Jin Sho: Ode to Steve Jobs

Today is officially Steve Jobs Day in California, but I celebrated yesterday. I picked up my sleek new 16GB white iPhone 4S and I dined at Steve Jobs favorite restaurant in Palo Alto, Jin Sho.

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I spent several hours with my friends at the Stanford Shopping Center including a few hours at the Apple Store. By the time we were ready to leave the mall, I was starved. Where should we have dinner? My friend who lives in Palo Alto presented a few ideas including, Jin Sho. It seemed like the perfect idea that we eat at Jin Sho. When my friend called the restaurant, the host seemed pretty adamant that they couldn’t accommodate us. Our second choice was a Cuban restaurant. We parked and were heading toward the Cuban restaurant when we passed Jin Sho. My friend who doesn’t like no for an answer decided to walk over to Jin Sho and ask again. I don’t know what she did or said but we were “in”. When our waiter found out we didn’t have a reservation, he was very surprised. He said they turn a lot of people away. We were very lucky or it was meant to be or both.

Jin Sho opened in 2007 by two former Nobu Executive Chefs Noriomi Kaneko and Ichiro Takahashi. The menu was quite large and my foodie friends and I decided to order a large variety and share. We ordered one large omakase meal, one prix-fix meal, a sushi dinner special, a couple of additional appetizers, and extra nigiri.

The appetizers we ordered were the corn tempura and the agadashi tofu. Both were excellent.

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The prix-fix dinner comes with miso soup and allows you to select from a list of appetizers, entree, and sushi roll. We ordered the yellowtail with jalapeño, the lamb chop, and the spider roll.

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The large omakase came with 3 dishes from the sushi chef, 2 dishes from the kitchen and 1 dessert. The sushi chef prepared a tuna tartar with caviar and a mountain berry, yellowtail with an onion dressing, and halibut with a hot oil. I could taste the wasabe in the tuna tartar so I was not a fan. My friends loved it though. I really liked the other two fish dishes, but the yellowtail probably edged over the halibut especially with the yummy onion dressing.

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The kitchen prepared dishes on the omakase menu were rock shrimp tempura with spicy mayo and black cod with fish liver. Although the tempura looked and has a similar concept to honey walnut prawns, it doesn’t taste like it at all. Still good, it has the flavor of the sauce used in a spicy tuna roll. The black cod was awesome. Claiming to be marinated in miso for 3 days, it is light, full of flavor, and delicious. We had to have some extra bowls of rice to enjoy every speck of sauce.

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The variety of sushi came out next. My top picks are the baby yellowtail, the ocean front, and the toro.

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We did find out from our waiter that Steve Jobs liked to order udon and his sushi choice was saba or mackerel. In Steve’s honor, we were going to try the saba as well. Definitely not my choice in fish, but to show appreciation to Mr. Jobs, I was happy to eat it with a smile on my face.

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I was too full for dessert, but that wasn’t going to stop my friends. They ordered the chocolate dome and the blood orange mascapone mousse. I tasted both and they were pretty good. I was impressed that this Japanese restaurant had such non-Asian desserts that were quite good.

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This is definitely a restaurant I would return to when in the area. We may have slightly over ordered this time, but it was the first time and now I know what I like. And since Jin Sho is good enough for the Honorable Steve Jobs, it’s good enough for me. Happy Steve Jobs Day!

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