Sake 107 / Petaluma

Posted to CH and copied here:

In May 2018 we visited Sake 107 and were so impressed we canceled a reservation for the next evening and returned for the 2x in two days. In 10 yrs of retirement traveling for food, this is only the third time we have done this. We normally do a mix of half return visits, half new places, averaging 10 restaurants per trip. We visited again with friends July 7th.

Sake 107 was profiled after our visits by KQED:… It discusses owner/chef Eiji Ando’s use of the hatcho miso, an aged miso which is intense in flavor, very dark, and quite different than the usual miso.

Altho open for lunch, we concentrated on dinner with its more interesting, larger menu. Compared to Hana/Rohnert Park, the menu is much more modest. 107’s sashimi offerings are limited to 8 types, with 3-5 daily specials.

The sashimi is exquisitely fresh. The specials were excellent, a wonderful way to try fish so often ignored by the general public. Don’t miss the kaisen salad with its diced sashimi garnish; it’s wonderful.

The agedashi tofu comes with or without vegetables; we tried it with and loved it. I consider this dish one of the true tests of a restaurant. You cannot fake this one; it is just 3 ingredients. The freshest most flavorful tofu, the lightest but crisp starch crust fried in fresh oil, the savory dashi. Spouse called this the best version he’s ever had; we rate Hana’s version very high but Sake 107’s just a smidge above. There is no katsuobushi on it, nor does it need any. That’s how good it was.

Both Hana and Sake 107 make outstanding nigiri and sashimi. You can’t go wrong with either restaurant. It won’t be cheap (they’re pretty much identical in pricing), but the quality of both is as good as it gets.

I will post a followup covering visits 2 and 3 since this is already quite long.

Highly recommended. Small storefront in downtown Petaluma, nice sushi counter, lovely modern dining room.

Sake 107
107 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma, CA
Cuisine: Traditional sushi

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More on the food, visits 2 & 3:
On visit #2 all the yakitori was too salty; we mentioned this to waitress/chef and they appreciated the feedback. We did not try them on visit #3 as we were ordering other items to share.

Asari hatcho soup is wonderful but do note it has a high salt content due to the clam juices and the hatcho miso. But the taste is incomparable.

Once again the kaisen salad got ravs. Our friend has never liked scallops but she flipped over the sweet Hokkaido scallops.

107 impressed us with their cooked food. We found Hana up/down on two visits on the cooked food. But 107 was consistent on all three visits. The Miso Katsu (Kurobuta pork and cabbage with Owari-style sauce) redefines pork tonkatsu. I hate commercial tonkatsu sauce anyway, but the Owari-style sauce is marvelous, helping to caramelize some of the cabbage on the sizzling iron platter. I had this on visit #2, our friend had it on visit #3; we both gave it raves.

Chicken teriyaki was fine but the pork katsu simply overshadows it. I did love the old-style teriyaki sauce. I loathe today’s teriyakis with their excessive sugar. This delicately balanced sauce is what I grew up with.

Otsunami Trio of veggies is delightful. These were what used to be in bento boxes before everybody cheaped out with mixed green salad/sesame dressing.

Kakiage is too large and mostly potato shreds. It’s cut in half and could easily be a substantial starter for four people. 107 should reduce the size of this. Iyasare/Berkeley makes the best kakiage in our eyes.

Desserts were generally good. Weakest is the green tea tiramisu. We liked the Japanese flan (a creme brulee flamed at the table) and the housemade ice creams with the fried banana were very good. The coffee jelly was a pleasant surprise: an unsweetened espresso jelled with gelatin, not agar-agar; layered with a caramel milk custard and topped with a pouf of caramel whipped cream.

107 gave our friend a lovely sake flight so she could pick which one she wanted to have for dinner, since she was still a beginner at sake and wasn’t familiar with any of the list. The waiter was knowledgeable and she was thrilled with her choice (and the extremely generous pour!).

Our friends said they would absolutely come back. And of course, so would we!


Great report. Do you have any thoughts on the reason behind good Japanese restaurants in the Petaluma/ Rohnert Park area? Is there a Japanese population there?

Do they age their sashimi?

Probably apples to oranges, but how does Sake 107 compare to Kiraku?

Petaluma/ Rohnert Park area? Is there a Japanese population there?
No, it’s like the rest of the Wine Country counties: we are generally the ONLY PoC in the DR. The owner of 107 used to be in Novato, so I think he may have moved up for a less expensive rent, perhaps?

Do they age their sashimi?
Did not ask, sorry.

Probably apples to oranges, but how does Sake 107 compare to Kiraku?
No idea, haven’t been to Kiraku. But 107 seemed to both of us as a smaller but direct competitor to Ken Tominaga’s Hana. The similarities are striking.

FYI your question on aged sashimi: see this recent Oakland Magazine review on Utzutzu/Alameda.

Oakland Magazine loved the okimari (set menu) at the tiny 7-seat Utzutzu: 1428-B Park St., Alameda