See it: East Side Sushi


Movie lovers, sushi eaters, Oakland folk (I think that covers all my friends) don’t sleep on this one. On Sunday night I saw East Side Sushi, an independent film playing in the SF Indie fest, and I highly recommend you grab tickets to the next two showings.

There’s a small story arc here, but it’s kinda epic and totally lovable. Juana, an east oakland single mother, is pursuing a place behind the sushi bar against all kinds of odds (she’s a woman, she’s Latina and she’s providing for her daughter and widowed father). You’ll root for her. In the opening scene there’s a window into the early-morning, tough life of a frutero. Juana and her dad split their time between menial jobs and a fruit cart until she’s robbed at gunpoint and needs a change, inspiring her to apply to work at a sushi restaurant.

I liked that it’s filmed at the sushi restaurant on Grand with the bottomless sake, which I typically avoid but find some comfort knowing that it’s there in the case of a really bad day. I liked the shout out to Tokyo Fish Market. I liked that at one point in the movie Juana said something along the truthful lines of “behind every good restaurant is a Latino in the kitchen.” I liked the food porn: fresh fish, bags and cups of tropical fruits, and endless sushi rolls. Sometimes the dialog is a little predictable, but I like a love story, and I liked that this one happened over sushi and tacos.

Fun fact: B-Dama and Coach both offered their space for the film, and a few local sushi superstars are in the movie as well.

My go-to sushi spots in the East Bay:
B-Dama (Not really a typical sushi place but when they do it they do it well)
Late night: Koryo

Tickets to East Side Sushi here.