Cafe Japan, Santa Rosa, California
California is a great place to get sushi. After all the California roll is another unique California invention. But finding good sushi restaurants can be problematic. There are many in the SF Bay area, but quality varies.
The Cafe Japan does sushi and other Japanese dishes right, some with a typical California twist. This delightful little place in Santa Rosa’s Courthouse Square, serves up delicious Japanese fare with an emphasis on organic ingredients and a good range of vegetarian dishes.
I ordered the Nabeyaki Soba Hot Pot, which was served with shrimp tempura, hard boiled eggs, napa cabbage, chicken, gourmet mushrooms and soba noodles in an excellent smoked tuna and kelp broth. The broth, the noodles and the mushrooms were the highlights, while the chicken tasted very bland. I’d say if the chicken had been grilled or at least flavored it would’ve enhanced the dish.
My friend shared a Yo Yo Combo sushi plate, with Nigiri sushi and a California roll. The nice, large pieces of fish were melt-in-your-mouth fresh, really good. The California roll was likewise very good, with real crab for a change!
I’ve heard the seaweed salad is excellent, and for vegetarians there’s a great mix of vegetarian rolls and veggie Nigiri – very unusual – with cherry tomato, fruit, tofu, cucumber and sprout options available. It’s rare that vegetarians have a decent selection of items in a sushi restaurant.
You can sit outside on the patio and enjoy the nice square, or you can take a booth or table inside. The decor is a relaxed mixed of colorful Japanese knick-knacks, and each table has photos of the Japanese chef in various costumes.
Like in most sushi restaurants, freshness and quality don’t come cheap. Expect to pay around $20 per person for lunch, $30-$40 for dinner plus drinks.
Near 4th and Mendocino, Next to Wolf Coffee
98 Old Courthouse Square
Phone: 707 566-7650