Why San Mateo Is the Best Place to Eat Japanese Food in the Bay Area

Yoshizumi doesn’t even get a mention.

But the best known — and easily the most idiosyncratic — of the bunch is Sushi Sam’s Edomata

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Keep it our secret. ;-D


Luke Tsai’s just trying to give a sense of the diversity and quality of the Japanese scene there, not take a detailed inventory.

Yoshizumi has had a Michelin star for a while so not much of a secret.

Beard Papa, blech. The small of those imported frozen factory shells baking kills my appetite.

But Michelin star Wakuriya gets a mention? :thinking:

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It would be weird not to mention the only kaiseki place in a piece highlighting the diversity of the city’s Japanese restaurants.

Understood…but to mention Wakuriya and not Yoshizumi is still puzzling when covering San Mateo Japanese on a broad scale.

Agreed on the stale Beard Papa shells. It’s almost like smelling bleach / chlorine but a different kind of foul.

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There are at least 15 sushi bars in San Mateo. Luke named only one of them.

he had budgetary constraints

And I know there are higher-end places that I omitted just because budgetary constraints prevented me from visiting every restaurant that seemed interesting to me!

Blaming budgetary constraints is ridiculous.

Either you’re able to do the research needed to write an article that covers the restaurants that need to be covered, or you skip the assignment.


The piece is about the diversity of Japanese food in San Mateo. It covers only one place in each category in depth and mentions a very few others in passing.

The piece is about “Why San Mateo Is the Best Place to Eat Japanese Food in the Bay Area”.

Failing to even mention the one and only restaurant in San Mateo that actually offers world-class Japanese food invalidates the entire piece, IMO.


Headlines are often misleading. They’re usually written by editors more interested in attracting maximum attention rather than describing what the article is about. Luke Tsai doesn’t actually say San Mateo is better than anywhere else in the Bay Area for Japanese food, just that still it’s worth an hour’s drive. He doesn’t say any of the places he mentions are the best of their type or the best in town or offer any other sort of ranking.

Tsai isn’t necessarily in a position to judge whether Yoshizumi is better than Hashiri, Ju-Ni, Omakase, or Wako.

I can get from my place in central San Francisco to Yoshizumi in 45 min. at rush hour…
Beefnoguy and od_sf are right. To mention Wakuriya, which I feel is crap, and not talk about Yoshizumi means the reviewer has a bias.

Actually, in this case, some of the readers.

Did you mean to reply in a complete sentence?

I think the “bias” of the article is that it’s written from a more normal-income perspective. And the “bias” of many readers is to equate “best neighborhood” with an evaluation of Michelin-class food. The article isn’t about that scene at all. The Wakuriya mention is basically a throw-away sentence in the intro. It’s not like he actually reviewed the place and declared it the reason to go to San Mateo.

Actually, he didn’t review any of the places in the normal sense. Restaurants and markets were covered mainly in terms of how they fit into the history and context of the neighborhood. He wrote a lot about proprieters and customers as living people. He’s covering the reasons a whole lot of people still travel to San Mateo despite the fact that Japanese food is now everywhere. The mission statement is right at the beginning:

What, then, is the function of an ethnic food enclave once the cuisine in question goes mainstream? Or, to put it another way, is there still any reason to endure an hour-plus-long drive through traffic to eat in San Mateo?

I liked the article, and am glad it was written, even if the writer wasn’t given the budget to review the high-end places.

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You are proving our point with that “mission statement” from the piece.

There IS a reason to endure an hour-plus-long drive through traffic to eat in San Mateo.

That reason is Sushi Yoshizumi.

It is arguably the only Japanese restaurant in San Mateo that is worth sitting in traffic for.

There are sushi enthusiasts from the East Coast that make special trips to the bay are specifically to eat at Sushi Yoshizumi. I don’t think the same can be said about any other Japanese restaurants in San Mateo. So, again, major fail not to mention it.


That, in and of itself is a problem if your job is to write about Japanese cuisine for a food web site.

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Luke Tsai is a freelancer who has written a few pieces for Eater, which doesn’t have a full-time critic on its staff. He wrote weekly reviews for the East Bay Express for five years. He’s one of the most trustworthy local critics. If you imagine otherwise because you misunderstand the point of that Eater piece, that’s your problem.

I don’t misunderstand the point of the piece. I happen to think the piece is flawed, and I am entitled to my opinion. Not sure why you are taking differing opinions regarding the piece so personally.