Review: Hinata.

Go omakase or go home.

Within the last two years, I’ve tried a handful of high end sushi restaurants offered here in San Francisco. Overall, all of these restaurants have been amazing and truly showcase the integrity and unparalleled quality of seafood, typically all flown in from Japan. Hinata, which has only been opened for three weeks, is no different. They offer a $78 omakase, which is a bargain compared to Omakase or Hashiri,  with the option of adding supplements.

Kanisu: Snow Crab Leg with Seaweed and Cucumber (8.5/10).

A great appetizer with simple clean flavors.

Sashimi: Ankimo/Monkfish Liver with Ponzu Jelly (7/10), Soy Sauce Braised Tako/Octopus (7.5/10), and Suzuki/Sea Bass (7.5/10).

This course was probably my least favorite of the entire meal. The ankimo wasn’t as creamy as I would have liked and I didn’t get that rich intense foie gras of the sea flavor. The tako (octopus) and sukuzi (sea bass) were both okay but nothing mind blowing.

Kanpachi/Amberjack Nigiri with Finger Lime (8/10).

Akami/Blue Fin Tuna Nigiri (8/10).

Hotate/Scallop Nigiri with Lemon and Sea Salt (9/10).

Tsuri Aji/Horse Mackerel Nigiri with Ginger and Chives (8/10).

Sawara/Spanish Mackerel Nigiri Smoked with Cherry Wood (9/10).

Zuke Chu Toro/Marinated Medium Fatty Tuna (9/10).

Out of the first six nigiri my favorites were hotate (scallop), sawara (Spanish mackerel), and zuke chu toro (medium fatty tuna). The hotate was luscious and meaty while still being tender. The sawara was smoked with cherry wood and then slightly torched giving a unique flavor that balanced the fishniess that mackerel typically has. Lastly, the zuke chu toro was marinated and slightly torched as well where the fish just melted in your mouth.

Mozuku: Seaweed with Sweet Vinegar and Strawberries (8/10).

This was a palate cleanser before the remaining nigiri sushi. The seaweed was mixed with a sweet tart vinegar that complimented the vibrant fresh strawberries.

Hirame/Flounder Nigiri Cured in Kombu (8/10).

Umi Masu/Ocean Trout Nigiri with Lime (8.5/10).

Kamasu/Seared Barracuda Nigiri (8/10).

Kasugodai/Baby Red Snapper (8/10).

Kinmedai/Golden Eye Snapper Nigiri (9/10).

Out of these nigiri, I enjoyed every single morsel in their own way. Each was prepared with the appropriate garnishes that only enhanced the fish without overpowering it. My favorite was probably kinmedai (golden eye snapper) because of its fatty nature and unctuous mouthfeel.

Shoyu Ikura: House Cured Salmon Roe (8/10).

I would have liked the ikura to been marinated longer perhaps but the flavor was still great.

The next four nigiri were supplements that I added to my omakase. Of course by doing so, this jacks up your bill but it was totally worth it.

Supplement: Anago/Saltwater Eel Nigiri (8.5/10).

Most people have only tried unagi (freshwater eel) but anago (saltwater eel) is freakin’ delicious as well. Anago typically was a softer texture with a muted natural sweetness.

Supplement: Toro/Fatty Tuna Nigiri with Torched Uni (9.5/10).

This was hands down one of the best bites of the night. Melt in your mouth toro (fatty tuna) that has been marinated and topped with brûléed creamy sweet sea urchin. It was heavenly.

Supplement: Kaisui Uni/Deep Sea Ocean Sea Urchin with Caviar and Gold Flakes (9/10).

Kaisui uni is a really special product from Hokkaido, Japan. Normally, sea urchin comes in wooden boxes but Kaisui uni is packaged in sea water, giving it a much softer supple texture and delicate flavor.

Supplement: A5 Miyazaki Wagyu Nigiri with Black Truffle (8.5/10).

I mean can you really go wrong with wagyu beef and aromatic shaved black truffle? Don’t think so.

Owan: Fish Soup with Nameko Mushrooms (8/10).

As always, most omakases end with a soup. This was the perfect way to end a beautiful tasting of wonderful seafood.

Black Sesame Ice Cream (8/10), Matcha Panna Cotta (8/10), and Yuzu Sherbet (7.5/10).

All the desserts were light yet satisfying with the right amount of sweetness.

For being open less than a month, Hinata was fantastic. Sitting at the sushi bar and talking with the chef makes you appreciate the time and effort that’s put into creating such exquisite bites of seafood. However, I still think jū-ni is one of the best high end sushi restaurants in the city. With that being said, my overall rating for Hinata is an 8-8.5/10.

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