Sushi Ran (Sausalito, CA)

Once my friend Steve’s wedding was over, we still had another day to check out more of Marin County. After considering a lot of day trips, we ended up taking the ferry to Angel Island for a day of hiking, and afterward we drove around to Sausalito again to check out one of the top-rated sushi places in the Bay area: Sushi Ran.

I’m rather glad we did. While we can get decent sushi at home, we don’t really have any places that have access to the top-rate fish, and, more importantly, don’t have sushi chefs that are really inventive. So, whenever we’re in an area that has a lot of good sushi restaurants, we like to try one out. In this case, Sushi Ran had a lot of good reviews.

However, it’s also very, very busy, so the only time we could get a reservation was through OpenTable, and the only time open was 9pm. Luckily, after we finished up with our hiking and had a brief ice cream treat and stopped for some coffee in Sausalito, we decided to drop in around 7:45 and see if any tables were available. Luckily, the hostess was able to seat us right away (we could’ve had the sushi bar instead for a ~45 minute wait, but it had already been a long day).

After reviewing the menu, we were tempted by some of the kitchen dishes (such as shaking beef), but ended up deciding to go with just sushi, in particular doing two orders of the Omekase Nigiri Special, and the Omekase Maki, just to see what the sushi chefs could do. We also started off with some truly sublime lobster gyoza, and, after we’d finished up the Omekase items, decided to try their dragon roll.

Both Omekase items were truly good in quality, presentation, and overall execution. I wish I had kept good notes, but both (at right) were the perfect blend of quality fish, good textures, and well-done seasoning. It’s very seldom that I’m able to get sushi with this level of fish quality combined with skillful combination of taste and texture.

The only thing I didn’t like about Sushi Ran was the service. While very helpful regarding recommendations and describing specials, our service was otherwise very inattentive and slow. For example, after finishing our first round of sushi and opting for a second, it took a full 20 minutes to get the waiter’s attention. Similarly, it took more than 20 minutes and two reminders after the last plates had been cleared to get us our bill. For a place that’s obviously busy, you’d think they’d like to turn over tables more quickly.

Overall, I was extremely pleased with the quality and inventiveness of our sushi, and very happy that there are a few places out there that are really interested in doing sushi right. Alas, the bill was a bit hefty, and the service a bit sub-par.

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