Omakase at Sushi Yoshizumi

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.


Friday Night DASH

Once again, not in San Francisco, but in San Mateo do we discover good sushi at I would add, very affordable prices. A 30 minute drive south of the city is DASH Japanese Tapas and Sushi. Located right across from the movie theater, you’d probably overlook it if it weren’t for the lines. We had reservations so that worked out perfectly.

We were seated right away and took a couple run throughs of the menu and went with their omakase. Here, they have two choices for omakase, a $20USD 5 piece or a $40USD 10 piece. You can do either sashimi or nigiri. We chose nigiri along with a couple appetizers. It was advertise as a tapas place as well, so why not.

The appetizers came out quickly and all were good except for the shooter. I’d forgo getting that and stick to sushi. Then it was prepping for our sushi courses. That meant passing time with beers, several actually. Service could use some more tuning. But to be fair, they were training a new member. We had to flag down our servers for orders and reorders. Even though we could have gone through our sushi chef, he was busy preparing all the sushi for the restaurant. He does a fantastic job with the fish. All they need to do is train someone else to help scale the offering. I saw him prepare the ten piece nigiri set when we first came in. As the place got busy and it came to us, we got a serving of 5 and 5 (and eventually another 5). A good move by the chef to keep us from sitting without anything to eat.

I can tell this place has potential of going from good to great. Chef George was very personable and the selection of fish was perfect for those who want to expand their experiences in sushi.

DASH Japanese Tapas and Sushi

220 Main St
San Mateo, CA 94401
+1 (650) 340-1508

UPDATE: They have moved around the block to 204A 2nd Ave San Mateo, CA 94401 and updated their menu. Stay tuned for details.

Verdict: An unpretentious place for sushi at a surprisingly low cost. This may become my neighborhood favorite.


Yakitori Koko

We took a chance coming to Yakitori Kokko without reservations. It’s usually filled with people waiting outside. But today, we got out of work early. So we headed there right when they opened to see if they had any seats. Luckily they did. And I have to stress that lucky part. They already had a long list of people for 5pm. Fortunately, it was only the two of us and there was a small table in a narrow area in the back of the restaurant.

There was a catch though. We had the table for an hour. Kinda tough if you wanted to enjoy the izakaya experience. But still doable.

Even though we weren’t seated in the main area, service was quick and attentive. Several of the wait staff were always coming by and making sure our beers were topped and our appetites were satisfied. As soon as we realized it was one skewer per order, we started piling on seconds and thirds. It’s actually a great way to sample their selection and it’s wasn’t too heavy on the wallet being just over two dollars a skewer. We were pigging out and kept the kitchen busy. Probably why they let us stay an extra half an hour beyond our limit. Thanks team Kokko!

Yakitori Kokko
509 2nd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
+1 (650) 401-7008

Verdict: In the mood for yakitori, pay this place a visit. Just make sure to make reservations.

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