Sushi on the coast
Shiki delivers for fans of fine Japanese dining in Half Moon Bay. 

I really wanted to like Shiki. First, because it’s clearly more enjoyable to eat a good meal and write a good review than the alternative. Second, because I really like having a stellar, go-to sushi restaurant on the coast, and recently my longtime favorite place has been fairly disappointing.

So, it was with a lot of hope and a little trepidation that I invited six friends (with only one other local) to join me at Shiki for dinner. I was concerned because I didn’t want Coastside dining or my reputation as a discerning foodie to take a hit, and, more importantly, I was not looking forward to a future of driving over the hill for my sushi fix.

Fortunately, everything was fabulous — from the warm ambiance and friendly, efficient service to the creative flair, accomplished skill and fresh ingredients evident in all we shared.

Full disclosure, I had eaten a quick meal there a few days earlier with my daughter. We tried a couple of wonderful rolls and the Age-Dashi tofu, an appetizer of deep-fried tofu topped with Bonito fish flakes, which I ordered again when I went back. What makes Shiki’s version so wonderful is the delicate texture of the tofu, which tastes house-made, and its crisp outside, which is maintained because the tempura sauce is served on the side. We also ordered the edamame — steamed soybeans in their pods — an easy dish to overcook or over-salt. They were perfect.

My large group was hungry and dove into the process of choosing their dishes and drinks with enthusiasm,

including beverages from

the extensive list of soft

drinks, beer and sake, Japanese and California wines (plus one from Italy), and champagne.

Nothing stood out as a favorite, because we all liked everything!

Besides the tofu, we started with the fried squid appetizers. Folks appreciated the preparation that was done in a way that was light and not greasy. We also tried two of the “signature rolls.” The Honey Crunch — honey walnuts, crab meat and tempura shrimp with house sauce — was deemed delicious. The diners who chose the Ultimate Tuna — spicy tuna and avocado inside, topped with seared white tuna, ginger, green onion and teriyaki — particularly liked that the tuna was not cold but closer to room temperature when served.

We ordered two of the Animal Kingdom Rolls: The Caterpillar is barbecued eel and cucumber topped with avocado, and, according to the one who ordered it, “couldn’t have tasted better.” My selection of the evening was the Tiger Roll — deep-fried snapper and green onion in light spicy sauce, topped with fresh salmon and avocado. OMG, it was amazing.

Another, who picked the Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura Dinner, loved it and the companion dishes of miso soup, house salad and steamed rice.

We were too full to try dessert, especially because most of us tasted a little bit of one another’s food. You can be sure I’ll be going back soon. So will the others, they said, even if it means driving to the coast from over the hill. Far be it from me to tell them that

Shiki also has restaurants in San Mateo, San Carlos and Foster City.

Shiki is at 20 Stone Pine Road, Suite E, Half Moon

Bay.

Review restaurant reviewers are anonymous.

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