One of the reasons that I have such fond memories of traveling to San Francisco is the food. Actually I lied. That is the main reason that I love the city so much. I've had the pleasure of going to some good sushi restaurants in North America and Sushi Sam in San Mateo is one of them. In total I have been here three times now. The first time it absolutely blew me away. What were my impressions the next two times? It just reaffirmed my belief that this is one of the best sushi restaurants not in Japan.
Located approximately 30 minutes away from San Francisco, the restaurant appears unassuming from the outside. We went this time on a Friday afternoon for lunch and it was packed. As always, we sat at the sushi bar so that we could see how the chef works. Throughout the lunch you could tell that he was meticulous in his preparation and his hands were very quick. He was always on the go, preparing nigiri after nigiri. We ordered the omikase to test the freshness of the fish. Let's just say we were thoroughly pleased.
The thing that makes Sushi Sams special is the unique array of fishes that they have available. Honestly, by the time you get there for dinner, you may see the more popular items crossed off on their menu board (see below). We had the following: blue shrimp, butterfish, horse mackeral, copper river king salmon, long necked clam, seared toro, and fatty tuna. The pictures below will do the talking.
So how does this compare? It ranks right up there with Shiro's from Seattle which I previously reviewed. The only difference I thought was that Sushi Sam's provided more in quantity. That meant more fish and more additives. In some cases, the citrus was a little heavy on our butter fish but it wasn't so much that we thought it was bad. Sushi Yasuda in New York would still be the most authentic sushi we've experienced. Would we recommend this to anyone? Absolutely!