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Internationally Recognized, Locally Beloved

By Fran Edndicott Miller

Known as one of the best sushi restaurants in the nation, Sausalito’s Sushi

Ran has been a favorite of locals and visitors for more than three decades.

Key to its success is a combination of authentic food, prompt service, and

impeccable hospitality, according to owner Yoshi Tome, who has greeted

guests there personally each day since 1986.

More than a restaurateur, Tome is part diplomat and part culinary

ambassador. He is recognized as such by his longtime Marin County

community as well as by the Japanese government, for whom he consults

on culture and cuisine. The Okinawan native fell in love with the United

States in 1981, while serving in a yearlong teacher exchange program.

He later relocated to Sausalito, where for three years he managed the

restaurant he would later buy and rename Sushi Ran.

Situated on a quiet side street, Sushi Ran routinely receives accolades

from Zagat, Michelin, Travel & Leisure, USA Today, and regional

periodicals. Tome opens 70 percent of the restaurant to reservations but

saves remaining seats for locals and regulars, such as Lois and Artie Feld

of neighboring Tiburon, who for ten years have dined there every Friday

night and entrusted Tome to make their dinner selections. “It’s the best

sushi in Northern California,” says Lois.

Tome regularly visits Tokyo’s iconic Toyosu Market to select the purveyors

who provide him with the premium fish used to make Sushi Ran’s stellar

dishes. They know that the discerning Tome and his chefs (who regularly

place at the top in international sushi competitions) accept only the highest

quality provisions. The kitchen is a laboratory for innovation, and the staff

thrive on creating new ways to present the best seasonal ingredients.

Sushi Ran’s menu features a fresh, eclectic blend of classic Japanese

sushi, innovative Pacific cuisine, flavor-intense vegetarian dishes, and a

selection of beef and chicken options that satiate non-pescatarians.

The menu also features over 20 domestic and international wines by

the glass as well as an exceptional 200-bottle wine list. But Tome takes

particular pleasure in introducing guests to the joys of Japanese liquors:

whiskey, shōchū, awamori (an Okinawan-specific spirit that he is the first

in the country to carry), and, of course, sake, one of the most purely

made alcoholic beverages on the planet. It contains no sulfites, tannins,

or unnatural ingredients. Tome features, by the glass, 30 sakes of varying

styles, served in a classic wine glass rather than the traditional ceramic

sake cup. “The better to appreciate the aromas,” says Tome. In other

firsts, he offers a rosé sake, which contains red yeast, and a sake and

cheese pairing.

Long committed to giving back to his community, Tome has served as a director with the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce, was a five-term president of the Japanese Restaurant Association of Northern California, and is a key member of the Asian Chef’s Association. He is one of the founders of the Sausalito Sister City program with Japan’s Sakaide. In

response to the 2011 tsunami disaster in Japan, he and his wife, artist Suzie Buchholz (whose paintings grace Sushi Ran’s dining room walls), organized “Hope To Japan,” raising funds for disaster relief. An avid athlete, Tome is an active practitioner of yoga, hiking, and cycling.

By bringing what he loves most about his culture—hospitality, cuisine, and

sake—to the San Francisco Bay Area and continually innovating, Tome

pays homage to his heritage, celebrates his California community, and

shares all of it with his guests.


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