Japanese Cooking That Moves the Soul........................by Chronicle

Overall 1/2
Food 1/2
Service
Atmosphere


Japanese Duo Downtown and in the Sony Metreon Center that's noted for serving "always reliable", "unbelievably fresh sushi"; although the "simple dosen't worth noting", fans insist the "focus is on the food", where it should be. ...........ZAGAT SURVEY 2001

Food..........24
Decor........14
Service......17
Cost...........$27


Sanraku Four Seasons....... Not long ago a friend threw a birthday party for her husband at Sanraku Four Seasons, the peaceful Kaiseki dining wing of the popular downtown sushi bar and restaurant. She called ahead to arrange for an eight-course meal that included, in ritual order, zensai(appetizer), suimono(soup), sashimi(raw fish), kuchinaoshi(a little break), agemono(fried food), yakimono(broiled food), rice, pickles and miso soup and dessert. Our small group was liberated from ordering and free to concentrate all our attentions on the birthday celebrant. As we talked, the food arrived on a charming array of pottery, porcelain, ironware and lacquer, each dish tastier than the next. The appetizer included tiny portions of spicy squid cut into threads and sprinkled with flying fish roe; cold chunks of steamed white fish napped in white miso paste; a julienne of bright orange burdock root sprinkled with seamed seeds., Next came a clear seafood soup scented with shiitakes and capped with egg custard. The sashimi course has been an East-West affair that juxtaposes slices of different raw fish with a stunning salad of red and green seaweeds and tiny Western lettuces. The "break" might bring pretty vegetable-wrapped sushi; the fried course an exotic tempura . Butter tender slices of steak in a Japanese-style barbecue sauce always seem to make an appearance followed closely by the rice and pickle course. Refreshing desserts like a miniature pear poached in honey syrup or green tea ice cream marbleized with a green tea sauce garnished with intricately carved fresh fruit end these ample meals. The cooking here is accessible to practically everyone, with nothing really too arcane for Western palates. The season governs the choice of foods included in this traditional sequence, a lovely way to eat. ..............by San Francisco Examiner Magazine