Last weekend the fam (minus the pooches) went out for mom's birthday to - for the second year in a row - Sushi Ran in Sausalito. This is one of those places that your mother finds by reading restaurant reviews in the Chronicle and you think, eh, how fancy could a fancy sushi place be? How different is it, really, from that place down the street where I can get 2 salmon pieces and 2 ikura for like $5?
Well, to mix my food metaphors a bit, the proof is in the pudding. Sushi Ran is a spectacular combination of fine dining, traditional sushi dishes, and Pacific cuisine. No wonder we keep coming back here! While the prices are a little higher than your average Thursday night sushi dinner would usually entail, the fish cuts are perfection and even the typical rolls are given a boost.
Want to see what we ordered? Click on through...
Since we first tried Sushi Ran last year, I found a couple of shots of our dishes that show the creative side of the menu. I think the first picture above is some kind of sashimi platter my parents got (I need a little more rice with my raw fish) and the second one is a beef and tofu combo? If I recall correctly? Their menu is seasonal so it's hard to say with certainty that anything is what I think it is. Whatever it was, it was delicious.
Now, on to this year!
The scallop and spinach dumplings (below) were impeccable. There were seven bites between the four of us and we were all clamoring for more.
We got the salmon citrus roll (above), the shrimp tempura roll, and the spicy crawfish roll (which is essentially a crawfish version of their spicy spider roll.) There were no crumbs left on these plates.
Hey look! A rare brother sighting!
And he's... smiling?! It must be a special occasion indeed! (Just kidding Ty!)
Now, onto the good stuff...
Uni. And Ikura. I love me some salmon roe, and I've been wanting to try uni ever since seeing my friend Lauren's article about it, so I figured a birthday was a good occasion to splurge.
So. Well. Hm.
I loved the Ikura but that's because I already knew what the taste and texture were going to be like. Fish eggs are fish eggs are fish eggs, knowhatimsayin?
The uni was a different matter. My mother, sitting next to me, loved it - so at least none of it went to waste. And even the texture was fine on my tastebuds - I'm not too squeamish about food textures. But something about the fact that at first it's this tasteless blob, and then suddenly your mouth is hit with this kick of unfamiliar ocean-y taste, was a bit offputting. At least with extra fishy foods you can taste the same thing throughout. The hidden reveal of the uni flavor was a bit unsettling to me - but! That said, I'd love to try it again, maybe at a different restaurant or prepared differently, just to see if it was the uni or if it was me.
Again, my mom loved it. So I'm sure Sushi Ran's uni is fantastic. I'm just an uni-newb! A new-ni! Haaaa. Alright.
We were still a bit hungry so we noshed on ginger (potent ginger, let me tell you) while waiting for some veggie tempura and the pork shortribs.
These gorgeous, melt-in-your-mouth, perfectly formed nuggets of meat perfect, shortribs.
It is worth it to go to Sushi Ran for the shortribs alone. I swear to you, on my life as a pseudo-food blogger. These puppies are amazing! They're perfectly cooked, they must have been marinated and slow cooked for hours, and are accompanied by a great mix of biting vegetables and some kind of savory sauce. I just wanted to eat them straight and then lick the sauce off my fingers. And then maybe off the plate. These were that good!
For dessert? The warm toffee cake with ginger ice cream (which I recall us trying last year too), and the chocolate bombe.
Both were sweet-tooth-satisfying and just the right amount of savory (those are macadamia nuts you see above!) but the toffee cake is by far my favorite. Something about the warm and the cold, the soft cake and the solid ice cream... Ugh. Alright, I need to stop now.
Overall, this is one of those meals that truly warrants taking pictures, if only to truly remind yourself of how wonderful it was. Sometimes, when you're busy guzzling down each scrumptious course, you can forget how good the food actually is.
Don't forget Sushi Ran!