Entering Yume is like finding a Buddhist monastery high in the mountains. Only a tiny sign points the way to this second-story hideaway, and more than a few locals would be happy if that disappeared, too. The old sushi chef wouldn't let us write about him, but he retired a few months ago, and we're not inclined to be as discreet about the new one. The reason for such secrecy? Yume is big enough for only two tables and eight stools at the sushi minibar. But despite its exclusivity, owner Hideki Aomizu keeps the prices reasonable, and his toro
, and maguro
are tender as chilled butter. The salads and little cooked dishes on the menu -- such as shelled fava beans, potato croquettes, and ankimo
(monkfish liver) sprinkled with shaved scallions, and spicy radish puree -- are just as good, and the servers, who may or may not understand you, are ineffably gracious. Buy Aomizu a beer and tell him you're sorry you found him.
2100 Ward St., Berkeley, 510-549-3486