Sushi Sam’s Edomata in San Mateo is, so far, my all-around favorite sushi restaurant in the Bay. Yes, there are some really great sushi restos in Japantown in San Francisco proper, but Sushi Sam’s delivers fresh fish and the sushi purist’s rolls at a very reasonable price point.
I like to think that I know my sushi. I wrote my senior thesis at Yale on sushi in post-World War II America. But, more importantly, I grew up eating sushi in LA from a young age, starting with nibbles of tuna until my palate and curiosity developed enough to try anything, everything. And my palate’s 20+ years of sushi eating experience tells me that Sushi Sam’s is legit.
For special occasions, order the omakase (literal translation: “I’ll leave it to you”), and Sam will do the choosing: the freshest and best picks of the day.
But for a recent pop into the restaurant, I ordered my standard favorites: Super Sam Special roll, California roll, Dragon hand roll, spicy tuna roll, amaebi nigiri (addicted to those fried shrimp heads that come with), baby lobster nigiri, and tamago nigiri. On days that I’m feeling more flush (with money), I’ll also order the albacore, yellow tail, uni and ika.
I used to think of tamago (the Japanese egg omelette) as a guilty pleasure. But I was vindicated by the sushi documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi that a well-executed tamago is a sign of a great sushi chef. And I couldn’t agree more.
The desserts are also excellent. It’s rare to find a sushi restaurant that serves up dessert that can stand up to excellent sushi. My favorite is the green tea tiramisu but often crave that sesame ice cream.
Reservations are key to eat at a reasonable hour. Or else, plan on eating early or late. This is definitely not a hidden gem. But it’s worth the wait and the work to eat the best in the Bay. xx
Sushi Sam’s Edomata
218 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo, 94401
ph: (650) 344-0888