Notorious vegetarian Steve Jobs had few weakness. Black turtlenecks were one. The other was an extreme love of sushi.
Some of the West Coast’s best sushi places dotted Steve’s backyard, but Kaygetsu, a small sushi spot in Menlo Park, held the key to Steve’s
heart stomach so tightly that Silicon Valley’s most impatient CEO could be spotted waiting up to 30 minutes like a normal pauper just to get his tongue on some hamachi.
Jobs loved the place so much he had a surprise birthday party for his wife there and even crammed Apple’s board of directors into the tiny restaurant for board meetings.
Kaygetsu wasn’t Steve’s only favorite sushi spot – Jinsho in Palo Alto and Sushi Iwa in Kyoto were frequent stops – but Jobs had a particular fondness for the spot and its chef, who Jobs sent his own house cook to in order to learn how to make better sushi.
When he wasn’t hanging out at the sushi bar solo, Steve would bring friends like Jony Ive. The pair would usually hit up Kaygetsu after almost every major product launch, according a new book about Jobs in Japan.
The original iPhone was one exception because the chef, Toshi Sakuma was on vacation in Japan. When the iPhone shipped in June, Jony and Steve flew to Japan just to show it off to Toshi.
Among Jobs’ favorites sushi dishes were toro (fatty tuna), salmon and hamachi, with his regular order usually being a simple plate of five toros and five hamachis. His last visit to Kaygetsu also included negi-toro, shrimp tempura, and pumpkin tempura.
Before Jobs died in October 2011 he made one last hire – Toshi Sakuma. With the fast-paced lifestyle weighing on him, Sakuma decided to sell the restaurant. Unable to find a quick buyer, Jobs offered Sakuma a job at Caffè Mac where Apple employees can still go to enjoy the sushi Jobs loved for a quarter century.
The restaurant was set to close on October 7th, and according to Nobi, Jony Ive’s secretary scheduled a reservation and mentioned a special guest (presumed to be Jobs) would be joining. A cancellation soon followed when news of Jobs’ death broke.
Kaygetsu’s last day of business was the same day as Steve’s funeral.