Our Concept

Sushi in Kaiseki Style – Seasonality and Harmony

KUSAKABE’s course menu mainly consists of sushi along with a few other complementary dishes. Although it changes according to what ingredients are available, it will always reflect seasonality and harmony based on the kaiseki cuisine principle.

Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course dining that is comparable to Western haute cuisine. It is originated from the Japanese tea ceremony tradition that emphasizes seasonality and being in the present moment. “Goshoku, Gomi, Gokan, Gohou” is one of the essential tenet in creating kaiseki menu that is translated to “Five Colors, Five Tastes, Five Senses, Five Methods.”

 Five Colors

Color pallet that is visually expressed in dishes: white, black, yellow, red, green

 Five Tastes

Balance of tastes throughout the course: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, spicy

 Five Senses

Kaiseki cuisine aims to appeal to five senses: sense of taste, smell, vision, hearing, touch

 Five Methods

Five cooking methods used to create the menu: roast, steam, fry, simmer, raw


Variety of Sushi – explore beyond Edomae sushi

It’s been a while since Omakase sushi (the choice of sushi is left up to the sushi chef) has been popular in many sushi restaurants in the SF Bay Area and beyond. Most of Omakase widely known is Edomae style, which originated in 1820’s in Edo, or now commonly known as Tokyo. It started as a fast food business style where they only used local fish from the Tokyo Bay.

While Edomae style has been most widely accepted worldwide, it is in fact a single variation within many other types of sushi that exist in Japan. Others include Temari-zushi, Bo-zushi, Oshi-zushi, and Nare-zushi. It is considered that a type of Nare-zushi, fermented sushi is the first type of sushi that appeared in the 8th century.

At KUSAKABE, we will showcase the variety of sushi beyond Edomae style. Chef Nori uses the technique of old sushi styles and arrange them to be appealing to today’s sushi lovers. You may be able to discover the new realm of sushi you have never experienced before. Please ask our sake and wine sommeliers for drink suggestions to find the best match with the menu for you.

Chef Nori

Mitsunori Kusakabe (Nori)

C.E.O. / Chef, Sun Gathering International LLC

Born in Kyoto, Japan in 1970, Mitsunori Kusakabe has worked at prestigious restaurants in major cities including Kyoto where he learned and traditional “kaiseki” preparations and classic sushi techniques. He made his mark as a chef at Nobu Tokyo, followed by positions as a chef at Nobu New York and then the executive chef at Nobu Miami Beach.

After Nobu Miami Beach, Mitsunori moved to San Francisco to be the executive chef at Sushi Ran, which received Michelin stars both in 2006 and 2007 and was consistently in the top 10 Bay Area restaurants as rated by Zagat’s readers.

In 2008, Mitsunori was the grand winner of Eat Japan-World Sushi Awards in London (aka the Oscars of the Sushi World) and acknowledged as the US Sushi Technical Champion. Mitsunori worked at Sushi Ran until 2013 when he acquired a restaurant in downtown San Francisco, renovated it, and in the spring of 2014, opened KUSAKABE. At KUSAKABE, guests enjoy the mix of Mitsunori’s expertise in kaiseki cuisine, authentic Edomae sushi techniques and the other cooking skills that Mitsunori has acquired in his culinary journeys, including his expertise as a certified blowfish butcher.