Review: Kinjo.

Former head chef of acclaimed Sushi Ran in Sausalito has joined forces with the team behind Ijji to create the newest hot spot for top notch sushi in Russian Hill.

Since I’ve dined at both Sushi Ran and Ijji, I was really excited to try Kinjo where they offer various omakase menus showcasing traditional edomae Japanese cuisine. Of course I wanted to sit at the sushi counter to see all the action where the omakase will set you back $150 per person. Since the price tag is definitely up there, my expectations were high.

View from the Sushi Counter.

Menu of the Day.

The menu changes daily depending on what’s available and seasonality.

Zuke Chu Toro/Red Wine Cured Medium Fatty Tuna Nigiri (8.5/10).

The first bite was a delicious red wine marinated medium fatty tuna nigiri. Melt in your mouth goodness.

Otoshi Amuse: House Made Tofu with Peas (9/10), Fried Squid with Shiso (8/10), and Lobster with Corn and Miso (8/10).

What a beautiful presentation of small appetizers. Without a doubt my favorite was the house made tofu with its silky smooth texture with umami jelly on top and fresh vibrant peas. Outstanding.

Sakizuke Appetizer: Kusshi Oyster with Caviar and Yuzu (8.5/10) and Hamo/Wild Pike Conger Eel with Cherry Blossom Leaf (8.5/10).

The briny kusshi oyster paired with salty caviar and bright yuzu was just divine. The pike conger eel was cooked perfectly and was wrapped in an aromatic cherry blossom leaf. So good.

The next four nigiri were seasonal fishes.

Kisu/Whiting Nigiri (8.5/10).

Aori Ika/Bigfin Reef Squid Nigiri (8/10).

Bincho Toro/Fatty Albacore Tuna Nigiri with Fingerlime (9/10).

Iwashi/Sardine Nigiri (8/10).

Kaisen: Seafood in Bonito Broth with Crunchy Rice (8/10).

A delightfully perfumed bonito broth with tender seafood (shrimp, squid, and fish) with seaweed and crunchy rice. Comforting to say the least.

Cold Smoking the Fish.

Cold Cherrywood Smoked Fish: Kinmedai/Golden Eye Snapper Nigiri (9/10), Ayu/Sweet Fish Nigiri (8/10), and Shima Aji/Striped Jack Nigiri (8/10).

Of course my favorite was the kinmedai, one of my favorite fishes with its beautiful pink skin and luscious meat.

Otoshi Amuse: Cauliflower with Radish and Red and Green Seaweed (7.5/10).

A nice refreshing midway course.

The next five dishes are umami and shellfish nigiri.

Akami/Bluefin Tuna Nigiri (8/10).

Toro/Fatty Bluefin Tuna Nigiri (9/10).

Ensui Uni/Seawater Packed Short Spine Hokkaido Sea Urchin Nigiri (9/10).

Ishikagegai/Sea Cockle Nigiri (8/10).

Hotate/Scallop Nigiri (9/10).

I loved the toro/fatty bluefin tuna, ensui uni/sea urchin, and the hotate/scallop. I had never tried ishikagegai/sea cockle but it slightly reminded me of mirugai/geoduck with its crunchy texture.

Agemono Otoshi Amuse: Fried Vegetable Tempura (7.5/10).

Simple but delicious vegetable tempura with fried shishito pepper. Always be careful as some shishito peppers can be quite spicy!

Ankimo/Monkfish Liver Nigiri (8/10).

I’m not crazy about ankimo aka the foie gras of the sea but this was prepared excellently. It had a creamy texture and since it was marinated the flavor was more subdued.

Anago/Sea Eel Nigiri (8/10).

Succulent sea eel, what else could you want?!

Chopping the Toro for the Handroll.

Negi Toro/Fatty Tuna Temaki (9/10).

Handrolls are my comfort food and this was soooo good. How could you not love heavenly toro with premium rice all wrapped up in seaweed. It’s perfection.

The last savory dishes were supplements I added to my omakase.

Supplement: Mendocino Uni/Sea Urchin Nigiri (7.5/10).

I actually wasn’t thrilled about the Mendocino uni as it was slightly on the bitter side. I preferred the sweet Hokkaido uni I had earlier in the meal.

Supplement: Satsuma Wagyu Nigiri (9/10).

Fuck…this was good. Beautifully marbled meat that just melted in your mouth, an explosion of flavor.

Supplement: Ikura/Salmon Roe Nigiri (8.5/10).

Ikura is one of my favorite types of nigiri and this was nicely marinated.

Supplement: Unagi/Freshwater Eel Temaki (9/10).

I had to end the meal with unagi which is quite different from anago. Both are delicious but this was a great way to finish the savory dishes.

Gyoku: Egg Custard with Wild Spot Prawn (8/10) and Soy Milk Pudding with Peach Sorbet with Calpico Jelly (8/10).

I loved the creamy soy milk “panna cotta” with refreshing peach sorbet and Calpico (Japanese soft drink) jelly which was such a fun addition to the dessert.

It’s a shame you have to pay top dollar for high end sushi because it’s so delicious but not exactly the most filling. While the omakase was a substantial amount, I can’t be ballin’ out like this all the time (unfortunately). Both my parents and I agreed we preferred Kinjo more than our last omakase experience together which was at SasakiI thought Kinjo was a better value with a slightly less expensive omakase and I preferred the food significantly more. Therefore my rating is an 8-8.5/10.

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