I had a very good meal at Sebo sushi, on Hayes Street, on Friday night. It was the first serious sushi restaurant that I have been to where the owners are white. The vibe is modern and cool. The sushi chef Danny has Japanese tattoos on his arms - more landscapes than the hokey words you sometime see gringos get.
Sebo only has a few maki rolls on its menu - no california or spicy tuna rolls on offer. They offer Tokyo style sushi. They have high qualit fish and a good variety too; with shipments from Japan. One thing which surprised me is that they do not serve salmon sushi - Danny said that it was not a traditional item in a Tokyo/Edo style sushi establishment - if salmon was served it would be served cooked.
I sat at the sushi bar and said omakase no shellfish. I began with a miso soup, which was fine. Next up was a plate of 4-5 kinds of sashimi including maguro, hamachi (yellowtail) and amberjack. The quality was good and they only serve wild fish, which is why I suspect that this maguro and hamachi were much better than usual.
The sushi was next and was served in two pieces to an order. The pieces were small, which was good as they could be eaten in one bite. Japonica this was not!
The wasabi is freshly grated and was used in a more appropriate portion size than at Ino. Spanish mackeral, maguro, chu toro, otoro were all served. I asked for and had some ikura as well. Probably 3 other kinds of fish. The best were the hamachi and the chu toro.
I enjoyed being able to interact with the sushi chef; some chefs are more reserved, but Danny (and his business partner who was behind the counter as well) were very sociable. The restaurant is also known for its sake list. They had about a dozen sakes on the list, all available by the glass or bottle. Mos in the $8 - $12 per glass range. The sake is supplied by True Sake, the premier sake store in SF, which happens to be down the block, and I am told the list changes often. I had glasses of 2 of the drier sakes, both of which were enjoyable. I will try and get the names next time I go.
Overall I thought this was a great option, more fun than Kiss or Ino and as good or better too. Plus it is only 2 blocks from my house. This could get to be an expensive habit. Was about $100 or so all in. It was not as good as Yasuda, but then again I could (and did) sit for several hours at the sushi bar. Not as good as Sushi Zo or Echigo in LA (although much nicer atmosphere than either of them) but better than some of my other standbys in LA such as Irori, Kiriko or Nagao.
Sebo does not take reservations and was only half full when I was there on a friday night. I think when they are busier the wait can be annoying but as I did not experience this, I can't comment. The pacing was on the slow side, but that was fine by me as I was not in a rush. The other customers at the bar were regulars, it has a hip neighborhoody vibe.
Due to its proximity, I think I'd rather invest my sushi meals at Sebo, than try some of the other places in the city as most are not "destinations".