November 16, 2005

Sanraku is a Japanese restaurant in the “Tendernob” offers fresh fish at reasonable (but not always bargain) prices. Naturally, the fresh-caught specials of the day are pricier than the standard entrees. The regular dishes runs roughly average for sushi joints, and specials tend to run $6-9 for a nigiri order. Nota bene: There is another branch of Sanraku in the Metreon complex. As one might expect based on its location, the Metreon Sanraku is a pedestrian, sloppy, and (at best) pale imitation of the Sutter Street Sanraku. Don’t be fooled! Unless you’re near the Metreon, on death’s door, and several distinguished and experienced doctors have agreed that the only existing cure for your ailment is to eat sushi, we wouldn’t recommend it.


We certainly enjoyed our most recent meal at the Sutter Street location. The ankimo was solid, if typical, and the uni, while not exceptional, had a good texture and nice sweet flavor. The hamachi toro was quite fresh, though it was not an exceptional cut. However, the truly delightful hon maguro made up for whatever the hamachi might have lacked. Sometimes the sushi rice flavor was a bit out of balance with the fish, but not alarmingly so.


Even when the restauraunt is full, we’ve found the service here to be attentive, but not overbearing. There is a trio of friendly, jovial, and knowledgeable sushi chefs that make dining at the sushi bar a fun experience. They craft sushi well, although they do not generally display the kind of fine-tuned artistic creativity you find in San Francisco’s very finest sushi chefs. Our picky complaints aside, though, is a solid, dependable Japanese restaurant, which we would certainly recommend to our devoted Short Exact reader base (we’re not sure if this actually exists or not). Sanraku is certainly one of the better choices in the vicinity of Union Square and Lower Nob. This last trip Short Exact made to Sanraku was not our first visit, and we certainly hope it’s not the last.



704 Sutter Street (at Taylor St.)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: 415.771.0803
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 am – 10:00 pm, Sun 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

Cuisine: Japanese
Neighborhood: Nob Hill, Union Square

How to get there: The 2, 3, 4, and 76 Muni lines stop right in front of the door, and the 27, 30, 38, and 45 lines are within easy walking distance.


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