Review: Kusakabe.

Since trying Kusakabe, a one Michelin star Japanese restaurant in San Francisco, over the summer, I keep dreaming about the amazing impeccable quality fish served there.

Chef Mitsunori Kusakabe, born in Kyoto, Japan, is a sushi master who has worked in Japan, New York City, and Miami. He was even the grand champion in 2008 at Eat-Japan World Sushi Awards in London also known as the “Oscars” for the sushi world, pretty badass right? At Kusakabe, they offer only one prix fixe omakase menu ($95/person) where the chef decides what sushi to serve depending on seasonality and the best ingredients available. After finishing the omakase menu, an à la carte menu is presented if you want to try other sushi items.

Konbu Cha (Kelp Tea).

Konbu Cha (Kelp Tea).

Sushi Prelude: Zuke Chutoro/Lightly Seared Medium Fatty Tuna Nigiri (9/10) and Two Seasonal Sushi of the Day (8.5/10).

Sushi Prelude: Zuke Chutoro/Lightly Seared Medium Fatty Tuna Nigiri (9/10) and Two Kinds of Seasonal Sushi of the Day (8.5-9/10).

Maguro/Tuna Sashimi (9/10) and Hotate/Scallop Sashimi (9/10).

Maguro/Tuna Sashimi (9/10) and Hotate/Scallop Sashimi (9/10).

Duck Dumplings in Miso Soup with Mitsuba (8/10).

Duck Dumplings in Miso Soup with Mitsuba (8/10).

Summer Truffle Miso Soup (8/10).

Summer Truffle Miso Soup (8/10).

BBQ Unagi Eel with Monaka Rice Cracker with Yuzu and Sansho Pepper (9/10).

BBQ Unagi Eel with Monaka Rice Cracker with Yuzu and Sansho Pepper (9/10).

Fresh Tomatoes, Tomato Sorbet, and Tomato Chip (7/10).

Fresh Tomatoes, Tomato Sorbet, and Tomato Chip (7.5/10).

Sushi Chic: Aji/Horse Mackerel Nigiri (8.5/10) and Seasonal Sushi of the Day (8/10).

Sushi Chic: Aji/Horse Mackerel Nigiri (8.5-9/10) and Seasonal Sushi of the Day (8.5/10)

Copper River Wild Alaskan Salmon Nigiri (8.5/10) and Toro/Bluefin Fatty Tuna Nigiri (9.5/10).

Copper River Wild Alaskan Salmon Nigiri (9/10) and Toro/Bluefin Fatty Tuna Nigiri (9.5/10).

Grade A5 Wagyu Nigiri (9.5/10).

Grade A5 Wagyu Nigiri (9.5/10).

À la Carte Sushi: Ayu/Sweetfish Nigiri with Seaweed Gel and Mitsuba (8/10), and

À la Carte Sushi: Ayu/Sweetfish Nigiri with Seaweed Gel and Mitsuba (8.5/10), Kisu/Whiting Nigiri (8/10), and Yagara/Red Cornet Nigiri (8/10).

Green Tea Crème Brûlée (8.5/10).

Green Tea Crème Brûlée (8.5/10).

First of all, Kusakabe serves the highest quality sushi grade fish; most of the fish served here is actually flown in from Japan’s fish market! The quality and freshness of the fish is incomparable to any other sushi restaurant that I’ve tried in San Francisco. Every nigiri was expertly prepared with a different type of fish, some with garnishes or with a certain sauce glazed on top, and was packed with flavor beyond belief. Even though nigiri sushi might seem “simple”, the nigiri had a depth of complex flavors. Truly outstanding. Besides the nigiri sushi, both the maguro (tuna) and hotate (scallop) sashimi were excellent with the dipping sauces. Also the bbq eel was scrumptious with a sweet glaze with tender meat on top of a crisp rice cracker. Even the green tea crème brûlée was perfectly made with sweet yet sightly bitter green tea creamy custard topped with caramelized sugar.

My overall rating for Kusakabe is a 9/10 for showcasing beautiful Japanese food. For any true sushi lover who wants to experience what premium fish tastes like I would highly recommend coming to Kusakabe.

12 thoughts on “Review: Kusakabe.

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