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Yo’s Sushi Club

April 4, 2007

Yo’s Sushi Club is a sushiya in the Bernal Heights neighborhood, on Mission Street, directly across the street from the Safeway at 30th and Mission. Despite being located directly on one of San Francisco’s great boulevards, this small sliver of a restaurant has a bit of a secret or “hideaway” feel to it. One reason we might feel this way though is because this is a neighborhood we do not have the opportunity to visit very often, which is a shame, because interesting surprises seem to lurk at the most unsuspecting corners, and Yo’s Sushi Club turned out to be a nice surprise. This is as good of a time as any to drop a note of thanks to Sean, writer of the blog Hedonia, as it was his complimentary words about this restaurant and its sushi chef that convinced us to file Yo’s Sushi Club away in the back of our mind until the day arrived when we were able to make it to Bernal Heights.

That day came recently, and we had a great meal at Yo’s Sushi Club. The friendly service and the simple, traditional, no-gimmicks feel of this restaurant provide a very relaxing way to unwind after a busy day. Yo’s is definitely a sushiya, so if you’re expecting teriyaki, chicken karaage, and lots of cooked dishes, you will be disappointed. The focus is mostly on traditional sushi: nigiri, along with simpler rolls. There are a few forays into fusion territory — such as “voodoo salmon” (involving spicy salmon and shiso), which sounded interesting, although we did not get a chance to try it — but the focus here is really on the fish. Just the way we like it.

As we often will, Short Exact started off with a lighter white fish — a pristine order of hirame (halibut),

tb_yo_sushi_club_hirame.jpg

These pieces of nigiri, appropriately dressed with ponzu and a shiso leaf, had just the right level of firmness. This was good quality fish, rather delicately sliced, and featuring a clean, well-balanced flavor, and a touch of the lightest sweetness. It was a very nice way to open the meal. The hirame was followed by an order of aji (horse mackerel) nigiri — again, nice, firm pieces cut at just the right thickness, with a delicately vinegared flavor supplemented by its garnishes:

tb_yo_sushi_club_aji.jpg

Short Exact got caught up in conversation with the chef about something completely different, so we never got the chance to inquire about the source of the the uni (sea urchin), but our guess is that it was from Mendocino rather than Santa Barbara; so it did not have that almost milky creaminess, but this was still a nice specimen, as its briny flavor was spot on and extremely satisfying.

We chose a richer item to round off the meal. Generous cubes of a relatively complex-flavored, almost creamy ankimo (monkfish liver),

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were perched atop of bed of rice and wrapped in seaweed, in the form of a gunkan maki, featuring all the usual garnishes and the slightly unusual addition of a shiso leaf, which did not at all distract from the ankimo, initially, at least. Rather, it added a cool finish that furnished a nice contrast to the richer liver — although it also cut off the lingering flavor of the ankimo a little sooner than we might have liked.

The sushi chef was warm, welcoming and very enjoyable to talk to throughout the meal. The atmosphere was quiet and pleasant, the service was courteous, our tea cup was always kept warm and filled, and there was good fish offered at extremely reasonable prices. And, there is one additional perk of Yo’s: the frequent buyer card. You receive a stamp for each $10 purchase, and after 10 stamps, you can redeem the card for a 15% deduction off your next visit’s bill. Not too shabby, eh?

We appreciate that Yo’s carries a selection of fish (including the uni, ankimo, and the giant clam mirugai, which we did not get a chance to sample) that is a cut above the very basic standards stocked by every sushi bar in the world. You won’t find especially “high end” items (such as house marinated ikura, or the akami red meat cut of a blue fin tuna), but what you will find is above average selection, and most importantly, good quality fish paired with appropriately flavored rice, and sound sushi construction. Although the relatively low level of traffic in this neighborhood might prevent him from being able to carry more unique items, it is clear that this chef cares deeply about maintaining a quality operation.

We would not hesitate to drop by Yo’s again whenever we are in the neighborhood, and thanks to the frequent buyer card, a return visit here is pretty much a guarantee.

RATING:

COST:

3369 Mission Street (at Godeus St.)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: 415.824.1215
Hours: Mon-Thurs, 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm; Fri-Sat, 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm. Closed Sundays.

Cuisine: Japanese
Neighborhood: Bernal Heights

How to get there: Muni lines: 14, 24, 26, 49, 67, and J. Restaurant is about 3/4 of a mile from the 24 Street Mission BART station.

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2 comments

  1. Yay! I’m so glad you made it there. I have no excuse for not going more frequently than I do … it’s not that far from where I live, and we’ve been followers of Yo for well over a decade. Glad you enjoyed your meal. Methinks I’ve got a sushi dinner in my near future as well.


  2. Delightful. I love ankimo, hirame, and uni, although I prefer to start with an undressed fish to gauge the freshness of the product and the skill of the chef.



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