What I Ate at Shizen Sushi and Izakaya in SF

My weekend trip to San Fran basically revolved around eating as much yummy food as possible and trying my best not to think about how much money I was spending or how constantly overly-full I was most of the time. So Sunday, the day I was to leave, when the vegan couple behind me in line at the Butcher’s Son in Berkeley told me their absolute favorite restaurant was Shizen, I decided I’d find a way to fit it in even though my brunch itself was probably enough calories to last my entire daily intake and then some.

I arrived around 5:15pm after the restaurant had opened at 5 to find myself quoted a 30 minute wait. My phone was at 3% battery, and with no plugs in site, I handed it over to the hostess and settled into the waiting area with my kindle, sans wifi. As I checked in after 45 minutes, I was told there were still 4 couples ahead of me, but that I was first in line for the bar. After an hour of wait, I began to get antsy and requested to retrieve my phone. Finally, I got a text that my table was ready, but when I arrived back to the hostess stand to be seated, she decided the table I was originally going to get would be better suited for a couple, and I waited another 15 minutes before finally escorted to a table. I was rather annoyed, but got over it once I saw the menu.

I’d seen plates going by as I waited, and knew for certain I would need to try the Brussels. After all, they are one of my favorite vegetables and they come served on a cast iron skillet with spicy sauce on top. Amazing.

Brussels sprouts at shizen vegan sushi and izakay San Francisco sf
I asked my server for a recommendation from Shizen’s specialty roll list, and decided to try the Boddy and Soul roll. The Tofu on top reminds me of a smoked salmon, and the special sauce is like a vegan version of spicy mayo. This roll is complex and has a lot going on down to the tempura fry, and I definitely would recommend it to others. 

Boddy and soul vegan sushi roll at shizen San Francisco sf tempura
I also wanted to try the Colonel’s Pipe roll, which contains vegan cream cheese, asparagus, and avocado, and is topped with smoked beet. I’m a fan of all four, but I have to say I mostly wanted to try it to see how the cream cheese compared to the real thing as I remembered it, and this substitute really did fit the bill with its super creamy texture and on-point flavor. I read some reviews claiming the smoked beet tasted like smoked salmon, and feel obligated to dismiss that statement as false – though if you like beets, you’ll still like this roll. This one was a lot lighter in contrast to the Boddy and Soul, too.

Colonel's Pipe Beet cream cheese vegan sushi San Francisco

If you can get past the wait, I would highly recommend this joint in SF’s mission district for a delicious sushi and Japanese inspired dinner.

If you’ve been, what did you order?

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