The other day, while I was working with him at Alembic, Danny Louie asked me what bartenders I admired in San Francisco.
I went through the litany of respected bartenders I admire in San Francisco and why.
But later, I was thinking about it, and another candidate for my favorite tender of a bar doesn’t make drinks at all.
Tim Archuleta and his wife run Ichi Sushi in my San Francisco neighborhood.
Tim runs his Sushi Bar more like a neighborhood Sushi Tavern, greeting guests as the come in. Asking them about their families or dogs. Keeping track of the progress of the various diners’ meals at his sushi bar. Pacing people’s meals so they don’t get too full or wait too long. All the while, cutting and serving some of the freshest sushi I’ve ever tasted.
I really admire the spirit he brings to the restaurant and to his guests.
Every time we go in, I usually just say chef’s choice and tell him how much we’d like to eat and what we are in the mood for.
It’s really fun, the way he paces the meal, starting with lighter fare, throwing in a few cooked dishes, and finishing again with lighter, almost dessert sushi.
Watching him work has made me think about how to properly pace and what order to serve people drinks. What drink is best first, what to follow with, what to finish with. If a guest asks you what to pair a dish with, what do you tell them?
PHOTO: Tim Archuleta, by John Storey via SFGate