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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sonoma County Restaurants: Tosaki Sushi, Sebastopol

Tosaki Sushi - Sebastopol

My artist friend, Annie Murphy Springer, took me to a sushi restaurant in Sebastopol and I was fascinated by the food and artistic skills of the owner/chef Anson Lin. The restaurant is a Japanese Sushi Grill and Anson creates HOUSE SPECIAL ROLLS which are really works of art.

Anson Lin, an artist, went to Chinese Opera School in China when he was twelve years old. Along with their academics, students learn all the functions and skills associated with Chinese Opera. Anson attended from 1990 to 1997, then went to work as a performer in a Chinese Opera Company for the next two and one-half years. Anson’s dream was to come to California and open a Chinese Opera School here in the Bay Area. He arrived ten years ago and spent two years learning Japanese style cooking from two expert chefs from Tokyo. He bought his restaurant in August of 2008. He devotes his time between this business and working in the bay area with young students to learn Chinese Opera. He is fulfilling his dream of creating a Chinese Opera School here in northern California.

While learning recipes and techniques for Japanese food, Anson added his own artistic creativity ‘drawing’ with the sauces as he puts together a particular specialty plate. A menu shows photos of the dishes and their names for you to make your selection of his HOUSE SPECIAL ROLLS. He created a “California Sun Roll” which is mainly crab meat and avocado. The arrangement is designed with sauces to look like the sun rising behind the sushi. He has a “Phoenix Roll” that looks like the phoenix rising from the ashes. Some of the SPECIAL ROLLS feature raw fish and others are cooked, so customers can choose their preference. One celebrates the Apple season around Sebastopol and another is called “Snow Roll” and shows a tree (actually a brown sauce on white background) representing the ‘good life’. His Kamikazi Roll consists of unagi, cream cheese and a spicy tuna topping. These HOUSE SPECIAL ROLL selections each include about eight pieces of sushi and range from $12.95 to $14.95.

There are 19 unique appetizers that tempt me to try them all. For example a scallop with cream cheese and avocado topped with a spicy sauce and tobiko. The full menu for TOSAKI SUSHI includes much more than the specialties described above. For example there is a COMBO selection of eight meals. Each is served with Miso Soup, Salad and 3 pieces of CA roll and you choose from Tempura with beef or salmon Teriyaki, or Tempura & Tai Katsu or Ton Katsu, or Salmon Teriyaki & Saba shioyaki or chicken selections. The tempura is absolutely delicious – so light and crispy. These combos are $17.95 and fill you up. Dinner entrees are also served with Miso soup, salad and rice and there are nine selections which include Tempura, Teriyaki, Shioyski, Katsu and more. These entrees range from $12.95 to $14.95. If you are a noodle fan, as I am, you can get noodle soups-$7.95 and $8.95; or Doburi (rice bowls with a selection of chicken,pork cutlet, beef, or broiled eel) served with soup and salad $7.50 to $8.95. Sushi lunch specials are $11.95 and include selections of sushi along with the soup and salad. Of course you can individually order your choice of Sashimi, Nigiri Sushi, Sushi Combos and Noodles and enjoy with a glass of saki. By the way, the ice tea is very good.

I must mention a different feature whereby customers fill out a special card that tells Anson their favorite fish, vegetable, flavors, tastes, whether they like it crunchy or spicy, if they want Tobiko, etc. Then Anson will design and prepare that plate for you. The results are individual works of culinary art basically requested by the customer. “Fire On Love” was designed for a couple on their honeymoon. “Green and Black” was created based the request of a customer who is a vegetarian. Another, the “Titanic Roll” features spicy tuna with a crunchy topping and Lobster, Toro and Sliced Cucumber. These are three of the customer request dishes that Anson has added to his menu.

TOSAKII SUSHI is located at 799 Gravenstein Highway S. in Sebastopol. (The restaurant is on the east side of the highway directly behind McDonalds at the back of the parking lot.) They are open Monday through Saturday from 12:00 noon to 3:00 for lunch and 4:30 to 9:00 for dinner. Closed Sunday. Phone number is 829 0892.