Ambiance: 3.5 / 5
Cleanliness: 4 / 5
Service: 1.5 / 5
Taste: 4 / 5
Presentation: 4 / 5
Overall: 2.5 / 5
The first time I had Japanese food, I fell in love with it. But it wasn't until late in my college years did I realise how potentially amazing sushi can be. Ever since then, I've been a bit of a sushi snob. I mean, I still eat the ones at the mall kiosks and the all-you-can-eat buffet stuff, but my mouth literally waters and drools whenever I get the chance to have the good stuff.
I live in Toronto, which means, as great as some of the sushi / sashimi is here, we're really short on FRESH fish here. So you can imagine my excitement when I realised that my cousin had gotten reservations at Okoze Sushi in San Francisco.
We walk in, and the place is quite nice. Pretty spacious, with simple decor and ambient lighting. We were quickly seated and given our menus. I was pretty impressed with their sake list. They didn't have my favourite - Wakatake Onikoroshi (Demon Slayer) Junmai Daiginjo - so they gave me a sampling of a couple of other sakes that they had. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the one I selected, but it was very good at $18 a glass. Yes, they served it to me in a wine glass.
The first dish I ordered came. Yes, it tasted as good as it looks! A Butterfish Carpaccio that was very, very well done. It was light and very fresh. But it wasn't this dish that I was waiting for. Ankimo Sunomono. I started salivating at the sight of the words on the menu.
What is it? It's monk fish liver - fois gras of the sea - topped with ponzu sauce. I thought the ankimo sunomono I had in Toronto was good? This was unbelieveable. So clean, so fresh, so creamy, so rich and flavourful. Absolutely delicious. However, not everything was AS good.
Remember how I mentioned those all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants? They make a better shrimp tempura. Isn't tempura batter supposed to be light? This one was heavy heavy heavy! It really boggled my mind how the same restaurant that had such delectable ankimo and butterfish could screw shrimp tempura up. Fortunately, the next dish that came up somewhat redeemed my faith in the restaurant. Momentarily.
Sushi made with Geoduck. It's amazing what freshness does. Fresh ingredients hides a lot. Fresh sashimi is divine. But unfortunately, it doesn't hide poor service.
If anyone has had Toro (Bluefin tuna belly) will attest, its melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness is out of this world. That being said, unless they decided to go fishing after I placed my order, there is no way that putting a couple of pieces fish onto a ball of rice takes close to an hour to prepare! Really... There is no way. They forgot the order. After we had finished everything else, we sat around waiting, and waiting, and waiting. After they FINALLY decided to serve this last dish, they promptly informed us that they were sorry, but they had to bring us the bill because another party had a reservation. Okoze, must be the Japanese word for poor service and can't cook. That being said, the uncooked food was certainly delicious.
Here's a few more photos of some yummy food that they served at this poorly serviced sushi house. All photos in this entry courtesy of "my life as garbo".