I try to eat at the local restaurants at least twice before I post about it on MED, since I like places with consistency. Because I'm really just a recreational food blogger (not that there are professionals, I don't think...), my focus isn't so much on finding and covering as many Bay Area restaurants as it is on my food pictures and my ramblings on food as my favorite art and cultural accomplishment.
Since I am one of those boring people who can eat at the same restaurant over and over and over again, I don't get around . Actually, if anything my eating habits revolve around one or two restaurants and/or dishes at a time. I went though a serious case of ramen addiction and shabu shabu dependency, where I was driving 45+min (and crossing one bridge) several times a week...
These days, I've been so busy at work that I don't have the energy to cross any bridges or to drive particularly too long for a dependable, good meal. So, the Papa and I have been scouting the local food boards in both English and Japanese in search of my 'next phase' restaurant.
I'm happy to report that we've found one!!!
Sushi Yoshi in Newark is a charming, lovely Japanese restaurant. As the name suggests, the house special is sushi, although there is a respectful array of 'izakaya' type cooked dishes as well. Everything I have had here has been carefully prepared in a very warm way. Many of the dishes have the same nourishing touch that reminds me of the dishes my grandfather made for me.
The fish is fresh and treated with care. Saba is house-marinated, tamago is cooked in-house, and the specials change daily to reflect what is good at the market. That means the Chefs, Yoshi-san and Tani-san, will not always be able to provide uni or toro consistently, but when they do offer it, it will be good.
This (real) crab gunkan-maki (battle ship roll) is a dish from my childhood. I LOVED crab all throughout my childhood, but because I didn't have the most developed of coordination or patience, I often stumbled while getting the meat out, frequently giving up mid-process. The crab gunkan-maki was my way of avoiding all the hassle of crab consumption. The crab here was plentiful (as you can see!), sweet, juicy, and deliciously satisfying.
"Dependable" and "bold" are the words that come to mind when I think of the sushi at Sushi Yoshi. This place is definitely not hipster or flashy. It doesn't claim to be the sushi joint to try to newest and trendiest. It is where one can get very down-to-earth sushi that is like those served and enjoyed by families in Japan.
The Chef is very skilled and extremely attentive, but not in the least bit arrogant or overbearing. He may be the most generous sushi chef I've ever met, including all the Chefs in Japan with whom I've shared a glass of sake. It seems like his goal is to provide a comfortable space for tired workers to come convene at the end of the day and share a good meal and drinks to rejuvenate and relax. Both Chefs are most accommodating, pulling out surprises that only chefs with skill can accomplish, like the thin-sliced hirame treat my neighbor at the counter enjoyed. The Chef is known to be generous with sake, as many other online posts report, and at the counter, he will treat his customers to the very best with generous over-the-top pours without hesitation. The general atmosphere really is that of warm welcome - that he and his team want to reward everyone that comes through their door for the hard work they've put in during the day.
Prices are surprisingly moderate here for the quality of food and service. There are many places in Pleasanton with less quality that charge more. Being around for ten years, they seem to have the timing and stock just the right amount of food to go through, since everything tastes and looks fresh and pristine. They have the standard sushi stand-bys, along with the more advanced Japanese items, like mentaiko (spicy fish roe) and tori-gai (a yummy shellfish). I highly recommend sitting at the bar and engaging the Chefs on what's good on that day and letting them know how 'advanced' you want to be. You won't be disappointed.
Sushi Yoshi is a restaurant I don't have to 'gear up' to go. It's somewhere I can drop in after work and know that they will take good care of me.