Gohan Japanese Restaurant
1367 N McDowell Blvd., Suite 150
Petaluma, CA 94954
Gohan is an unassuming Japanese restaurant tucked away in a shopping center in Petaluma, Calif. Inside, it has a sleek ambiance with minimalist design meant to embody modern day Tokyo. Executive Chef and owner, Steve Tam, brings many years of experience managing restaurants and has a maniacal focus on quality and local ingredients. Head Sushi Chef Takeshige Yahiro is a native of Tokyo and has more than 30 years of experience in sushi making. With an emphasis on high-grade fish, the menu offers fresh sushi with an artful presentation. Try the playful yellow submarine roll made with tempura prawns, unagi and cream cheese – all wrapped in mango, or the carburetor roll with tempura prawns and cucumber, with tobiko and snow crab salad on top.
Hana Japanese Restaurant
101 Golf Course Drive
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Rohnert Park may not seem like the likely place of an acclaimed Japanese restaurant, but it is home to Hana, which offers must-try authentic sushi and cuisine. Open since 1990, the restaurant has built its sushi menu and reputation around fresh, seasonal fish from Japan that is imported daily. Chef and owner, Ken Tominaga, comes to Sonoma County from Tokyo where he attended the Akasaka Cooking School. In the midst of culinary academia, he also trained under sushi masters where he learned traditional recipes and honed his personal style. Today, he brings customers a robust sushi menu that includes favorites like the Rainbow Roll made with tuna, yellowtail, salmon, tobiko around California roll and more personal rolls like Hana Maki with tuna, yellowtail, salmon and tobiko.
610 Main St.
Napa, CA 94559
Morimoto Napa is the creation of Chef Masaharu Morimoto of “Iron Chef” and “Iron Chef America” fame. Known as a fierce competitor who delivers creative dishes with the precision, his style is characterized by the melding of traditional Japanese recipes with Western ingredients and techniques. The menu at Morimoto Napa features dishes created with the freshest seafood and locally grown fruits and vegetables from supporting farmers. The modern décor of the restaurant offers a strong point-of-view and is equally matched by the clean and artistic plating. With more than two dozen rolls, diners have a plethora of options, including the soft shell crab roll, which features deep fried soft shell crab and is complemented by asparagus, tobiko, avocado, scallion and spicy sauce and the salmon skin roll with crispy salmon skin and kaiware.
107 Caledonia St.
Sausalito, CA 94965
Sushi Ran is situated in picturesque Sausalito, Calif. and is a self-described restaurant offering a “blend of Japanese and Pacific cuisine.” Regularly ranked among the top sushi restaurants in the Bay Area, in 2012 it received a Bib Gourmand rating from Michelin. Sushi Ran embraces the best ingredients the season has to offer, and it receives fresh fish daily locally and from the Tsukiji market in Tokyo. The sushi menu is the brainchild of Executive Chef Mitsunori Kusakabe, and is equal parts artistic and sophisticated. His refined flavors and serious skills have earned him accolades as a world champion sushi chef (EAT-Japan, Seven Sushi Samurai international sushi chef competition). His inventive menu offers rolls like spicy soft shell crawfish with cucumber, seven types of Japanese spice, umami tobiko, spicy crab and shiso and kaisen futo-maki with tuna, salmon, hamachi, ikura, uni, pickled miso daikon and three chefs’ choice.
Umi Sushi and Grill
819 4th St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
Umi Sushi and Grill is a casual restaurant located in downtown San Rafael that offers fine, traditional Japanese food. Owned and operated by husband and wife team Yoshi and Atsuko Yoshida, it has been serving sushi since 2008. An avid surfer, it seems apt that the sushi bar is situated against a mural of the ocean. It is here that Yoshida prepares traditional sushi with local, organic ingredients that embraces modern day touches. With a very extensive menu of maki and nigiri sushi, it would be nearly impossible to not find something appealing. The menu really plays up its fresh offerings, like the toro, which is blue fin tuna belly from Japan. Also find special rolls exclusive to the restaurant, like the yam cheese roll with yam tempura and cream cheese.
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Jenna Broughton can frequently be found exploring the streets of San Francisco looking for her next adventure and gastronomic delight. She has traveled far and wide, from Paris to Savannah, GA, to satisfy her adventurous palate. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.