Tag Archives: sushi

Balboa Sushi House: San Francisco’s Slice of Small Town Japan

Balboa Sushi House, located at 402 Balboa Avenue, between 5th and 6th Avenues, is within walking ditance of campus. Hours: 12:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m., mon.-sat.; 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m., Sun. Rolls range from $3.95 to $15.95

    When you first walk into Balboa Sushi house, two things happen. First, Owner Annie Kim greets you with a heart felt welcome and an intoxicating smile. Second, you’re overcome with the unique ambiance of the place. As Annie recalls, “I spent a lot of time in Japan and loved the feel of the small town Sushi houses there, and that is what I wanted to do here.”

You get that and then some at the Sushi House, which is carefully decorated with the artwork of loyal patrons. Every piece on the wall comes with a piece
of the Sushi House’s history, demonstrated best by one of her favorite pieces, which hangs over the majority of the tables. “The kid who drew that drew it when he was five, and now he is twenty. He still comes in.”

 All sentiments aside, the sushi is the true star attraction. While I ordered, I received a complementary cup of hot tea and a bowl of edamame (boiled soybeans with sprinkled salt). Once I had sipped my tea and ate the edamame, Annie emerged from the kitchen carrying a platter of sushi so elegantly
arranged that I had to take a second to admire the craftsmanship of husband and Sushi
Chef James Kim.

On that platter I find the three rolls I ordered: the California ($4.95) the Tekka ( Tuna, $4.95) and the Rainbow ($12.95) rolls. As I took my first bite into the California roll, I was greeted by an incredible balance of sweet crab with the perfect amount of salt and fresh avocado, rolled together in premium rice. The Tekka roll was packed with a huge piece of fresh tuna and encompassed by crisp seaweed.

While those two rolls certainly satiated, my favorite without a doubt was the Rainbow roll, coated with everything from Unagi (Freshwater eel), to tuna and to shrimp. From the first bite of the California roll to the last piece of the Rainbow roll, I was in heaven. Besides the fabulous sushi, the warm service from Annie and James is what keeps fans of the Balboa Sushi House coming back for more.

As I pay my bill and leave, Annie smiles and says “Thank you, see you soon,” which she definitely will. If you’re looking
for great sushi and a warm experience, it’s hard to beat Balboa Sushi House.

Floating Fish Slabs: Warakubune Sushi Boat Best in SF

I have not yearned for many things in my life. In fact, my parents would call me fortunate. But it does not mean that I have not mastered the facial expression of being discontent and in definite want of something. It pains me to say that I wore this look of displeasure, most recently, because of sushi.

Sometimes you just don’t want to wait. Instant satisfaction is what you’re craving and it just so happens that you can have it in the form of a Japanese delicacy.

So when I sat down at Warakubune Sushi’s boat bar I expected to see a plentiful amount of colorful fish slabs floating by.

Sushi by Rachell

the Special House Roll (Rachelle Phillips/Foghorn)

This brings me to the unfortunate discontentment residing on my face: there was no sushi on the sushi boats.

Aside from three California Roll plates and a Tamago (egg) plate, there was nothing. I was ready to eat the big plastic Marlins right off of the walls.

Most would think that on a Wednesday night, a sushi boat restaurant wouldn’t be that busy. But Warakabune proves the exception – every seat around the cozy boat bar was taken.

If it’s this busy, it’s got to be good! Now if I could only try the food…

I waited and waited, and my demeanor grew more dismal by the minute. Then the chef put out a plate of octopus tentacles. It was this moment that really provoked my displeasure, which alerted the waitress.

“Would you like a menu?” she asked, cheerfully.

“I might as well,” I responded, gloomily.

Sushi by Rachell

The basic but still delicious California Roll (Rachelle Phillips/Foghorn)

I have never had to order from a menu at a sushi boat restaurant before, and to this day the thought of it still depresses me. What’s the fun in that?
After placing an order for a plate of Unagi (barbecued eel – $3.65) and a plate of Kani (snowcrab salad – $3.65), I hoped things would look up for me. The sushi was promptly delivered to me, and do believe that I made haste!

And that’s when angels began to sing. I was transported to a world that believed in peace, and love, and amazing sushi always.

The Unagi was the best I’ve had in my life. The eel was glazed and grilled so perfectly, with a slight crisp on the edge and an inside of magical fishy mush. If I could consume

Warakubune’s Unagi on a daily basis it would make for a better me.

The Kani did not fail to impress, either. The snowcrab was fresh and real – no packaged fishmeal here! My attitude was finally starting to improve.

And that’s when I saw it.

I’ve never been so excited to see a chicken wing in such an unseemly place. In my enthusiastic panic of grabbing the glistening wing off the sushi boat, I managed to smear the dark brown sauce on my forehead.

Sushi by Rachell

The fresh unagi (Rachelle Phillips/Foghorn)

The deep fried piece of teriyaki-glazed glory ($1.95) was just that: glory. It was piping hot from the deep fryer and slathered in spicy salty sticky sauce with a few sprinkles of sesame seeds.

Needless to say I inhaled it. I should have left the sauce on my forehead for a taste later.

I was beginning to get excited! Maybe the sushi chefs inside the bar stepped up their game; I could see the little beads of sweat on their temples and determination in their eyes.

Sushi began to appear on the boats. I saw Uni (sea urchin), Maguro (tuna), Tobiko (flying fish roe), and Hamachi (yellowtail). I also was pleased to see fancier rolls, one of which I grabbed.

The Special House roll ($4.25) included shrimp tempura, avocado, spicy mayo sauce, teriyaki glaze, and snowcrab salad. The combination of ingredients was delicious. The most important thing in a roll like this is that the tempura inside is still hot and crispy, which it rarely is, but here it was!

After the Special House roll I saw a seaweed salad plate ($4.25), which I’m a fan of. The seaweed was crisp and cold and the sesame oil marinade was just right.

Finally starting to feel full, I took one last plate, a basic California Roll ($1.95). The pieces were large and full of the fresh crab mixture. I added a little pink pickled ginger and some creamy fresh green wasabi – yum.

If I’ve learned anything from Warakubune Sushi, it’s that patience might actually be a virtue. Although I had to wait, and stare at plates of octopus, the sushi proved to be worth all of my prior displeasure. I award Warakabune 4 out of 5 fishes for the best sushi boat sushi in San Francisco.

Warakubune Sushi:
307 Church Street
(between 15th St. & 16th St.)
San Francisco, CA 94114
Wed-Sat: 5pm – 10:30 p.m.
Sun-Tues: 5pm – 9:30 p.m.
(415) 252-8383

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Scene Editor: Tracy Sidler

Making the Most of Your Flexi-Years

During my tenure at USF I have been afforded the ability to try nearly everything Market Café has to offer. While deeming myself an expert on cafeteria fare might be a slap to my reputation, I’m willing to admit I have the dish (pun intended) on how to eat like a king, or queen, during your Flexi-years.

Muy Bueno Burrito
It took me a long time to figure it out, but after a grueling day of classes during junior year I managed to do it. I found the perfect mixture of ingredients to make the most mouthwatering burrito. I know tastes differ, but the ingredients used to create what I like to call the Muy Bueno Burrito naturally compliment each other. The components to create a fiesta for your mouth are as follows: black beans, ground beef, lettuce, cheese and sour cream.The perfect balance lies between choice of sauce and a deliberate pass on rice within the burrito. I suggest getting salsa on the side, and although you nixed the rice nothing is stopping you from ordering it on the side. The side of rice can be a life saver if you feel overwhelmed by the glory that is the MBB. (Burrito, $6.25)

Poor Boy Bagel Sandwich
The end of my sophomore year brought new lows for my Flexi balance. A few quick calculations revealed that I had only five dollars a day for food expenses to get me through the last three weeks of school. I quickly began to search out low-cost options to keep my energy up as finals week loomed near. It was then I realized bagels were possibly the cheapest option in the cafeteria. Using some serious brain power, I discovered the condiment cart near the grill had all I needed to make a tasty veggie sandwich. Once you’ve bought your bagel, add the following: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayonnaise, pickles (on the side for sporadic munching), mustard (I prefer the Dijon) and some salt and pepper. (Bagel, $1.40)


Heather Spellacy enjoying sushi. (Emily Bogden/Foghorn)

Way-Better-than-Last-Year’s Sushi
I’m not sure how much the food has been affected by the design changes of the cafeteria, but I have concluded that the quality of the sushi has skyrocketed. The pre-packaged sushi of yesteryear was usually dried out and only contained a slice or two of ginger. The new sushi bar has brought with it two legitimate sushi chefs who make rolls that are pretty terrific. If you’re craving sushi opt for the rainbow roll. The roll includes fresh avocado, tuna and salmon (possibly some other fish too, but fish classification isn’t my specialty). I’ve never been a big fan of the spicy tuna rolls though because they always seem a bit too fishy for my taste. The California roll is fair, while the tempura rolls are hit or miss, sometimes bordering on too dry. Make sure to get some ginger, wasabi and soy sauce on the side. Edamame is an extra charge, but is a nice addition to the rolls. (Rainbow roll, $10.00)

If the three options above just aren’t cutting it, here are a few more tips. A chicken breast from the grill is a great addition to a salad from the vegan bar. The Hawaiian pizza has always been the best out of all the pizza options. On chilly foggy days (so, everyday) a grilled cheese sandwich (ask them to use both Cheddar and American, yum!) and tomato soup makes for a cozy meal. Don’t forget the power of a little salt and pepper.
The cafeteria offers a good variety, but it’s easy to get tired of the basics. Use your noggin and come up with your own mixtures. Happy dining!

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Scene Editor: Tamar Kuyumjian