Tataki - Page 2

Hook, line, and sinker

This might make an interesting DIY project for the patronage, assuming no licensure issues — probably a large assumption.

The flame, which is mostly blue and not at all raging (its more like something you'd see under a chafing dish), burns down quickly, and you might not even notice it expire, since eating the actual roll is a memorable experience of fire and spice. I love spicy food and I responded to the clever combinations here, but at the same time it did seem to me that the subtleties of the fish were all but irrelevant. Nuance can get lost in firestorms.

A nice chaser to the Extinguisher would be the cold spinach ($4), with the greens "boiled ... in soy broth," as the menu grimly explains. The dish sounded almost Dickensian in its bleakness, but it turned out to be four compressed-spinach cylinders cut on the bias and arrayed upright on a plate, like a little diorama of some ancient temple. (Minor complaint: the tightly packed leaves were tricky to hack through.) A more easygoing cold dish — the Sancho Panza of such dishes in Japanese restaurants — is the seaweed salad ($4), which Tataki, in a nice twist, presents in a large porcelain ladle.

Despite mounting evidence that fisheries are collapsing from human exploitation throughout the world — the plight of the king salmon is a recent, local, and particularly disturbing example; see also the death of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland — we seem to have a vestigial confidence that the oceans are too vast to suffer real harm at our hands. If we don't see it happening, then it can't be quite real. But it is happening and it is real, and if there is going to be any kind of future for sushi and other seafood restaurants, it will be because Tataki, in its eco-prescience, turned out to be the dawn of a new day. *


Dinner: Mon.–Thurs., 5:30–10:30 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 5:30–11:30 p.m.

Lunch: Mon.–Fri., 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.

2815 California, SF

(415) 931-1182


Beer, wine, sake


Surprisingly noisy

Wheelchair accessible

Also from this author

  • The last supper

    Food writer Paul Reidinger bids farewell after more than a decade covering the San Francisco food scene

  • Radish

    Staging well-crafted feats of new all-American, neatly tucked away from the Valencia Street h-words

  • Boxing Room

    A warm Hayes Valley spot that punches up the Cajun trend with lagniappe, mirilton, and po'boys