I Love Kusakabe in San Francisco

Ex’s and family won’t hear me say the “L” word which is why I can not believe I put off doing a post on chef Mitsunori Kusakabe

I realized I didn’t do one for this reason, the pictures that I have will not do Kusakabe justice because I took them all with my iPhone 6 at the time. Even though I work with a Canon 7D, I’m not going to be that obtrusive and obnoxious person who shoots pics with a large camera while others are trying to eat, so I opted for the subtle approach. A smart phone, the chosen method for being low-key and shirtless bathroom selfies.

Mitsunori’san can slice and dice like no other.

Kaiseki is seasonal, so the dishes will change based upon the season, and the pics below are primarily from a visit way back in December a couple of years back although I snuck in  couple more from a visit in May and maybe one other time.

I thought you’d like it if I took the pic in the look of a Star Wars crawl.

I wish I was a journalist or somebody who knew a lot, that way I could elaborate more on Kusakabe, but hopefully the reason why I like Kusakabe so much will come through.

Not saying magic doesn’t happen in other parts of Nori’sans life/house, but this is definitely where the magic happens.

Many sushi bars do “omakase,” but I love that Kusakabe mixes kaiseki cuisine in.

This is the menu from a previous time.

At the core of kaiseki cuisine is a focus on the natural ingredients flavor at the peak of its freshness.

One of my favorite visits was coming on New Years Eve.

Kaiseki is also a multi-course meal which will highlight five colors (expressed through dishes: white, black, yellow, red, and green), five tastes (balance of tastes of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and spicy), five senses (taste, smell, vision, hearing, and touch), and five methods (roast, steam, fry, simmer, and raw).

Koshikari Echigo beer is a Japanese rice lager made from the premium Koshihikari variety of rice grown in the Niigata prefecture.

First things first, a beer… I got to stimulate my five states of drinking (I need a drink, that hit the spot, buzzed, you’re looking really good, to I don’t remember that, what did I do!?!). Btw, this is not part of kaiseki, just in case you didn’t realize that.

Sushi Prelude

A zuke chutoro and two kinds of seasonal sushi.

Zuke chutoro is a marinated fatty tuna with a slight torching.

Now on to the food. First up, tuna that is blanched and marinated in a marinade that’s typically of shoyu and mirin.

In Wisconsin, I tried ordering hirame, and the waitress repeated back “hi-ram-me,” and I was like, yea that one.
That’s the halibut’s own liver added to the top of its own flesh.

Kaiseki balances appearance, colors of the food with taste and texture, but a lot of the places I had been to in Japan were extremely meticulously prepared and were great to look at, but they could not compare to Kusakabe’s talent for the other aspects of kaiseki (most importantly taste).

A holy light shined down on this piece of nigiri sushi.


Maguro tuna and chill.

Sashimi served atop shaved ice.
Sashimi and fresh wasabi and yuzu onion sauce on the right.
This shot is from a visit I made some other time.
I’m glad Nori’san chose the city after working in New York and in bikini clad Miami, aaayyyye papi


This might be the “futamono

Picture of the soup
Tai and renkonmanjyu kuzu umami soup with angel prawn.



Hassun, the second course

The seasonal platter.

The seasonal platter typically consists of a number of smaller dishes that could be raw, roasted, to boiled.
Shigoku oyster with French higokucaviar.

I didn’t know anything about Shigoku oysters, so I had to look it up. What I found out is that they are farm raised and tumbled during it’s grow-out phase, and they are raised in coastal Willapa Bay and Puget Sound. If none of that makes sense and only the locations register, try checking out Bill the Oysterman’s website.


Oh these tasty balls filled with wagyu.


It kills me that there’s not a more effective software to notify you that you’re drunk and your pics are coming out blurry.


Warm dish

I’ve included a pic of a previous time, aside from my visit in December.


Miso glazed “ohyo” Alaskan Halibut with crispy panko and something… something.
They supposedly snuck in some cod semen (shirako) somewhere, but all I can say was that this Hokkaido cod was amazing.


Three kinds of seasonal sushi of the day.




Oh you fatty fish, meet fatty.
I typically don’t like to show others, but they were really cool (plus, it was good opp to spy on what they were eating).
The modern-day samurai sword


Sushi Finale

I got a choice between bluefin fatty tuna or grade A5 Miyazaki wagyu beef. If I had David Choe Facebook money, I’d do both, along with some strippers (I joke, well 12% joking, there’s always truth to jokes).

There are choices to be made in the sushi finale.
Behold, grade A5 Miyazaki wagyu beef.
What a badass team which is reflection on Nori’san, and what dude wouldn’t be jealous of such a talented posse. #squadgoals
Closing time, got to head out, but dude wanted to get in on the shot.

BTW, I’m glad I switched to a smaller and more covert mirrorless camera a while back, so that’s my go to now for Tinder and shooting pics of yellowtail.


Directly across the street from the Transamerica building.
584 Washington St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 757-0155
Mon-Sat: 5-8:30pm, Sun: closed

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