Live Sushi Bar

thelivesushi

Live Sushi Bar
2001 17th St (at Kansas St in Potrero Hill)
San Francisco, CA 94103-5012
(415) 861-8610‎

On Sunday, After spending the whole day outside watching the San Francisco Pride parade and checking out the festival in front of City Hall, I went back to the tranquility of Potrero Hill and treated myself to a nice sushi dinner at Live Sushi Bar.  I ordered the Live Sushi Combo – 6 pieces of nigiri, 4 pieces of sashimi and 6 pieces of spicy tuna roll for $16.95 and the sake tasting sampler ($9.50).  They kind of have a weird name and a logo that looks like the Jesus fish, but they are close to my summer crash pad, so it’s become a good place for the occasional splurge.  Last time I had dinner here, I had the grilled shio saba (salted mackerel) and tempura, which were decent, but nothing mind blowing.  This time, my decision to actually order sushi paid off.  The sushi rice was perfectly prepared and the fish tasted very fresh and clean.  I’m not sure what is going on with the Pepto-Bismol-colored salad dressing, but it didn’t taste bad.

sake

Above: Sakes in the intended sampling order from right to left (click on image to view enlarged version)

Masumi “Okuden Kantsukuri” – 真澄 奥伝寒造り (Junmai – 純米)

Dewazakura “Oka” – でわざくら 桜花 (Ginjo – 吟醸)

Hoyo “Kura no Hana” – 鳳陽 蔵の華 (Daiginjo – 大吟醸)

The Masumi tasted like a pretty standard junmai to me, a good starter sake.  The Dewazakura, with a seductive floral bouquet, was definitely my favorite.  My white wine taste tends towards Rieslings and Gewurztraminers, so it’s no surprise that I like the fruity floral sake.  The Hoyo had a strong star anise taste in it’s flavor profile, which I would expect from sake.  It went really well with the earthy spiciness of the spicy tuna rolls, and I bet it would

One of Adam’s friends suggested that I check out another sushi place called Umi, which is also in Potrero Hill.  I will definitely be there to check it out soon!

Omakase Dinner at Morimoto NYC (1 June 2007)

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When my family was in New York last week, we dined at Morimoto NYC. Everyone had the Omakase Dinner (Chef’s tasting menu). Here’s what we had and my comments:

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Course #1: Toro (Tuna Belly) Tartare

The toro was delightfully fresh and rich tasting. I loved the little rice cracker balls. They added a nice crunchy textural contrast, and wish there was more of them.

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Course #2: Kampachi Sashimi with Shiitake

The flavor profile of this dish tasted a bit Chinese to me, like the Cantonese steamed fish finished with hot oil on the top. The fish was great, but the sauce and mushrooms were a bit overpowering for the delicate fish. By the way, “Shiitake mushroom” is redundant because “take” means “mushroom” in Japanese.

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Course #3: Microgreen salad, salmon, cranberry beans, asparagus, yogurt mousse and matcha (green tea) dressing

This dish is a winner. It’s visually interesting, with wonderful color contrasts and effective positive use of negative space (small modular elements on an enormous plate). It also perfectly captures the essence of the season and of this time of year – very important in Japanese traditional cuisine.

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Course #4: Kumamoto oysters steamed with foie gras, uni (sea urchin), and teriyaki glaze

Oysters, foie gras, and sea urchin together in one dish is like trying way too hard to be luxury and ending up tacky and nouveau riche. In any case, the teriyaki glaze pretty much covered up the taste of the ingredients anyway. Although presenting the oysters on rock salt mixed with whole spices (cardamom, cloves, peppercorns) was innovative and added to the olfactory interest, this dish just seems like a waste of potentially fabulous ingredients.

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Course #5: Sushi: Chuu-Toro, Tai, Mirugai, Kohada, Amaebi

Fresh ingredients well executed. You can’t mess with tradition here. This one gets an “A”. “A+”s don’t come easy around here 😉

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Course #6: Intermezzo – “Matcha” (Powdered green tea used in tea ceremony) and Coconut Macaroon

This course sounds great conceptually, but failed in execution and ended up gimmicky. The waiters came around with bamboo whisks and performed a mini tea ceremony by whisking the the powdered green tea together with hot water. The green tea was not nearly strong enough to stand up to the super-sweet lingering taste of the coconutty macaroons. The macaroons at Bouley Bakery are much better. The green tea used in a real tea ceremony is supposed to be very thick and bitter to contrast with the sweet. No need to skimp on matcha powder when people are paying over a hundred bucks for an omakase dinner!

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Course #7: Garam Masala Encrusted Lobster with Lemon Foam

Finally, the Iron Chef hits a home run! I wanted to lick and suck every crevice of that lobster carcass clean. Clearly pushing the boundaries of “Japanese cuisine” here, but very New York with the interethnic borrowing of the garam masala to produce something new. In any case, it works and that’s why he’s still an Iron Chef.

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Course #8: Wagyu with Japanese Sweet Potatoes

Nice, but underwhelming. To be fair, I have always been underwhelmed by Kobe beef/wagyu. So what if the cows get massages and get to drink beer? I would rather not pay the premium for pampered cattle and drink the beer and get the massages myself.

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Course #9: Dessert – Red Bean (Azuki) Bean Cake with Apricot Sorbet

The cake was a bit dry, but it provided a great contrast to the sorbet, which tasted lively and fresh. A pleasant finish to a roller-coaster of a meal. Restrained enough as to not make you forget the previous 8 courses.