408 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
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KOO

Neighborhoods: Inner Sunset
Cuisine: Sushi, Japanese, Gluten Free

KOO is a Sushi, Japanese, and Gluten Free restaurant where most Menuism users came for a family meal, paid between $25 and $50, and tipped between 15% to 18%.

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  • 12/13/2015

    A dining patron from San Francisco, CA tried it.

grubalicioussf photo

grubalicioussf

 San Francisco, CA
 

Crazy for sushi at Koo in the Inner Sunset

No doubt about it, Koo excels at serving fresh sushi and sashimi. Chef/owner Kiyoshi Hayakawa (Sushi Ran, Ace Wasabi’s,Tokyo GoGo) turns out fresh fish with daily specials out of his simple, clean digs on Irving Street. They have fusion dishes, too, but the sushi bar items are really their strong suit. Service here is courteous and efficient. They have a nice selection of sake and my husband likes the fact that they serve Asahi Black which is pretty hard to find at many restaurants in SF.

Be forewarned that parking can be difficult in the neighborhood, especially on weekend nights, and it can be tough to get a table if you don’t plan ahead. Just be sure to make reservations and give yourself extra time to park.

We recently discovered that they don’t like to do substitutions. My son wanted to have white rice instead of potatoes with his chicken teriyaki but they said they couldn’t do it. So, we had to order a bowl of rice on the side.

Still, this is one of my favorite places to go for sushi with my husband and friends.

Saba (Mackerel)

I like saba to be very strong in flavor – “fishy” and lemony – and their marinade is not as potent as some other places in the city. Still, it’s very good, always fresh and a nice texture.

Duck Breast Salad at KOO

Duck Breast Salad

You get two layers of thinly sliced marinated duck with mixed greens in a mustard, ginger-pineapple sauce. My husband is a huge fan of duck and absolutely loved this dish.

Shrimp and vegetable tempura at KOO

Shrimp and vegetable tempura

Hearty portion of slightly greasy, slightly heavy batter with shrimp and veggies like carrot, sweet potato, broccoli and mushroom. A popular item with my kids.

Steamed Scallop and Shrimp Dumpling at KOO

Steamed Scallop and Shrimp Dumpling

It looked pretty but didn’t have much flavor on its own. The dumplings are better once dipped in ponzu sauce as well as the chili oil and mango sauce drizzled on the plate.

A Spoonful Of Happiness at KOO

A Spoonful Of Happiness

Such a perfect name for this dish! You receive two wonton soup spoonfuls: one with uni (sea urchin), quail egg, tobiko and ponzu sauce; the other with ankimo (monkfish liver) wrapped with whitefish, ponzu and truffle oil. A shot of dry sake accompanies this. The first is smooth and creamy and the second bursts with flavor. Wow.

Wild Aji (Spanish mackerel)

I love the sushi here, you get two pieces per order and it comes with a big slice of fish atop a smaller bed of rice, just like it should. The Spanish Mackerel is soooo tasty, I always have it when it’s on their menu. They put thinly chopped green onions on top, it’s so flavorful.

Otoro

This was a bit of a splurge, two pieces for $15, but it was definitely worth it. It was so succulent and fatty, really indulgent.

Nasu (Japanese Eggplant)

I’m kind of picky about eggplant, it can’t be too al dente or too soft. Here, it’s always the perfect consistency and really tasty. It comes wrapped with a thin strip of nori to keep it in place.

Chicken Teriyaki at KOO

Chicken Teriyaki

It is not the traditional teriyaki I grew up eating. It comes atop mashed potatoes (they call it potato salad) and has a sweet, fruity chutney instead of classic teriyaki sauce. My husband enjoyed it but my son and I prefer the traditional kind.

King Wild Salmon

It’s not always on the menu, but when it is, it is so tender and fresh.

Tombo (Hawaiian albacore tuna)

Another really tender, tasty fish I recommend when it’s on the menu.

shaomai photo

shaomai

 San Jose, CA
 

Many Spoonfuls of Happiness!

While many of the dishes here were good, it was the Spoonful of Happiness dish that will make this a memorable eating experience for me. It’s actually 2 spoonfuls of happiness, accompanied by a sweet sake shot. One spoonful contains 2 large chunks of uni, a quail egg, and tobiko swimming in a pool of ponzu, while the other contains some perfect ankimo, wrapped in whitefish, drizzled with truffle oil. It is heavenly! though this is a starter, we wished it was served at the end of the meal, so we could savor the flavor all night!

As for the other food, it was all good, and fairly priced – not cheap, but not expensive either. I’ve heard some great things about the omakase, served at the sushi bar, and definitely would like to go back and try it. The rolls were unusual and creative. A little on the small side, but I prefer that so I can try more things. Their “catch of the day” sushi menu contained some unusual fish that I’ve never seen before (e.g., mexican black sea bass). The only sushi I had on this trip was the Kona Kanpachi, and it was good… but wasn’t amazing. So I’m not quite sure how much I enjoy the sushi/sashimi here yet, but it’s a good place for rolls and japanese small dishes. They also have some nice girly sakes, like their Lychee Sake. That was nice, light, and sweet. Hardcore sake drinkers will probably just think it tastes like juice, but I liked it.

The restaurant is small and cozy, but unlike most Japanese restaurants, they do take reservations, which is great. I came here on a Thursday evening following the July 4th holiday, and it was full pretty much the whole time, but there wasn’t a line of people waiting, so walk-ins are probably fine on weeknights. I called for a reservation at 5:30 pm the day of and got one easily.

The only thing negative about this place is that they are a little low on staff – it could be b/c of the holiday people were on vacation, but though service was friendly, they were a little slow.

Overall, really enjoyed this place and look forward to trying more things off the menu! And a few more spoonfuls of happiness.

A Spoonful Of Happiness at KOO

A Spoonful Of Happiness

perfection in a spoon. pretty much everything I love about japanese food in 2 bites.

Azteca Roll

Only ok. I didn’t like how hard and crunchy the carrot was in comparison with all the softer parts of the roll. Not that spicy either, so not much of a kick.

Tokyo Crunch Roll

Flavorful with a great crunch.

Mt. Fuji

Unique with the white chocolate filling, but really dense. Served cold, it’s not really a lava cake so much as a big pyramid shaped truffle.

BonnieNg photo

BonnieNg

 San Francisco, CA
 

Yes - this is one of the best sushi's I've had...

Yes – this is one of the best sushi’s I’ve had in the States – brings back memories of having sushi in the Tokyo Tsukiji Fish market! We were lucky to be served by the owner and had the Omakse. The “Spoonful of Happiness” dish was amazing – there were layers and layers of flavors that explodes in your mouth. Highly recommend the restaurant!!!

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Tags
Sushi Sunset District Uni
Website
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Hours
Fri-Sat 05:30PM - 11:00PM
Sun 05:00PM - 10:00PM
Tue-Thu 05:30PM - 10:30PM
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grubalicioussf

San Francisco, CA
+396 useful

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AliceC

Dallas, TX
+86 useful

KOO  Restaurant Reviews

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KOO is located near the cities of Hayes Valley, Mission District, , Chinatown, and Haight Ashbury.
People found this by searching for: Is Koo In Sf Cheap, Koo San Francisco, Spoonful, Spoonful Of Happiness, Chicken Teriyaki, Koo サンフランシスコ, and A Spoonful Of Happiness.