Surprisingly, dining at Shizen, San Francisco’s Vegan Sushi Bar & Izakaya, involves some hunting skills. The first trick is to let the staff familiarize themselves with you a bit (so they don’t become too skittish) and then slowly you skirt the perimeter of the neighborhood, then quickly kill a cocktail with a bar somewhere until the text message arrives to inform you that your table is ready.
If you can endure this pre-prandial ritual you are amply rewarded with faux sushi crafted with enough finesse to impress, not just the Vegans among you, but also the Leaning Vegans, the Pastafarians,…even the Qualmnivores, (those who have doubts about everything they eat).
Starring rolls on Shizen’s dramatic menu include the Gobo Roll full of earthy and crunchy (Burdock Root), and a sweet and piquant Secret Weapon Roll combining shiitake mushrooms, tempura, spicy tofu, jalapeños, pineapples, and habanero peppers.
Excellent Ramen, diverse Sake choices, and delightfuo desserts such as sweet Banana Tempura served with slightly tart Vegan Ice cream, all conspire to make Shizen a culinary hotspot in San Francisco, even on a chilly summer night.