hokkaido uni along with the salmon roe just go so well over sushi rice. I had to take my time with the uni because I loved the clean finish after each spoonful. Pinch me, I think I'm dreaming.

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Kinmedai (Golden Eye Red Snapper)

Always a crowd pleaser in my book, the golden eye red snapper. And of course, with a little time under the torch, that smoke takes this cut to a whole different level. This time though, I can spot the charring.

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Negitoro Maki

Almost like a break from the nigiri, the chef put together a toro mix in a roll for us. Note the ration here. This is how I like any sort of maki, with as little rice as possible. :)

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Anago (Salt Water Eel)

Finally, our nigiri journey ends with salt water eel.

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Miso Soup

That doesn't mean our dinner was over. The miso soup came out in these fancy containers. I imagine to keep it warm, but we finished these pretty quick while we talked about our favorites of the night.

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Matcha Custard

And finally, there was dessert. A small serving of green tea custard topped with sweet red beans and strawberry.

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The OxPosted April 14, 2017 By the hungry ox

Comments (2)
  • Apr 20 2017, 8:10 AM Reply

    I can’t wait to try this place. And anytime you don’t want your ginger, I’ll take it! LOL I always ask for seconds — even thirds — on the ginger at Japanese restaurants. I am an avowed ginger addict.

    • Apr 20 2017, 9:16 AM Reply

      Haha you sure can, just not here. 🙂 Looking forward to see what you think of Yoshizumi.

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