Cold Snap

The hot chill of ICHI Sushi's cold plates

Throw "sushi" in the name of a restaurant, and your nigiri and sashimi had better deliver.

At the brand-new ICHI Sushi on the southern end of San Francisco's Mission District, the traditional raw fish preparations are superb. But the kitchen's way with unheated food transcends the genre.

Consider ICHI's oysters on the half-shell ($2 each). An unadulterated, freshly shucked oyster is perfect in its own right. Too often, when a chef waxes creative with the raw bivalves, the oysters' complex simplicity is subsumed. Not under the watchful hand of ICHI's chef, Tim Archuleta.

On a recent visit, Archuleta began with Kumamoto and Beausoleil oysters. He then topped each individual oyster with a startling collection of garnishes: ponzu (a sauce of yuzu, white soy and brown rice vinegar), tobiko and a round acid hit of yuzukosho (a fermented paste of green pepper and yuzu rind).

The array of embellishments may sound like an overbearing mishmash, but the oysters were a revelation, the garnishes harnessing and complementing the bivalves' singular oceanic pop.

Other cold dishes on ICHI's menu were also noteworthy, including a demure salad of somen noodles ($5) dressed with shiso pesto and lemon.

Oh, and that sushi was mighty fine, too.

ICHI Sushi, 3369 Mission St.; 415-525-4750 or ichisushi.com