Taichi Kitamura, founder of the Fremont Japanese restaurant Chiso , could've chosen an easy path. Doing sushi in a city obsessed with seafood, with eating

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Best Japanese Small Plates

Chiso

Taichi Kitamura, founder of the Fremont Japanese restaurant Chiso, could've chosen an easy path. Doing sushi in a city obsessed with seafood, with eating fish, with all things Asian? That's cake. But Kitamura had a different vision for Chiso when he opened it in 2001. (Kitamura has recently sold Chiso to Hirohiko Kirita, and opened Tamura Sushi Kappo on Eastlake.) So he tilted the board and his focus in the direction of ippin, or Japanese snack foods—usually single-ingredient dishes, cooked fast and presented simply. Yakitori is an ippin dish. Edamame and gyoza are too. All three have a place on Chiso's menu, along with slightly more complicated, traditional small plates: chawanmushi and sautéed snow-pea vines; mutt Japanese-American chicken wings with shichimi peppers and lime juice; and truly excellent duck-breast sansho yaki, served delightfully rare and fanned through a puddle of savory broth. The sushi and sashimi here are good, but it's the ippin that truly sets Chiso apart from all the other sushi bars in this fish-obsessed city. —Jason Sheehan 3520 Fremont Ave. N., 632-3430

 
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