The one thing NYC lacks is old fashioned sushi. There are times I long for no frills, no sauces, condiments, special garnishes from such and such and fish flown in from blahblahblah. I crave simple fish, solid rice at a decent price. A lot. And can’t help but to remember my childhood.
I grew up eating at Sushi Sam’s. Sushi Sam’s is named after the owner and chef Osamu-san. When my family first moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, sushi…well Japanese food, was practically non-existent.
The one place that met my mother’s approval was Isobune. It was a sushi go around, where the sushi is placed on little boats and circulated round and round the bar. In Japanese, sushi go rounds are called ‘kaiten-zushi’ and is known as cheap ‘lower quality’ sushi. Granted, sushi go rounds in Japan beat a lot of mid to high end establishments in the US. It’s quite sad, actually. At Isobune, the only person’s sushi my mother would eat, was Osamu-san’s. He would make our sushi in front of us and hand them over the counter, bypassing the boat, so we’d get to eat the sushi while the rice is still warm and the nori (seawood) crisp. I recall how special it made me feel. Naturally, our family had a bond with Osamu-san. We’ve known him for over 20 years, he’s like family.
Fast forward a few years, Osamu-san saved enough money to open his own restaurant in downtown San Mateo. Fast forward another few years and now Sushi Sam’s is now a Bay Arean institution.
If you get the chance, visit.
Stick to traditional sushi pieces; you won’t regret it.
It’s quite popular.