Sushi Ondo is part of a wave of San Francisco restaurants doing more reasonably-priced omakase meals (~$100). While I haven’t found anything quite like Sugarfish around here, I have been interested in what kind of quality / value these restaurants can offer. Sushi Ondo opened in 2019 and is part of a group of restaurants that includes Sushi Hon, Barnzu, Sushi Hakko and Izakaya Hon.
Naruki Matsumoto was the longtime chef of Hirozen which served sushi on this mid-city corner for two decades. In 2016 the ownership of the restaurant changed hands to Matsumoto, who renamed the restaurant. The restaurant is small with just a few tables and a sushi bar seating about ten.
Kiriko has been a mainstay on the corner of Olympic and Sawtelle for almost two decades. I’ve been to the restaurant once many years ago for lunch. I don’t really remember anything from that visit, but came back for a sushi-focused dinner. We did a sushi omakase which priced out to be about $80 per diner before tax/tip/drinks.
This was my second time to Mori; my first visit was over six years ago. The restaurant appears to still be going strong after all these years, although it’s certainly changed. Chef Mori Onodera, who earned a Michelin star for his namesake restaurant, is long gone. He sold the restaurant in 2011 to a longtime employee, but the restaurant still carries his name.
A few different menus are available. A nigiri omakase runs $110 while an omakase featuring some small plates/appetizers runs $140. Coming here primarily for sushi, we opted for the base nigiri omakase.
Shunji Nakao’s eponymous restaurant has been a sushi staple on the west side since opening in 2012. Nakao has been at the forefront of sushi in Los Angeles for decades since being one of the opening chefs of Matsuhisa. After Matsuhisa, Nakao has also been chef at notable restaurants Asanebo and The Hump.
I’ve been to Shunji once, for lunch, and had an enjoyable meal (it was a great value too). I was excited to come in for dinner and try a little more. We went with a sushi omakase, adding a few cooked dishes to begin with.
Sushiya came highly recommended from my friend Tomo as one of the popular up-and-coming sushi restaurants in the city. It’s a relatively new restaurant, having been open for only a couple of years, but has gotten a lot of attention from many food writers both in Tokyo and abroad. The chef here is 30-year old Takao Ishiyama who has worked at a couple of very highly-regarded sushi spots – Sushi Kanesaka and Sushi Saito.
Interestingly, none of the diners this evening were English-speaking. Chef Ishiyama’s English is very good, which is probably an additional draw for international visitors.
This was my third time dining at Q. I visited twice when the restaurant opened in 2014 but didn’t get a chance in 2015. Both of my first two meals were great and I was looking forward to seeing if this third meal would still live up to expectations. Pricing for a meal here is still the same at around $165 for the omakase-only meal.
San Francisco has seen a lot of growth in its sushi scene in recent years, particularly in the high end segment. Michelin-starred sushi restaurants Maruya, Kusakabe, and Wako opened in 2013-2014; Omakase opened in 2015 joining that group with a Michelin star of its own. I’ve yet to go to one of those other restaurants, but was able to squeeze in Omakase as my last dinner in San Francisco over the Christmas holiday.
Two fixed menus are available each evening, one at the $150 level and one at $200. From what I could tell, the higher level offered a couple more pieces of sushi and a beef course towards the end of the meal (at least on this evening). We went for the $200 level.