I will readily admit that I am a horrible sushi snob. I critique every piece of sushi, every grain of rice, every slice of seafood. If there is something missing, I duly take note. But I always like to try out different places to experience my options. And my latest venture is Ki in SOMA, which opened in May.
Like many ethnic foods, sushi is one where when you find a place you really like, it is hard to go anywhere else. While I have found a few spots like that in San Francisco, I am always looking to add to the list.
When you walk in to Ki, the first two things you notice are the nightclub, Temple, attached in the rear and the bright and vibrant colors adorning the walls. Ki is very much a nouveau sushi spot with an izakaya menu mixed in, created for the Americanized sushi customer. Plenty of fancy decorations, bright lights and a menu catering to a certain crowd. But even though I am a traditionalist, enjoying nigiri and sashimi over different types of fancy rolls, Ki has a little bit of something for everyone.
The restaurant is well-known for sustainable seafood. In fact, Casson Trenor , the author of the book, “Sustainable Sushi: A Guide to Saving the Oceans One Bit at a Time,” acts as a consultant. Trenor opened the world’s first sustainable sushi restaurant, Tataki Sushi and Sake Bar in San Francisco. The sushi menu is very eclectic with a wide range of nigiri and signature and vegetable maki rolls. There are also a number of small plates, including salads and tataki dishes.
The izakaya portion of the menu is also filled with plenty of options. Included are ramen and tempura, sous-vide chicken wings (our reader Mai wrote in and let us know Ki has undergone a chef change and the wings are no longer part of the menu) and the house specialty, chicken evolution. That dish features chicken prepared three different ways. There are also plenty of skewered items to choose from.
I’m not normally a fan of the new-fangled, glitzy sushi restaurants that seem to pop up all the time. I prefer my sushi plain and straight forward. But I would definitely give Ki another chance. While not every dish is a hit, the sushi is prepared in a way that will satisfy both the traditionalist and the newbie. And the non-sushi fans in your group have plenty of other dining options to choose from as well.