Iyasare serves dishes that look almost too pretty to eat: curlicues of beet-cured ocean trout the color of raw steak; steamed clams draped with dried-konbu shavings that resemble the straggled ends of a fisherman’s net; a raw-seafood plate featuring sea urchin, Hokkaido scallops, and ikura (marinated salmon roe) that looks like an abstract painting. But chef-owner Shotaro Kamio isn’t just interested in putting out a pretty plate; instead, he layers the components of each dish in the service of flavor. That sea urchin, scallop, and ikura combo — a dish Kamio calls “Ocean Umami” — offers one of the most luxurious bites you’ll find in an East Bay Japanese restaurant: the pure essence of the sea. Other highlights include the aforementioned clams, served in an addictive sake-infused broth, and, for dessert, a whole roasted apple hidden inside of a pastry box — a fun reimagining of apple pie.

— Luke Tsai


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Price: $$$

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