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[whitespace] Hand To Mouth

The Ultimate Silicon Valley Sushi Listing

Akane
250 Third St., Los Altos
650.941.8150

When future Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young declares your sushi the best--in Bon Appetit, no less--it's a ringing endorsement. But what does a quarterback from Utah know about good sushi? A lot. Owner and chef Shin Kaneoya learned his craft in Tokyo restaurants and used to ride his bike to the famed Tsukiji fish market to get the day's supply. Today, he drives up to his San Mateo distributor three times a week to hand-pick the catches he'll use in his creations. That way, he says, "I know what I get is good quality--if you just call, they'll send good or bad."

Kaneoya and his chefs prepare exquisitely tasty traditional nigiri and specialty rolls. The Akane Roll is a creation built with spicy white tuna, daikon sprouts and avocado. The Akane Roll 2 is the same combo lightly fried like tempura. Still, nothing can compare with the bestselling Dragon Roll--a dreamy combo of shrimp tempura, unagi, avocado and sesame seeds--that comes slithering on a wooden block. Akane's sushi bar has a homey feel, with television sets broadcasting sports. It's small, just six chairs and a couple of tables, but you feel right at home. And if you catch Akane on a good night, you might spot a famous Forty Niner.

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Tue-Fri; dinner 5-9:30pm Tue-Sun; closed Mon


Arado Fresh Fish & Sushi
930 E. El Camino Real, Santa Clara
408.244.6827

Lunch and dinner 11:30am-11:30pm daily


Ariake Japanese Restaurant
5190 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino
408.249.8383

Lunch and dinner 11:30am-10pm daily


Azabu
375 Saratoga Ave., San Jose
408.246.3933

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Sat; dinner 5:15-9:30pm Mon-Thu, 5pm-9:30pm Fri-Sat; closed Sun


Azuma
19645 Steven's Creek Blvd., Cupertino
408.257.4057

Birk McCandless and his daughter, Laura, are regulars at Azuma--they eat there at least once a week, sometimes twice. In business for more than a quarter-century, this well-liked Japanese restaurant caters to all palates with popular Japanese dishes like chicken teriyaki, bountiful sashimi and hosamaki (rolled in toasted seaweed) in abundant, colorful displays. Tatami seating surrounds the interior, where tables are cared for by cordial young servers. Almost always crowded with regulars, Azuma is a great place to tap the collective pulse. Diners feel it in dramatic waves at the sushi bar, where chef Toshi demonstrates his skills with swift precision. Laura recommends the deep-fried tofu, an exceptional partner with sashimi. Ahi tuna remains a favorite and is attractively presented in glistening ruby slices.

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5:30-10pm Mon-Sat, until 9pm Sun


Benihana of Tokyo
2074 Vallco Fashion Park (on Wolfe Road), Cupertino
408.253.1221

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Sat; dinner 5-10pm Mon-Sat, until 9:30pm Sun


California Sushi and Grill
1 E. San Fernando St., San Jose
408.297.1847

Lunch 11am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5pm-9pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun


Dashi
873 Hamilton Ave., Menlo Park
650.328.6868

Lunch 11am-3pm Mon-Sat; dinner 5pm-9pm; 5pm-10pm Fri-Sat; closed Sun


Edo Japan
352 Eastridge Mall, San Jose
408.532.6018

Lunch and dinner 10am-9pm Mon-Sat, 11am-6pm Sun


Fuki Sushi
4119 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
650.494.9383

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Mon-Sat; dinner 5pm-10pm Mon-Sat; 5pm-9:30pm Sun


Fuji san Sushi
56 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose
408.298.3854
Other Locations:
123 Great Mall Dr., Milpitas
222 Barber Ct., Milpitas

Lunch 11:30am-2pm daily; dinner 5pm-9pm daily


Furu-Sato
1651 W. Campbell Ave., Campbell
408.370.1300

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5-10pm Mon-Sat, until 9pm Sun


Genji
1335 N. First St., San Jose
408.453.8120

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5pm-10pm Mon-Sat, until 9pm Sun


Hamasushi
20030 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino
408.446.4262

"Tongue and chic" might describe Hamasushi, an upscale staple in Cupertino since 1978. Contemporary Japanese décor, over-the-top faux flower arrangements and modern set-lighting provide a pleasant setting in which to peruse an 11-page menu of Japanese fare. You can devour their exquisite presentations in the main dining area, in one of seven tatami rooms or at the slick onyx-colored sushi bar, which seats 20. The place is a labyrinth. Gorging here can be somewhat pricey, as a single dinner entree tips the scales at $15.95, and two-piece orders of nigiri hover around $4, but the menu offers plenty of choices, even when it comes down to the soy sauce. The full bar sports more than 25 types of sake and shochu. Afterward, you can burn off calories at Club Elite, the adjoining karaoke lounge Hamasushi opened in 1991.

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5:30-10:30pm Mon-Fri, until 10pm Sat, 5-9:30pm Sun


Hatcho Authentic Japanese Cuisine
1271 Franklin Mall, Santa Clara
408.248.8500

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5:30-10:30pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun


Higashi West
632 Emerson St., Palo Alto
650.323.9378

Drop-dead gorgeous, Higashi West rules its corner of hipness between Whole Foods and University Avenue. A long sushi bar leans along one wall of the industrially chic space, and a cocktail bar lines the other. In between, everything is black--floor, bar, stools, tablecloths. Wailing rock, jazz and Latin rhythms fill the background and a slender waterfall purrs behind the sushi chefs--two at lunch, four at dinner. Crimson and alabaster fish fillets, like gems in a Tiffany showcase, wait to be shaped into astonishing specialties. The elegant vegetarian roll is an eye-popping mosaic of pickled daikon, asparagus, gobo, marinated eggplant, spinach and avocado. The garlic-crusted soft-shell crab rolled in electric-orange tobiko is intense, and the house spicy tuna roll rocks. Generous portions match the high prices (nigiri from $4.25; specialty rolls $6.50-$12). Nobody minds, because the room makes everyone look great. Patrons as glamorous as the setting swill designer sake with their sashimi and handrolls.

Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm; dinner Mon-Sat 5pm-10pm; closed Sun


Homma's Brown Rice Sushi
2363 Birch St., Palo Alto, off California Avenue, next to Icon Supperclub
650.327.6118

Dieticians have said it for decades: Brown rice is better for you because it hasn't been stripped of vital nutrients. Homma's makes no other kind of sushi. Brown rice has its own unique nutty flavor and texture that is a delicious change of pace. Those weaned on sleek sushi bars and "sake bombs" might turn right around when they see Homma's mismatched tables and chairs, but they'd be missing out--all the money saved on interior decoration goes straight to quality sushi ingredients.

The unagi is remarkably tasty. An uni (sea urchin) nigiri was marked "superfresh" on the dry erase board, and they weren't lying. The prices just weren't made for these times; the most expensive six-piece vegetarian roll is $2.60, and a deluxe nigiri combo (eight pieces) is $10.80. This is value, friends. The humble Momomayo Homma has slapped fish and brown rice together for 15 years, and he's Zen about the new designer sushi joint 50 feet away ("We're different" he surmises). Homma's is like eating in your cool uncle's kitchen--the sushi is deliciously untrendy and homemade, and you can feast and read the newspaper and nobody bothers you.

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Mon-Fri, 12:30-2:30pm Sat; dinner 5-9pm Mon-Fri; 5-9:30pm Sat; closed Sun. No alcohol, just sodas and tea


Honba Sushi
1759 Technology Dr., San Jose
408.392.0087

Lunch and dinner 10am-9pm Mon-Fri


Izakaya
1335 N. First St., San Jose
408.452.8751

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5:30-10pm Mon-Fri, 5-9:30pm Sat-Sun


Jidai-Ya
330 Lytton Ave., Palo Alto
650.325.2696

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Sat; dinner 6-10pm (last order 9:20pm); closed Sun


Kaimuki
104 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo
408.548.9320

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Tue-Fri; dinner 5:30-10pm Mon-Sat


Kazoo Restaurant
10 E. Hamilton Ave., (at Winchester) Campbell
408.871.1250
Other Locations:
Willow Glen
1165 Lincoln Ave. #10, San Jose
408.971.7755
Japantown
250 Jackson Ave., San Jose
408.288.9611

This place scores three big points right off the bat: it's clean, the food is fresh and there's seldom a wait. Of course, with the TV broadcasting across the dining room, this is an informal dining experience for hungry people who want their sushi and want it now. True to its name, at Sushi Boat you can sit at the bar and lift what tempts you off the floating barges going by (and if you're watching your pennies, pay attention to the kind of dish it's sitting on--that determines the price). Speak up if there's something you want that's not in the flotilla; the friendly chefs are happy and quick to oblige.

If you choose a table, a form makes sushi ordering easy, but don't let all this mechanical efficiency put you off. The menu is nongimmicky, portions are generous and prices are fantastic. The new Kazoo Sushi Boat in Willow Glen (it fills the spot once occupied by a Burger King, which warrants a celebration right there) is much smaller and still getting its legs but has promise as another great fueling station for a favorite food.

Campbell hours: Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5-9:30pm Mon-Fri, 5pm-9:30pm Sat-Sun


Kikusushi
1187-B De Anza Blvd., (South Saratoga and Sunnyvale Road), San Jose
408.725.1749

The building that houses Kikusushi looks strangely like a tea house collided with a Swiss chalet, but once inside diners are ushered into intimate booths and seating areas, including a small sushi bar. Kikusushi's menu highlights novelty-named specialty rolls, such as Frank's Fiasco, with cream cheese, unagi and avocado; and the Hawaiian Bagel Roll, with smoked salmon, creamed cheese, macadamia nuts, onions and cucumber. Inventions like these may be anathema to sushi purists, but they're also pretty darned tasty. You could always play it safe and order a Dragon Roll: the avocado-clad roll snakes across the plate delicately glazed with ponzu sauce, and has a savory bite. A la carte sushi portions are large and comparatively cheap for the eating; this is two-bite sushi for a one-bite price. Casual and comfortable, Kikusushi really rolls out the tatami welcome mat.

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Tue-Fri; dinner 5-9:30pm Tue-Thu; 5-10pm Fri-Sat; 5-9pm Sun; closed Mon


Kitahama
974 S. De Anza Blvd., San Jose
408.257.6449

Dinner only 5-11:30pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun


Kobe
2086 El Camino Real, Santa Clara
408.984.5623

Lunch 11am-2:30pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5-9:30pm Mon-Sat; 4:30-9pm Sun


Komatsu
300 Orchard City Dr., Campbell
408.379.3000

Komatsu and his team of workers greet and bow to all customers with unflagging enthusiasm, just as they've done since the doors opened more than 20 years ago. These talented men work fast, assembling some of the best and freshest sushi in the South Bay. Favorites include sashimi assortments full of mouth-melting tuna and yellowtail, red snapper and salmon--whatever the ocean provides. The tempura-fried soft-shell crab is crisp with delicate texture. "At Komatsu, I eat healthy, but I eat well. I never go home hungry," says Lisa O'Malley, a devotee. She favors the sashimi plate, appetizer size, with an assortment of fresh fish sliced and arranged with geometric consistency.

Lunch 2-5pm Tue-Fri; dinner 5-9:30pm Tue-Thu, until 10pm Fri, until 9:30pm Sat, till 9pm Sun; closed Mon


Kubota
593 N. Fifth St., San Jose
408.279.8440

Quietly vivacious, Japantown's Kubota looks like an East-meets-West dining club. Long gray banquettes, a curved central sushi bar of intricately laminated wood and a dramatic marble sculpture fill the dining room. The interior decorating makes for a smart showcase for Kubota's shimmering maguro and hamachi, thick octopus and Dungeness crab claws--all served with sublime rice. A la carte portions are small and fairly expensive but can be ordered in creative combinations such as the sushi and ahi salad duo. Lunchtimes at Kubota are crowded with businessmen, who fit into the streamlined décor like fish in a coin-colored river.

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5:30-10pm daily


Kyoto Palace
Pruneyard Shopping Center
2500 Bascom Ave., Campbell
408.377.6456

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Tue-Fri; dinner 5-10pm Tue-Sun; closed Mon


Mas Saki
260 S. California Ave., Palo Alto
650.321.6447

Dinner 5-10pm Mon-Thu, until 11pm Fri-Sat; closed Sun $1 Sake bombs from 5pm-8pm Mon-Fri. "Mad Sushi Mondays": $20 all-you-can-eat


Masa's Sushi
400 San Antonio Rd., Mountain View
408.941.2117

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5-9:30pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun


Matsuyama Japanese Restaurant
75 Abbot Ave., Milpitas
408.262.2305

Lunch 11am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5:30-9pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun


Michi
2220 S Winchester Blvd., Campbell
408.378.0838

Michi is proof that the cliché "good things come in small packages" can still be of use. At Michi's helm is Dong Shin. He's Korean, not Japanese, but like the Japanese masters, he's studied long and hard. Rolling at his side is Randy Musterer, who, as a teenager, worked as a deckhand on fishing boats in San Diego. This close-up knowledge of seafood serves him well. Together, Shin and Musterer make an explosive team. The place literally rocks when they're sushi-izing together at the bar. Sushi standards are transformed into palate-awakening presentations such as the sashimi combination, which glimmers under the dim lights like a disco ball. Innovative rolls include the RSM Unlimited--an assorted fish roll deep-fried tempura-style--and off-the-cuff inventions like the Shinchester, rolled with tenderized tuna, green onion and tokarashi paper, and spiked with a homemade dressing full of lemon.

Lunch and dinner 11:30am-10pm Sun-Thu; dinner 4-11pm Fri-Sat


Minato Japanese Restaurant
617 N. Sixth St., San Jose
408.998.9711

Lunch 11:15am-1:45pm Tue-Sat; dinner 5-8:30pm Tue-Thu, until 9pm Fri-Sat; closed Sun-Mon


Mitsuwa Market
675 Saratoga Ave., San Jose
408.255.6699

Open 9am-8pm daily


Miyabitei
675 Saratoga Ave., San Jose
408.252.5010

Lunch and dinner 10:15am-7:30pm daily


Miyake
140 University Ave., Palo Alto
650.323.9449
10650 S. De Anza Blvd., Cupertino
408.253.2668

Miyake is probably the closest thing the South Bay has to an izakaya, Japan's version of the local pub. The food is good, but with mirrors on the walls and sushi boats circling the bar, there's no mistaking it for a classy high-end joint. Especially when the place goes dark, the disco lights come on and the fog machine starts making things hazy. That's when customers at one table--or several tables--stand up, drop a tiny sake glass into their beer and yell, "Ichi, ni, san--sake bomb!" before throwing back their heads and slamming the fizzy concoctions.

Miyake is a good place to go for a quiet date early in the evening, but it's better later on, especially on weekends, when Stanford students and fans from up and down the peninsula crowd the tables to do sake bomb after sake bomb, and when the windows fog over and a line forms out the door. (Prudent patrons may also know that Miyake is a block from the Palo Alto Caltrain station.) The legend goes back to 1985, when the first Miyake, a narrow, dark and slightly dingy place, opened a few doors down University Avenue. The restaurant's borderline-cultish following followed to the new location a few years later, and another Miyake opened in Cupertino in 1990. The Cupertino location, it should be noted, is a more sedate affair, usually filled with peaceful suburban families. There's no smoke machine, either, but there's plenty of parking. Both places do takeout.

Palo Alto hours: 11:30am-10pm daily; Cupertino: 11:30am-10pm daily


Momoyama
1102 Saratoga Ave., San Jose
408.296.0789

Lunch 11am-2:30pm Mon-Sat; dinner 5-10pm Mon-Thu, until 11pm Fri-Sat, 4-10pm Sun


Naomi Sushi
1328 El Camino Real, Menlo Park
650.321.6902

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Tue-Fri; dinner 5-10pm Tue-Sun; closed Mon


Nikeo
1035 S. Winchester Blvd., San Jose
408.260.0255

Lunch 11am-2:30pm Mon-Sat; dinner 5-10pm everyday


Okayama
565-A N. Sixth St., San Jose
408.289.9508

Lunch 11am-2pm Tue-Sat; dinner 5-8:30pm Tue-Thu, until 9pm Fri-Sat, until 8:30pm Sun


Ringer Hut
1072 Saratoga Ave., San Jose
408.554.0877

Lunch 11:30am-4pm Mon-Fri; dinner 4-10pm Mon-Fri, 11:30am-10pm Sat-Sun


Sato Sushi
5526 Monterey Rd., San Jose
408.224.6600

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Mon-Sat; dinner 5-10pm Mon-Sat, 4:30-9:30pm Sun


Sawa
1042 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
408.241.7292

The chef and owner of Sawa refused to have his picture taken for this story. He even refused to reveal his last name. Regular customers love him, though--one claimed he approaches sushi with his "heart and soul. He makes you part of his kitchen." That said, Sawa is such a clubby place that ordinary folks looking for some decent sushi might receive a chilly reception. If you can get past this, then Sawa opens like a flower. Steve approaches his chopping block and lifts his knives with the eye of a philosopher. The fish, it is hinted, comes from a fisherman working solely for Sawa, or as Steve said with a sly wink, "my fish garden." Delicacies like giant clam, herring studded with roe, monk fish liver and Japanese crab cakes arrive unerringly sliced and arranged with samurai certainty.

Hours: Be safe and call.


Sendo Sushi
3730 N. First St., San Jose
408.433.3322

Lunch 11am-2:30pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5pm-9:30pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun


Seto Sushi
1082 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
408.248.1577

Lunch 11am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5-10pm daily


Shiki Japanese Restaurant
6229 Santa Teresa Blvd., San Jose
408.225.6454

Lunch 11:30-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5-8:30pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun


Shin
664 Blossom Hill Rd., San Jose
408.224.0600

Lunch 11am-2pm Tue-Sun; dinner 5-9:30pm Tue-Sun; closed Mon


Showgi Japanese Seafood Restaurant
5945 Almaden Expwy., San Jose
408.997.1931

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Sat; dinner 5-9:30pm Mon-Sat, 4:30-9:30pm Sun


Sono Sushi
357 Castro St., Mountain View
650.961.9086

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Tue-Fri; dinner 5-10pm Tue-Fri; 11am-10pm Sat; 11:30am-10pm Sun; closed Mon


Sushi Depot
855 E. Homestead Rd., Sunnyvale
408.737.7793


Sushi Joe
1728 N. Milpitas Blvd., Milpitas
408.719.8833

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm; dinner 5:30-9:30pm Mon-Thu, until 10pm Fri-Sat; closed Sun


Sushi Lovers
559 E. Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas
408.945.9999
3147 Mission College Blvd., Santa Clara
408.567.9899

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Mon-Sat; dinner 5:30-9:30pm Mon-Thu;, 5-11pm Sat, 5-10pm Sun


Sushi Masa
5363 Camden Ave., San Jose
408.265.3232

Lunch 11:30am-1:45pm Tue-Fri; dinner 5-9:30pm Sun-Thu, until 10pm Fri, until 9:45pm Sat


Sushi Mania
1711 Branham Ln., San Jose
408.265.3929

Lunch 11am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5-9pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun


Sushi O Sushi
2777 El Camino Real, Santa Clara
408.241.1677


Sushi on the Run
114 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos
408.354.1125

Sushi on the Run is so small you have to go outside to change your mind. Eight bar stools support 16 butt cheeks indulging in instant sushi gratification. Everyone else waits outside. What it lacks in square feet it gains in a creative menu that serves a loyal clientele. Autographed pictures of San Jose Sharks hover above, while the mascot's brethren are sliced and diced by the deadly (but friendly) hands of owner Nobo Eguchi. The menu is printed backward so you can read it against the mirror. Some specialty rolls are named for regulars, like the Paul (yellowtail, avocado, scallion, tobiko and chili) or Joe (eel, shrimp, avocado). The namesake Nobo's Benz Roll has grilled halibut and scallions. Sushi on the Run is a nice, tight spot to quickly extinguish a sushi craving while cruising along North Santa Cruz Avenue.

Lunch noon-2:30pm Tue-Sat, 12:30-3:30pm Sun; dinner 5-9:30pm Tue-Thu, until 10pm Fri-Sat, until 9:30pm Sun. No alcohol, but you can BYOB.


Sushi Oyshi
798 Blossom Hill Rd., Los Gatos
408.358.8277

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Mon-Fri; dinner 4:30-9pm Mon-Fri, until 9pm Sat; closed Sun


Sushi-Noodle Bar
1217 Wildwood Ave., Sunnyvale
408.245.5333

Lunch 11:30am-2pm daily; dinner 5-10pm daily


Sushi Tei
1036 Castro St., Mountain View
650.961.7272

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Tue-Fri; dinner 5-9:30pm Tue-Sun; closed Mon


Sushitomei
635 W. Dana St., Mountain View
650.968.3227

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5:30-9:30pm Mon-Fri, 5-9:30pm Sat; closed Sun


Sushi Zono
831 W. Hamilton Ave., Campbell
408.374.8366

After 20 years, Sushi Zono qualifies as a neighborhood institution: a friendly place with good prices, meal deals, lots of specialty items and a sushi bar that sparkles with conversation and camaraderie. Tucked into a strip mall on West Hamilton Avenue, Sushi Zono is owned by the Takeda family of Campbell. Husband Haru negotiates for the fresh fish each day, inspecting and quibbling over the shipment as necessary. Wife Akemi runs the dining room and kitchen, supervising the waitstaff and expertly managing the line that snakes to the door on weekends. Son Eibo, 21, performs the sushi chef duties the way his father has taught him. (He'd better. Dad is picky.)

Along with traditional Japanese fare, Sush Zono serves a playful list of Americana-maki, such as the Bagel Roll (smoked salmon, green onions, tobiko, avocado and cream cheese) and the Las Vegas (tuna, salmon, hamachi, green onion and avocado, lightly deep-fried). Times are tough in the restaurant biz, the owners say. But in two decades, Sushi Zono has ridden over plenty of the valley's economic speed bumps before. This one should be a piece of fish cake.

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5-9pm Mon-Thu, until 9:30pm Fri-Sat


Tengu
111 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose
408.275.9491
700 Welch Rd., Palo Alto
650.321.2066

Tengu owner Eiji Watanabe imported the fast-food-style formula for his small empire of sushi restaurants (he owns two) from Japan, where most sushi places are fast and cheap places to eat, not fancy, wallet-busting affairs. "There are a lot in Japan, these kind of sushi takeout places, but you don't see many in the U.S.," says the 1971 San Jose State alum. Watanabe prides himself on being inexpensive, but also healthy--the nutrition info for each dish is up on the wall. He recently added his first fried item--deep-fried shrimp combo--to the menu, "because so many people were asking for the tempura and deep-fried things, but I use a light vegetable oil."

The most popular lunch item, Watanabe says, is the chicken teriyaki combo, with teriyaki chicken, rice and six California rolls ($5.95). The essential accompaniments to sushi are also priced attractively: Sapporo and hot sake are both $2.50. With colorful red walls, bright red tables, oversized photos of menu items and a constant stream of pedestrians passing by the windows, Tengu feels like it could be around the corner from Tokyo's Shinjuku Station. The only things missing are expressionless salarymen and teenage girls intently thumbing text messages into slim, pink cell phones.

San Jose: 11am-9pm daily. Palo Alto: 11am-8pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun


TGI Sushi
100 W. Hamilton Ave., Campbell Ave.
408.871.0123

They Deliver!


Todai
Vallco Fashion Park
10123 N. Wolfe Rd. #2001, Cupertino
408.996.3444
Eastridge Mall
388 Eastridge Mall #A-21, San Jose
408.270.8301

Todai is short-attention-span dining. The buffet chain is predominantly based in malls--at the Eastridge Mall location, the ceiling is painted Marge Simpson blue, the waitstaff hustle by in happi coats and sushi chefs at the nigiri station slap and roll the stuff like it's an Olympic competition. A sushi buffet sounds like an oxymoron, but Todai doesn't just limit itself to Japanese dishes. Pan-Asian and just plain odd specialties rotate. Baked fish, Cajun crawfish, scallops, snow-crab legs, baked lobster thermidor, fried rice, miso soup, teriyaki chicken are offered. Diners in search of truly fine sushi will know better than to head here, but for belt-notch fulfillment, the buffet is hard to beat.

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm, daily; dinner 5:30-9pm Mon-Thu, Sun, 6-10pm Fri-Sat

Buffet Pricing: Lunch, $12.95, $14.95 weekend; dinner $21.95, $22.95 weekend. Children 5 feet and under are half-price, 4 feet and under $5.95, 3 feet and under $3.95, 2 1/2 feet and under FREE


Tokyo Bay
224 N. Abel St., Milpitas
408.263.1472

Lunch 11am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5-9:30pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun


Tokyo Sushi
1663 Lundy Ave. #G, San Jose
408.452.8868

Lunch 11am 2:30pm daily; dinner 5-9:30pm Mon-Thu, until 10pm Fri-Sun


Tomisushi
4336 Moorpark Ave., San Jose
408.257.4722

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5:30-9:30pm Mon-Fri, 5-9:30pm Sat, 5-9pm Sun


Tomo Sushi
5487 Snell Ave., San Jose
408.226.0700

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5-10pm Mon-Fri; 4-10pm Sat; 5-9:30pm Sun


Truya Sushi
3431 El Camino Real, Santa Clara
408.244.4534

Lunch 11am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5-10pm daily


Tsugaru Japanese Restaurant
224 E. Jackson St., San Jose
408.275.1493

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5-9:30pm Tue-Fri, until 9pm Sat; closed Sun


Tsunami Sushi
21271 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino
408.996.8886

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Sat; dinner 5-10pm daily


Umi Sushi
5353 Almaden Expwy. #46, San Jose
408.448.2500

Lunch 11am-2:30pm Mon-Sat; 5-9pm Mon-Sun


Wasabi
2277 El Camino Real, Santa Clara
408.248.8881

Lunch and dinner 10:30am-10pm daily


We Be Sushi
592 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
408.733.7423

Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Mon-Sat; dinner 5-9pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun


Yakko
975 W. Dana St., Mountain View
650.960.0626

The jar of tiny squirming crabs on Yakko's bar lets you know you're in a serious sushi sector. High-tech regulars form the hard-core clientele here, most of whom are on a first-name basis with chef Okio Motoyama, who reigns efficiently over his smooth-as-silk sushi empire. "They're like crunchy fried shrimp," says one female regular, inhaling a deep-fried order of the baby crabs, sawagani. "My favorite is the dragon roll," she adds, pointing to the psychedelic creation of avocado, prawn and eel topped with tobiko snaking across her glazed plate.

The nigiri is textbook, the tekka maki with shiso the stuff of addiction and the specialty rolls, like the rock & roll, are flawless. Run by an army of crisp, efficient women, the place throbs with lunch hour euphoria. Traditional and vivacious, Yakko offers tatami rooms and a sea of tables, all clustered around the central shrine. Possibly the smoothest sushi act in the South Bay.

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri; dinner 5:30-9:30pm Mon-Fri, until 10pm Fri-Sat, until 9pm Sun


Yuki Sushi
1827 Pruneridge Ave., Santa Clara
408.248.9144

Waiting in line for a table at Yuki is an experience that the shoe-box-sized restaurant's faithful regulars have come to expect. Since opening in the '80s, Yuki's reputation as a family-friendly hideout has kept the clientele coming. The menu is extensive, and traditional dishes spar with specialties like the Toshi Roll ($4.50), a marriage of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, avocado, cucumber and pickled gobo root. Sushi and nigiri can be ordered in combination with more familiar dishes like chicken teriyaki ($8.45) or tempura ($9.95). As you're sitting outside in the cold, lean back and rest assured--the portions are worth the wait.

Lunch 11:30am-2pm Tue-Fri; dinner 5-9:30pm Tue-Sat, until 9pm Sun; closed Mon


Yuri
3236 S. White Rd., San Jose
408.270.7993

Lunch 11am-2pm Mon-Sat; dinner 5-9:30pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun


Zanotto's Family Market
40 S. Second St, San Jose
408.977.1333

Open 8am-8pm Mon-Fri, Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 10am-7pm


Sushi bar reviews were written by Corinne Asturias, Todd Inoue, Joe Izzo, Jeff Kearns, Gary Singh, Traci Vogel and Christina Waters.


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From the May 2-8, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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