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About Sushi Sho
Sushi Sho, located in El Cerrito, California, is a full-service sushi bar. The chef and owner, Aki Kawata, serves both Tokyo and Osaka style sushi at this small restaurant. Six customers are served at a time in this intimate dining experience. Every dish is made from the freshest and highest quality ingredients at Sushi Sho.
Sushi Sho serves simple, flavorful dishes such as the saba bateira or the natto-maki sushi roll. With side offerings ranging from edamame to tsukemori, you’re sure to enjoy an authentic Japanese sushi bar experience complete with fresh meals prepared in front of you at the sushi bar.
El Cerrito, CA 94530
Hours of Operation:
Dinner: T-Sa 5:30pm-9:00pm
$50 and over
Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Ample street parking available on San Pablo Avenue.
Bar Dining, Beer, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Non-Smoking, Wheelchair Access, Wine
This is as authentic as you will find for a Sushi Bar. As well, there are 6-7 different miso soups. The Seaweed Salad won't disappoint you. Try the marinated garlic , I can't eat enough. As well, The Osaka Style Pressed Sushi with House Smoked Salmon is delicious. All the seafood is hand picked by the owner and as fresh as you will find. Make a reservation as it fills up quickly.
Chef Aki Kawata opened his first sushi restaurant over three decades ago, after growing up in the family business. By that time, the first English language book on Sushi had been published, featuring food prepared by him exclusively. In a day when a typical American wouldn't have known sushi from a dead goldfish, Aki had lines out the door with people wanting to get the finest in sushi.
Aki won't serve anything unless it's using the finest ingredients. He had things on the menu that you won't find anywhere else. Back when he opened his first restaurant, not many people knew much about sushi, and his patrons these days realize how much they can learn about sushi despite what they thought they knew.
I never would have thought of ordering a combination meal where the chef chooses for me, but that's what many customers do these days and I might do that next time. Even though I hadn't been to one of Aki's restaurants in about six years, he remembered the types of things I like and was able to tell me what I had and hadn't tried before.
Here is the place to go for the freshest sushi you can get. You will need close to two hours for your meal because if the way the seatings are set up. Only six diners are served at each seating nominally, but during my visit two diners from the next seating were allowed to sit at the sushi bar.
Aki-san, the owner and sushi chef, is very friendly and instructive. While he is rolling he may tell you the proper way to pick up nigiri with chopsticks or discuss the differences between different kinds of fish. He seems very committed to providing the best possible dining experience for his customers.
Sushi Sho is best experienced by parties of two. Chances are very good that the daily menu will feature something you've never had before. That's a good thing.
I tried something i've had a disliking for for over 30 years: the Saba. I've never liked it because it's too fishy in general but Sushi Sho makes it very palatable. So if you're going to go out on a limb this is the place to do it.
We loved this place - the sushi chef was great and the sushi was delicious. We didn't realize that a 7pm reservation would be when the 8 person counter would be ready so as long as you're prepared for that. As our first time here, we shared the omakase menu and had 2 types of sashimi. We definitely did not do the omakase menu justice by sharing so each person should definitely get their own. My favorite was the cold-smoked salmon. I will definitely come back to this place.
The restaurant says that you have to be there on time or they give away your table. So we did. Then proceeded to wait outside in the rain and cold as they couldn't be bothered to open on time. Staff saw us standing there but couldn't be bothered. Finally called them but still didn't let us in. Left. Look at their reviews later and realized this is their way of doing business. Haughty chef. Haughty staff. Never again.
I felt scammed by the sushi chef and owner. I have dined in several highly rated sushi restaurants in most every major US city over the last 20 years. I have also dined in a lot of small, basic local sushi restaurants.
Sushi Sho was by far the worst - even compared to my experience in lower end restaurants where I expected nothing special.
All I can say to the over-the-top reviewers on Open Table is that you have not yet really experienced good sushi.
With the exception of the Hamachi sashimi, I found most of the fish to be second rate. The chef/owner clearly does not source top (higher cost) fish. And his prices exceeded what we received.
Most importantly, the overbearing chef would not leave the 8 people at the sushi bar alone -- a self designated "mentor" to his guests. Well some of us just want to enjoy our food.
I am an American who enjoys authentic Japanese food. That said, I don't appreciate being told to use my fingers instead of chop sticks. And I don't appreciate having the chef debate with me while I enjoy my food the way I want to enjoy it. He was downright oppressive.
We felt trapped for over 2 hours while the chef made his rounds around the sushi bar holding court with lectures on the "right" way to eat and the right way to "enjoy" his mediocre fish. This resulted in significant delays receiving fish -- mere morsels at a time.
If you are a sushi aficionado and haven't eaten Aki-san and Michiko's food you are in for a treat. Having lived in the bay area a long time and tried most of the well heralded sushi spots in the area I still have to give it to Sushi Sho for the consistent high quality, authenticity and attention to detail. You won't find a lot of americanized rolls with lots of non-traditional ingredients, but you will savor every bite. Favorites are the kani salad, the cold smoked salmon and the box sushi (saba or sake). For dessert the anago and tamago are both excellent. They only take reservations and be prepared for a 1-2 hr dining experience, it's well worth it. Enjoy.
The best sushi, but do not go here if you're in a hurry. Aki takes only 8 customers at a time, at his own pace, with his own style. We won't eat sushi anywhere else. If you go, and take the time to savor the experience, it's worth it. And order the California special "C," his own cold smoked salmon, the bintoro... ah.
I have had the great opportunity to dine at some of the world's best sushi restaurants and Sushi So is uniquestionably a contender. The fish is fresh, the omakase selections are interesting, unique, and flavorful. Even the dessert selections are tasty, a rarity at many sushi restaurants. The restaurant shies away from the glitz and glamour found at many sushi restaurants these days (I'm looking at you, Nobu) and instead has an authentic Japanese feel. I would very highly recommend this restaurant next time you find yourself in the east bay.
I have been going to Sushi Sho for the last couple of years and I have never been disappointed. The food there is absolutely the best and top notch. I love the new premium sake that they have added on their menu and it pairs well with all the sushi. Aki-san's cold smoke salmon and saba press sushi is awesome. I will be going there a lot more in the future and bringing all my sushi loving friends.
This is by far the BEST Sushi you will have. There are five different Miso Soups. And don't let me forget, The Seaweed Salad does not radiate an un natural green. It's truly Seaweed. Try The Osaka style Sushi Press, I enjoy The Smoked Salmon. This is A Sushi Master.
The title have said it. Sushi from most other restaurants in the bay area dont even come close to the quality Sushi Sho offers. Aki the chef is very friendly and chatty. He take pride in his sushi and every piece is done to perfection. Only good restaurants in Japan offers similar quality. A must try for someone who likes sushi.
I've been eating and learning about sushi with Aki-san since I was a freshman at Cal 30 years ago. Although I no longer live in CA, I eat at Sushi-Sho every time I visit the Bay Area. I used to arrive 30-45 mins early just to be sure I could get a seat. I'm so glad Aki-San now takes reservations on his website! We visited Sushi-Sho last week when we moved my son into the freshman dorms at Cal. Aki-san's sushi was as impeccable as always. His one of a kind cold smoked salmon and the BinToro sushi were my particular favorites. The restaurant location may have changed, but not Aki-san's unparalleled enthusiasm, dedication to the art, knowledge, and highest standards. 30 yrs of the best sushi in town is an incredible track record!
This is the best sushi I have ever had in my life; the saba is fantastic, the usuzukuri is beautifully presented and the battera is elegance in its simplicity. Kawata-san's tsume (NOT tare) is quite good and I relish it on the unagi.
The disappointment (and low ratings) from others stems (I think) from a lack of understanding. Many people go out expecting to get "served". Kinda like, "Where the hell is my caterpillar roll? I always get a caterpillar roll!" Edo style rolls are generally the ONLY hosomaki or temaki served.
And then there's the etiquette; the exact horizontal placement of the chopsticks, the exact method to dip specific pieces of nigiri into the shoyu, NEVER asking the chef for a drink, the check or appetizers, etc.
Aki and Michiko at Sushi Sho have been serving sushi for over 30 years. They opened up their new location in El Cerrito two years ago. They have just started taking reservations which makes dining here much easier. This is by far the best Sushi available in the Bay Area. Aki is knowledgeable and meticulous about quality and presentation - a true master! I highly recommend starting your evening with Usuzukuri - fluke sashimi with house made ponzo - some of the best sashimi you will ever taste!
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