Floating Fish Slabs: Warakubune Sushi Boat Best in SF

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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

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