Memories at Isobune Sushi in San Francisco’s Japantown

I was in Japantown this past week and noticed that Isobune Sushi is now closed and has been for some time. It was the first restaurant I tried sushi as a five-year-old kid in 1994 and I have been hooked ever since.

Isobune was filled with memories and I always loved the sushi boat concept and how you could see the sushi chef preparing the sushi right in front of your eyes. It is the first restaurant where I tried Unagi or BBQ Eel. Isobune was also the first restaurant where I became accustomed to having a hot towel or oshibori given to clean my hands before a meal.

One of the best parts of visiting Isobune Sushi was stacking your plates at the end with a sense of accomplishment before the bill arrived.

The last time I was at the mall a year or two back, it was obvious that the more modern conveyor belt sushi was taking over as a concept and seemed to be providing cheaper overall pricing.

The intimate lighting was also a great part of the ambiance that Isobune that was welcoming and left you with a nice feeling of joy when you visited with someone special. Isobune Sushi was one of the first conveyor belt sushi concepts in the nation and operated in San Francisco’s Japantown for 38 years.

When I visited Isobune Sushi back in 2006, the original waitress that had served me as a kid was amazingly still working there. I am sure many people in San Francisco and Burlingame have memories of Isobune Sushi. Times are changing as new food concepts emerge and rising rent in San Francisco is making it more difficult for restaurants to thrive.

Farewell Isobune Sushi.

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