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I write about the San Francisco restaurant scene, from cheap eats to fine dining, ethnic foods to all-American, tried and true spots and soft openings of new places. Follow me on my gastronomic journey! Be sure to visit me at



 408 Irving St
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.


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.


The Richmond Restaurant and Wine Bar

 615 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA

The House

 1230 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA

The Alembic Bar

 1725 Haight St
San Francisco, CA

Luna Park

 694 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA
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