It’s not every sushi chef in town who will bid his familiar customers farewell with a fist bump, but it suffices to say that Tim Archuleta is not like other sushi chefs. To begin with, he’s not Japanese—not even Asian. And for the past many months, prior to opening Ichi, he made a name for his business by serving sushi at catered events and during happy hour at Bender’s Bar (he earned his raw fish chops working at Tokyo Go Go). Meanwhile, along with his wife Erin, he had major projects underway. The first was a Japanese deli, Lucky Cat, that opened in the 331 Cortland market in Bernal Heights. Now he’s opened his first brick-and-mortar restaurant, Ichi Sushi, in a slim space in the Outer Mission. The restaurant, it must be noted, possesses no real kitchen—just a long sushi counter, a sous vide circulator bubbling in the back, and a glorified toaster oven.
Archuleta is clearly comfortable in these environs, where he turns out the usual—sashimi, nigiri, and specialty rolls—with skill. Flank your raw fish with some of the other offerings, such as a Japanese cucumber salad dressed with miso or the cold soba with shiso pesto. There’s sake and Sapporo, naturally, but I glimpsed a couple of cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboys in the back room. It’s not on the menu, but if you ask—and offer to buy one for the chef—I have a feeling he’d oblige.
3369 Mission St., 415-525-4750, ichisushi.com