Contrary to popular belief, sushi in San Francisco is complete crap with the exception of two microscopic sushi joints in Japantown. Both seat only a dozen guests and require reservations, which are tricky to get when neither answer the phone — and when they do, they hardly speak English.
Kiss Seafood is my undisputed favorite for impeccably fresh fish, on-par with what I’m used to back home in Hawaii. Ino Sushi has a slightly lower quality of fish, but amazing traditional tsukemono dishes (fresh pickles). Happily, I will slurp up the entire bowl of cold, crunchy cucumber slices soaked in a savory vinegar brine. I treasure the delicate paper thin slices of baby cucumbers no wider than a nickel in diameter.
At home, I attempted my own bastardized version of traditional tsukemono using a seeded English cucumber, dried wakame, and instant dashi. J and I were pleasantly surprised by the spot-on result and ate all of the pickles in just one sitting!
ino-inspired cucumber tsukemono
to pickle your fancy
* 1 Japanese or English cucumber (peeled, seeded, and sliced very thin on a mandolin)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried wakame (reconstituted for 10 minutes in cold water)
* 1 teaspoon instant dashi (dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water)
* 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
* Bonito flakes (optional)
Combine liquid ingredients in non-reactive bowl. Add cucumbers and drained wakame. Marinade in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Serve as a side dish topped with bonito flakes as a garnish.
Since these are fresh pickles, they must be served day-of or at the latest the next day, or they will get mushy.