408 Irving St (5th/6th Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94122
Since 2004, Koo has been serving up Japanese food in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset district. It is a small 42 seat place neighborhood place.
The chef worked at Sushi Ran, and partnered to opened Ace Wasabi’s and Tokyo GoGo. As they put it: “47-year-old Kiyoshi celebrates the best of old-world Japanese cuisine, featuring excellent cuts of fresh fish expertly prepared and beautifully presented, and treads where no sushi chef has gone before–breaking every old-school sushi rule with new-world menu items that could be categorized as downright blasphemous.” The place is near the top of the Zagat’s guide, so we had to give it a try.
Decor, Vibe – This is not an overly fancy place. Pretty low key. No million dollar fancy decor. It is a small step up from a typical neighborhood sushi place decor wise. Lots of families, groups, and couples enjoying food.
Koo Menu Pictures
Catch of the day
A Spoonful of Happiness ($10) Spoonful of Uni, Quail Egg, Tobiko, Ponzu & Ankimo wrapped with whitefish, Truffle-Oil & a shot of chilled Sake was 2 nice sized soup spoons of delight. Both items were fresh and flavorful. This is not as small as you think it might be. The Sake made for a nice palate cleanser to chase the flavors down.
Sashimi Combo ($20) 12pcs of Four different fish of the day ( Chef’s Choice). We actually got 3 extra pieces of salmon, which is the case with other top notch places. The fish was fresh even though it was Sunday. Salmon, Maguro, Hamachi, and Halibut were the choices today. Very good.
Hamachi Kama ($13) Broiled Hamachi Kama with Ponzu and graded Daikon Radish is the classic filet mignon part of the fish that many overlook. The sauce was a little too sour but the fish cooked just right and tasty. The skin was crispy and delicious. Pretty big piece too.
Beef Tataki ($12) Chilled sliced shoulder tender loin with apple ginger soy was a seared beef dish with heavy soy flavor. Tasted pretty good and had a good amount of beef too.
Mochi Ice Cream ($4) Strawberry & Mango with home made cookies was delicious. Wish there were more, but at $4 you could order another one.
Kuro-Goma Mousse ($4) Black Sesame Mousee had a sweet honey glaze on top. This is more of an Asian dessert that some might not like, but we liked its low key subtle flavor.
Small Wakame Salad, Miso soup, Rice ($6 w/any plate order) had above average quality side dishes. Definitely worth getting.
Bamboo Tower ($13) Crystal Sesame-Ponzu, Mizuna Green with Fresh White Fish, Scallop and Shrimp ( for 2 or more ) consists of Japanese greens fused with raw seafood and a very light dressing. A weird combination for us even though quality of all ingredients was top notch.
Chicken Teriyaki ($10) Chutney-Teriyaki glazed thighs of Chicken had a sauce that was too sweet. Quality of the chicken was good as was quantity. No burnt chicken rookies here.
Koo has a classic sushi menu, but we decided to go for items that the waiter recommended. No reason not to explore! Service was pretty good, with no worries about empty tea or water glasses. Servers were running around this tiny place. Prices are reasonable for the quality of product they produce. The fusion aspect of the food keeps things interesting. Having the classic sushi menu around is helpful for those who do not want to explore. We would only rate top notch places like Sushi Ran and Nobu higher than this spot. Koo outdoes most other Japanese restaurants.
Koo is a small place, so reservations are essential. Their wine list is tiny, so bring your own wine. Corkage is only $12. Great place to visit after hitting Golden Gate Park. Parking along Lincon way is the best bet.