Best Japanese Restaurant San Francisco 2002 - Maki
The thing about eating Japanese food in San Francisco is that you can't say you're serious about it until you've been to Japantown's Maki. The place serves sushi (including the best unagi roll we've ever had), but the specialty is steamed dishes: chawan mushi (steamed egg custard) and wappa meshi (salmon, eel, beef, or vegetables steamed in a wood basket over rice). With barely more than a dozen seats, Maki is all about attention to detail. The dashi stock is a bit cleaner and more delicate than you find elsewhere, the service is gracious, and 18 imported sakes are served in gorgeous glass decanters. You can get chirashi ("scattered") sushi, even a California Roll if you must, but we'd advise dropping by for shabu-shabu: thin-sliced beef, vegetables, and funky, translucent yam noodles cooked in broth at your table, served with a ponzu sauce so electric it could shatter the barrier between this dimension and the next.