I recently had the chance to dine at Robin in San Francisco. It's a relatively new sushi restaurant that's gotten some very good reviews. The chronicle gave a great review, as did SFweekly.
One thing that's interesting about Robin is there is no set price for their omakase tasting menus. You give the staff your price range (currently the options are $79 to $179) and they curate a meal based on the price. The more expensive you go, the more courses you get and/or you get higher quality ingredients. I suspect some of the dishes below would get extra truffle, extra caviar, etc.
Without any idea of what to go for, we just went with a $100 price per person. Later on, we upped this to $120 to get a few more courses because we didn't think we'd be quite full by the end. So this is what we ended up getting. Because there was no printed menu, I don't remember the ingredients in every dish, so I list what I can recall.
1) sea bream sashimi w/ pomegranate, pistachio, and chile
Overall, a good starting sashimi dish. A combo of flavors that I hadn't really seen before.
2) skip jack, trout w/ persimmon, and sea bream
The skip jack and trout were my favorites. I thought the slice of persimmon on the trout was interesting.
3) nori chip, wagyu, uni, asian pearl, shallots
This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. Lots of great flavors and textures all mixed together.
4) red sea bream, salmon with tomato & basil, hamachi with grapefruit & pepper
The salmon with tomato and basil was an interesting combination. Sort of an italian take on sushi. Not bad but not a favorite.
5) albacore tuna with ponzu sauce
Pretty good, although albacore is not my particular favorite fish.
6) crab dashi with sunchoke and Japanese greens
Overall really good, although there wasn't a lot of soup. But it's a good break from all the fish.
7) blue fin tuna, seared big eye tuna with salsa, big eye tuna
The blue fin on the left was good. The other tuna was pretty good, but big eye tuna isn't a personal favorite of mine.
8) sesame ramen noodles with chimichurri and truffles
I did not expect to see something like this on the tasting menu. Sesame isn't my favorite flavor, but overall this was quite tasty.
9) uni donburi with uni whip cream and salmon roe
This was probably my favorite dish of the night. The ikura & uni by itself was delicious, but the uni whip cream gave it this extra creaminess.
10) potato chip with caviar
I had seen pictures of this nigiri online and was not expecting much, but it was actually quite tasty. I wasn't particularly fond of the texture differences between the rice and potato, but I can see why a lot of people would like it. My +1 really liked the texture difference.
11) mackerel, toro, uni with emulsified egg yolk
I love mackerel and the mackerel on the left was delicious. The emulsified egg yolk sauce on top of the uni on the right was basically pure umami. With the uni, rich and creamy and delicious.
This is the point in the meal where the waitress said we were at our last savory course and we told her to bump up our omakase from $100 to $120. So I suspect the $20 was for the next three courses.
12) uni with caviar
Basically more creamy umami goodness. Only knock is that after the uni above, I felt this was too much uni back to back. Something could have been put in between.
13) mackerel with ginger/ponzu foam
I'm not a big fan of foam, but overall quite good hit of flavors.
14) toro tartare with morel mushroom reduction sauce
This dish came with some bread to put the toro tartare onto. The morel mushroom sauce at the bottom of the dish was particularly good.
15) wagyu with shaved frozen foie gras
This was really interesting and also really good. Definitely in my top three for the night. Michael Bauer called it a great way to mix fat with fat.
16) white truffle softserve with olive oil and hazelnuts
Not a big fan of nuts in general, but the soft serve with olive oil was interesting. Tasty, but not my favorite.
It's important to note that five of the dishes above were shared for two people (#1, #5, #8, #9, #14). I was expecting to bit more full after seeing photos online, but had not realized that so many dishes were shared. So one should account for that when considering the amount of the food in the above.
Overall, a great meal. My immediate thought is how does this compare to other omakases I've had, such as at Kusakabe or Delage. Overall, I'd say it's only a notch below Kusakabe. But it's not that much below.
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