The Daily Meal recently published our Best Sushi in America roundup for 2014, and in order to compile our ranking, we started by reaching out to leading culinary authorities to ask what their favorite sushi restaurants are, and we supplemented those suggestions with sushi restaurants featured in local reviews and pre-existing regional and local rankings. Although many of these restaurants also serve a menu of traditional Japanese food, we stressed that the primary focus must be on sushi. We then took that list of 112 restaurants from across the country and built a survey, with the restaurants separated by region. We invited our group of trusted panelists, comprising chefs, bloggers, journalists, and other culinary authorities, to vote for their favorites. Our final list showcased the 35 best, with one from San Francisco scoring the #19 spot.
Don’t even think about taking out your cellphone at Ino in Japantown’s Miyako Mall, where chef and owner Ino has been serving some of the Bay Area’s best sushi for more than 30 years. There are fewer than 10 seats at the bar and just a few tables, and if you sit at the bar you’ll want to study up a little first, because Ino-san can be a little gruff. So here’s what you do: wait until Ino approaches you (don’t try to flag him down), and start by ordering some monkfish liver (ankimo) and salmon roe (ikura), with a raw quail egg if you’re feeling adventurous. Then head straight for the omakase, which will be placed piece by piece directly onto the counter in front of you, no plate required. Don’t ask for wasabi. Go easy on the soy sauce. Be polite. And be prepared for one of the best sushi experiences you’ll ever have.
Ino was ranked #19 in our compilation, and without any local competition mentioned on the list, it is unequivocally home to the best sushi in San Francisco.