Friday, January 30, 2015

Major Maki

Ki redraws the borders on the California Roll

The last time you were excited about ordering a California roll, you were 17 and trying to impress a girl at the mall food court.

Time to give the ubiquitous makizushi a second look at Ki, a colorful, clubby sushi bar and izakaya adjacent to SoMa's Temple nightclub.

While we're already craving more of their izakaya selections — especially the pulled pork ramen noodles — sushi takes center stage.

The real California roll is made with locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients. Right now that means locally caught halibut with tender asparagus and a spring confetti of finely diced strawberries on top.

Yes, it sounds weird. But trust us, it's phenomenal.

In fact, it'll make you wonder how you ever found those joyless crab and avocado rolls palatable.

Now if they can only find a way to update spicy tuna.

540 Howard St., between 1st and 2nd
(415) 278-0495

Price: 2 (out of 4) Noise: 3 (out of 4)
Parking: Street, or the city lot next door if you're planning to stay a while.
Scene: The after-work crowd meets pre-party diners.
Best bets: Pulled pork ramen noodles; tsukune; real California roll; ki crunch roll; albacore belly sashimi
Hot seat: Twosomes are best off at the bar, where sushi chef Isamu Kanai is happy to discuss his craft.
Drink up: Japanese craft beers (Coedo 'Kyara,' Suntory Premium Malts Liquor) complement an impressive sake selection (Dassai Nigori, Kikusui Junmai Gi).
Nearby: House of Shields; Town Hall; Harlot

The Rundown's restaurant reviews are based on anonymous visits by reporters, not press releases.

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