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.
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.
Sushi in kaiseki style is the theme of the omakase at Kusakabe. And that drew us here. Along with the fact that it was finally a bit easier getting a reservation. That is of course, if you don’t mind four weeks advanced booking for a table at opening time. We certainly didn’t.
Inside there was seated and given a tasting of dashi as the waitress explained the meal. There were two types of omakase. The normal included 19 items with a price of $95USD a person while the Grand included 25 items with a hefty price tag of $150USD a person. It was a Friday night so why not? We went for broke and got the Grand Omakase. Also we didn’t want to sit there after the meal wondering what six items we had missed. That’s the real eater’s remorse. After we ordered the server explained that we should eat the nigiri with our hands and clean our fingers with the oshibori cloth she provided. I always heard that sushi was meant to be eaten with your hands but never tried it. Now I could say I have and now understand why. You can read about that below in the pictures.
Throughout the meal I realized many of the dishes we had we weren’t going to find around the city. There’s not many serving kaiseki for one, then with sushi, that brings the number to about two in my head. What we were having was a meal to remember. And as I’m writing this I’m already thinking about when I’ll be able to try it again. Way to bring this level of food to the city Kusakabe!
584 Washington St
San Francisco, CA 94111
+1 (415) 757-0155
Verdict: Yes, it’s worth the wait, the hype, and the price.
It was time for dinner and what else to have but steak. New York has some of the best steakhouses in the country. And if you were to ask anyone for a recommendation, you’ll be overwhelmed with the variety. Thankfully, my friend already had one picked out and I tagged along for dinner. The place was Peter Luger, a Michelin star restaurant famous for it large porthouse aged steaks.
When you get inside it’s pretty busy. With the bar right at the entrance, most people are having a drink while waiting for a table. Make a reservation to avoid the wait. We waited for only ten minutes while things were being set up. The table itself was big enough for the four of us. After a brief look over the menu, we knew what we wanted and ordered. Our appetizers came out minutes after went through a few of their assorted breads. Don’t worry, we know not to fill ourselves up before getting to the enormous steak. That was the main objective. But there were some nice bites along the way and you can see those in the food pictures. Throughout the meal, the wait staff were attentive making sure we had our dessert and coffee. It was a complete meal that took an hour and a half to finish. That’s a good thing. We never felt like we were rushed, even with the crowds outside.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
+1 (718) 387-7400
Verdict: A great steakhouse that combines tradition and great cuts of meat for an amazing experience.
Another day of dim sum may seem like too much, but if know about the vast variety and all the famous restaurants, you won’t be bored. Even though this was another popular place, it’s on the higher on of the price range. Not the most expensive but it can make a dent in your wallet if you go overboard ordering. We chose to keep it light.
The place gets a lot of foot traffic outside but once you are in, you’re shielded from it. There are plenty of big tables. Large morning parties seem to be what they cater to more. You’ll notice the service immediately once inside. We didn’t have a reservation but they found us seating immediately. For a Sunday that was quite a surprise. We ordered of the menu and the food came out within minutes. No this too wasn’t a dim sum cart place. I actually found a local one near by but we can save that for another time. Food was good and the quality was what you’d expect from a high end dim sum place. I’ll definitely be back.
326-338 Hennessy Rd
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Verdict: Go here and get the crab dumpling. I don’t know any other place that has that.
We arrived early, real early, like 7am early. So what to do but to go find dim sum at the usually overcrowded place in town. One of which would be the Michelin Star rated restaurant Time Ho Wan. I’ve eaten at the one in Mongkok but since we were on Hong Kong, we went to the one located in the Hong Kong MTR station. Yeah, it’s kinda like eating in the mall. But you should never compare these places to the run of the mill food courts you see in the states. This place was pretty damn good and as the award states, the most inexpensive one on the list. And I will add, it’s cheaper than most of the high end dim sum places.
We arrived a few minutes after open, 9am, and were seated right away. We were seated back at a remaining long table. Later to be shared with another group. The place was pretty full and the service was quick. It’s one of those places you can eat and run. Not too many tourists at this time, just us.
Being an acclaimed restaurant, expect it to be busy most of the time. Most locals will tell you the place is just okay. If you had great dim sum, you’ll say the same. However, when you look at your bill afterwards, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t order more. It was a weird time for us to eat so we didn’t get too much. I’ll use that same excuse for the crappy photos I took. Lighting was just so bad. Anyways, the food was good and we finished within half an hour. They had plenty of servers for us to flag down which is what you’ll be doing. So service was just meh. Typical of local restaurants here.
Tim Ho Wan
Hong Kong Station
Central, Hong Kong
+852 2332 3078
Verdict: On a budget and want to have solid dim sum, then come here and order the BBQ pork buns.