Ijji, an intimate Japanese restaurant in the Lower Haight, oozes a zen like atmosphere with its wooden minimalistic interior and clean lines.
This tiny 17 seat restaurant has only been open for roughly three months and serves high end traditional sushi using 90% of fish flown in from Japan. The sushi counter is completely open allowing the diner to watch the chefs create each bite with precision and care. Ijji offers an omakase that includes appetizers and various nigiri sushi or an à la carte menu. Typically I opt for an omakase but this time I decided to order off the à la carte menu since they had a great selection of different fish.
We started off with appetizers before ordering various nigiri sushi. The kani sunomono was a light refreshing dish as an opener with soft sweet snow crab, marinated cucumber, and wakame dressed in tosazu sauce. The nasu ageni was braised pieces of earthy eggplant served with their house sauce. The last appetizer, the asari akadashi, was a comforting red miso soup with wakame and manila clams.
As for the nigiri sushi, everything was delicious and prepared beautifully to maintain the integrity of the fish. Some of my favorites were the sakura masu/cherry trout (unique sweetness), kamasu/Japanese barracuda (unctuous and fatty), tai/sea bream (cured with kelp), hotate/scallop (supple), ikura/salmon roe (marinated in shoyu), uni/sea urchin (sweet and creamy), and satsuma beef (buttery). What I liked the most was the selection of different types of fish available so you can really try a great variety of amazing quality fish. That day they offered: tuna (lean, medium fatty, and fatty), katsuo (wild bonito), iwana (arctic char), sakura masu (cherry trout), kanpachi (amberjack), tsuri aji (wild horse mackerel), kohada (gizzard shad), sayori (needle fish), tachiuo (belt fish), suzuki (sea bass), kisu (whiting), kamasu (barracuda), kibinago (silver stripe herring), tai (sea bream), kasugodai (young snapper), isaki (three line grunt), ayu (sweet fish), nama tako (octopus), hotate (scallop), zuwai kani (snow crab), uni (sea urchin), ikura (salmon roe), hamo (wild pike conger), anago (saltwater eel), satsuma beef, and tamago (egg).
While I think my previous sushi experience at jū-ni was superior, Ijji is still a great place for high end sushi. Overall my rating is an 8/10.