Best Japanese/Sushi Restaurant San Francisco 2006 - Kiss
Naming a restaurant that seats at most a dozen people at a time (five at an angled maple sushi bar, and up to eight more at two or three tables) as our favorite is not intended to be maddening or elitist. It's just to encourage those of you who'd enjoy watching a real sushi master (the owner, known to regulars as Naka-san) at work to make your reservations and sample the impeccable sushi and cooked dishes offered at Kiss. The clean-lined room is a chic, modern white box. You can order off a multipage menu, or choose one of two omakase (chef's choice) menus, at $42 or $60. Either includes five or six courses, always with a sashimi and a sushi assortment. A recent $42 omakase meal started with a tiny freebie a salad of mixed root vegetables, seaweed, and beans; continued with a cold rice pasta mixed with crunchy julienned salad; then deep-fried squid, steamed chawan mushi (egg custard) with chunks of fish, and a sashimi plate with seven fish and shellfish, cunningly chosen for their variety of textures and colors; followed by four assorted sushi; a fresh, smoky soup full of tiny mushrooms; and a final gift of a wedge of honeydew melon cut into chunks. Delightful.