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
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.