MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
“J?-ni” is Japanese for “twelve,” which also happens to be the number of seats available in this petite, omakase-only spot, housed just off the busy Divisadero corridor. Its segmented, L-shaped sushi bar ensures personalized attention from the trio of chefs, often led by Chef/owner Geoffrey Lee. They’re a young, lively crew and they’ve designed this space with a crowd of similarly young, moneyed professionals in mind. Note the spotlights above the counter, placed for perfect Instagram snapshots of dishes, and the thoroughly curated sake selection. A meal may begin with a tasting of seasonal vegetables—think tomatoes over edamame hummus—before proceeding to an array of nigiri, painstakingly sourced straight from Japan and delicately draped over well-seasoned rice. Standouts include sakura masu with a salt-cured cherry blossom leaf, buttery Hokkaido scallop and the signature ikura—cured in soy sauce, sake and honey, then finished with a grating of velvety frozen monkfish liver. Decadent supplements, like torched A5 Wagyu beef and luscious uni, can be added along the way. But the meal finishes with a surprisingly gentle send-off: sweet, tender mochi dabbed with adzuki bean paste.