Koo

Koo
408 Irving St.
San Francisco, CA 94122
Yelp

I’ve been to Koo before with Triple F and Running Man.  I just didn’t remember it too well since I never blogged about it.  I’ve come to depend on this blog as my food memory and food road map.  It really is true.  You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.  I always thought that was more applicable to life, but apparently it also works when talking about food too!  I thought I would revisit Koo because it seemed more affordable and approachable than Kusakabe, which we recently visited.  When we sat down at the bar, we said “omakase.”  Our chef looked puzzled.  “That’s it?” he said.  We nodded.  “Anything you don’t like?”  We shook our heads.  He seemed taken aback at the simplicity of our request, and perhaps happy to do what he pleased.  Interestingly, our sushi chef was another Chinese guy.  I’m beginning to think there are no Japanese sushi chef’s in San Francisco.

Santa Barbara Uni quail egg, tobiko, ponzu
We started off with their house specialty, sweet perfect Santa Barbara uni made even more delicious and luscious with a silky quail egg yolk.  The bit of ponzu and tobiko were perfect flavor components.

Tai & Ankimo ponzu, truffle oil
The snapper and monkfish liver were delicious.  The ponzu and truffle oil added a wonderful pop of flavor.  Both bites were meant to be enjoyed with a shot of sake.  We could have done without the sake, not being big drinkers.  Overall, these were 2 delicious bites to start off our meal.

Hamachi Carpaccio 
The yellowtail was generously sliced and topped with a think slice of cherry tomato, chili pepper, cilantro, and red onion.  Ponzu made its way again.  We quite enjoyed it.

Shima Aji garlic ponzu
A great first bite to start the sushi.

Umimasa
Ocean trout, which can be a look a like for salmon if you’re not really paying attention, was on point.

Kuro Dai yuzu kosho
Our sushi chef, who was Chinese, was very talented with his use of the blow torch.  He used it very lightly, to only add char but not cook the fish too much.  This black seabass was one of my favorite pieces of the night. 

Hamachi Toro pickled wasabi
Perfectly luscious.

Negi-Toro quail egg
I’m beginning to think quail egg goes really well with sushi.  Seriously so good!  YUMS!

Scottish Salmon Belly 
The Annoyer knows Scottish salmon very well.  He was really pleased with the preparation here with the light scorch.  It actually inspired him to prepare Scottish salmon this way at home.  I’ll keep y’all updated on the results.

Halibut Fin
I think I’ve had this once or twice before.  It has a bit more texture than most other fish, but I quite enjoy that aspect of it.

This is when we veered a bit off from the omakase.  Up till then, The Annoyer really got the feeling the chef was giving us the best of the best.  I said, “Well of course! Isn’t that the whole point of omakase?”  I guess the chef just did a better job showing us that.  We didn’t have any tuna in the meal and we asked why.  He said the tuna was great a few days ago, but wasn’t the best anymore so he didn’t want to serve that to us.

Scallop
The scallop was great, but I think a little squirt of yuzu and some sea salt go better it than soy sauce.

Amaebi
Perfection.

The fried shrimp heads were particularly tasty here.  YUMS!

Koo was another solid sushi dinner at a more reasonable price point ~$70 per person (before tip, tax, and no drinks).  Our chef delivered a wonderful experience from start to finish.  I know the “spoonfuls of happiness” appetizer bites were not his invention, and rather an obligatory start to the omakase meal.  Everything thereafter seemed to have his own spin.  We got to talking about sushi restaurants in the area.  Koo isn’t a big named place in SF, but our chef is quite happy where he is and has no interest in working at a fancy place just for the resumé boost.  It seems like he gets to have some creative freedom at Koo.  The place definitely has a neighborhood feel.  There are plenty of rolls on the menu to satisfy all the locals.  But if you’re patient or plan ahead, do sit at the bar for an experience any true sushi lover can appreciate!

10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here

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