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A popular sushi restaurant proudly known for having fresh ingredients sent directly from Tsukiji and Fukuoka

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By Elii sSekine

Hayes Valley, which is known as the place where a gourmet culture started, is also a highly competitive place for the restaurant business. During the recent real estate development, many new condominiums and business buildings have been built, and the area is becoming even more desirable. Many foodies who want to eat out live there, and also some culture/art facilities for performing arts such as symphony orchestra concerts, ballet, Jazz performances, art museums, etc. are in the nearby areas. Restaurants in the area, therefore, need to accommodate to a wide variety of preferences as well. There is only one real authentic sushi restaurant in the area, and that is “Tsubasa”. They have gained many excellent reviews through word of mouth on social media, and have been given a Bib Gourmand rating by the Michelin Guide. They are supported by local sushi lovers for their high-quality a-la-carte, and omakase menus, and the approachability.

The owner, Irene Ouyang, is a Chinese American. She has been a fan of Japanese cuisine for a long time, and was motivated to start and run a Japanese restaurant called “Sushi House” 20 years ago. She later opened “Naked Fish Sushi Grill & Wine Restaurant”, which attracted a younger generation of sushi fans, taking advantage of the pop culture-like sushi boom of that time. Its innovative style, in which a drink bar and sushi are combined, has been copied by many restaurants since, and has become one of the standard styles. Then, 3 years ago, she opened “Tsubasa” on a busy street of Hayes Valley where people are always keeping their eyes on restaurants.

Last summer, the restaurant welcomed Peter Pae as the executive chef, and refreshed the menu. Mr. Pae is a non-Japanese sushi chef, who has 20-years of experience in cooking at Japanese restaurants. He learned the basics of sushi and sushi making techniques from Osamu, the owner of “Sushi Sam”, a popular restaurant which has been leading the sushi boom in San Mateo. He is also carrying over his craftsmanship. He says, “The most important thing about sushi is freshness, and enjoyment of dining is enhanced by having seasonal ingredients.” It is so obvious that such a philosophy is reflected on the menu. He is very particular about the fish he buys, and 90% of it comes directly from Tsukiji and Fukuoka. A wide variety of ingredients and freshness are their selling points.

The menu contains a wide-variety of dishes which include a-la-carte dishes, traditional nigiri sushi, sushi rolls, the original “Fusion Roll”, and options of temaki (hand rolls). The signature items are the “Chef’s Choice”, and “Tsubasa Daily”, for which nearly 30 different kinds of seasonal freshly caught ingredients are described daily. Evening time is mostly filled by reservations, but some walk-ins are accepted on some nights. For lunch time, there are items for quick-eats such as chirashi sushi and negitoro donburi, but they have recently added omakase style dishes on the lunch menu, which are welcomed for business lunches and “Tsubasa” fans. This time, I tried a course meal, and some dishes from the regular menu items. The appetizer, local oysters, were flavored in a Japanese way, and colorfully arranged with momiji oroshi (tinted grated daikon) and green onions, and boosted my appetite. Nicely tender and sweet ankimo (monkfish liver) ($11/each) and Nasu-no Nibitashi (cooked eggplant dish) went very well with Junmai sake. Chawan-mushi (steamed egg custard), a popular dish ($9〜$14) had a slight fragrance of sakura-ebi (tiny dried shrimp), and the fluffy custard made with tasty dashi was bringing out the goodness of rich and creamy uni (sea urchin) from Hokkaido. The main dish, “Special Sashimi” ($80) was colorful, and presented like an art for the decoration of your table. You can easily imagine the freshness of the ingredients by just looking at them, and the skillfully cut pieces and tasteful presentation showcase the craftsmanship well. Well-thought colorful arrangement of that day consisted of fish from Japan, shimaaji, hotate (scallop), inada, kinmedai, kamasu, hotaruika (tiny squids), muki-hotate, etc., and sakura-masu (trout) was decorated and favored with cherry leaves. The nigiri plate looked high class and gorgeous with gold dusted o-toro and zuwai-gani (crab) served with kani-moso (crab brain), which give you the ultimate pleasure of sushi tasting. The menu contains a wide selection of ingredients from standard fish to rare fish from Japan’s nearby seas, which you rarely see at other restaurants, hence can accommodate all sushi eaters from beginners to experts. You can imagine how prominent this place is from serving hon-maguro, because it is supplied to only a limited number of Japanese restaurants.

The restaurant is medium size, having a total of 50 seats. On the left after entering, you see the sushi chef counter, and bar tables, which were filled with many single customers. As for the alcoholic drink selection, Japanese sake brands dominate it. They are sorted by dryness, crispness, and smoothness. Next is wine, beer, and craft beers. Here, the sushi dining that should start with a drink, which Ouyang believes in, matches the eat-out culture spirit of Hayes Valley, and is collecting a lot of sushi fans every day.


築地、福岡直送の新鮮なネタが自慢の人気寿司店

グルメ発信基地としても知られるヘイズバレーはレストランの激選区。最近の再開発で新しいマンションや商業ビルが次々と建ち、益々魅力的な街へと変貌を遂げている。レストランに出かけるフーディーな客が多く、シンフォニーやバレエ、ジャズホール、美術館などの文化芸術施設が隣接するため、店側も多種多様な対応が求められる。その中で唯一の本格的な寿司屋、「Tsubasa Sushi」は、SNS の口コミで常に多くの星の数を獲得し、ミシュランガイドではビブグルマンにも選ばている。アラカルト、オマカセ共に高品質なのに通いやすさが寿司ファンに支持されている。

オーナー、 Eileen Ouyang 氏は中国系アメリカ人。昔からの日本食好きが高じて20 年前にレストラン「Sushi House」の経営を始めた。その後オープンした「Naked Fish Sushi Grill & WineRestaurant」は、当時のポップな寿司ブームに乗り、特に若年層を惹きつけた。ワインを加えドリンクメニューを充実させた画期的なスタイルは、今では多くの店が取り入れ定番となっている。そして3年前、いつも注目を浴びるヘイズバレーのおしゃれで賑やかな通りに「Tsubasa」をオープンした。

去年の夏、エグゼキュティブシェフにPeter Pae 氏を迎えメニューも一新された。Pae 氏は、日本食レストランでの料理人歴20 年になるノンジャパニーズの寿司職人。San Mateoで寿司ブームを牽引して来た人気レストラン、「SushiSam’s」のオーナー、おさむ氏から寿司の基本と技術を伝授され、その職人気質も継承している。「寿司は鮮度が命。そして季節のネタが並ぶ事で、食べる楽しみが一層豊かになる」とPea 氏。その哲学はメニューを見れば一目瞭然だ。毎日仕入れる魚にはこだわりがありその90%近くが日本の築地や福岡からの直輸入。ネタの種類と新鮮さがウリとなっている。

メニューは、一品料理、伝統的な握りとロールにオリジナルの「フュージョンロール」手巻きのオプションが加わるバラエティーな内容。看板は、「Chef’schoice」と30 品目近くの旬のネタが毎日書き換えられる「Tsubasa Daily」だ。

夜は予約客がほとんどだが、日によってはウォークインでも入れる。昼メニューはさっと済ませられるチラシ丼やネギトロ丼物などもあるが、最近「オマカセ」もランチメニューに加わり、ビジネスランチや“Tsubasa ファン” に好評だ。

今回、コースとレギュラーメニューの一部を賞味した。アペタイザーの牡蠣は地元産で和風に味付けし、もみじおろしやグリーンオニオンの彩も良く食欲を唆る。適度な甘さで柔らかいあん肝(各$11) とナスの煮浸しは純米酒との相性も抜群。人気アイテムの茶碗蒸($9 〜$14)は桜えびの匂いがほんのり漂い、良い出汁で仕上げたフルフルなカスタードが北海道産の濃厚でクリーミーな雲丹を引き立てている。メインの「SpecialSashimi」($80) は、色彩豊かでプレゼンテーションがまるでアートの様にテーブルを飾る。ネタの新鮮さは見た目で想像できるが、その切り身とセンス良い盛り付けに職人技が光る。この日は、シマアジ、ホタテ、イナダ、キンメダイ、カマス、ホテルイカ、ムキホタテなど色合い鮮やかで、サクラマスは桜の葉で飾り香り付けをするなど工夫が凝らしてある。

握りは金粉を飾られた大トロと蟹味噌を挟んだズワイ蟹で高級感が漂い寿司の醍醐味がたっぷり味わえる。メニューは定番の寿司から他店ではお目にかかれない日本近海のネタが揃っており、初心者から寿司ツーまでを満足させる内容。また、本鮪の仕入れは日本食レストランの中でも限られているため、同店の盛況ぶりが伺える。

店内は全50席のミディアムサイズ。エントランスを入った左側には寿司シェフカウンター、バーテーブルがあり、個人客も多く見かける。アルコールは日本酒が圧倒的に多く、ドライ、クリスプ、スムーズの口当たり別で表示してある。次いでワイン、ビールを多種揃える。ここでもOuyang 氏がこだわるドリンクから始まる寿司ダイニングがヘイズバレーの外食スピリットにマッチし、毎日大勢の寿司ファンで賑わっている。



Tsubasa Sushi
429 Gough St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 551-9688
http://www.tsubasasf.com/

Tues.-Wed. 5:30pm-10:00pm
Thur. 11:30am-2:00pm
5:30pm-10:00pm.
Fri. 11:30am-2:00pm
5:30pm-10:15pm
Sat. 12:00pm-2:45pm
5:30pm-10:15pm
Sun. 5:30pm-9:30pm
#alljapannews #TsubasaSushi #SF #restaurant #Tsukiji #fukuoka

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