Chef Sung Anh in his kitchen at Mosu.
Chef Sung Anh had no idea the trajectory of his career would change when Corey Lee sat down in front of his station at the sushi bar at the illustrious Urasawa in Beverly Hills.
Anh, who was born in Seoul and had already cooked at Water Grill in Los Angeles, had begun as a dishwasher at that kaiseki temple and worked his way through every position, including reservationist before becoming sous chef there.
He admired Lee, also Seoul-born, who had made his mark as the head chef of the French Laundry in Yountville before striking out on his own to open the acclaimed Benu in San Francisco.
“I joked to him that I wanted to be more than a sushi chef,” Anh recalls. “I wanted to wear a white chef’s coat.”
And he did. Thanks to Lee’s encouragement, Anh joined the French Laundry as chef de partie for two years before becoming chef de cuisine of Aziza in San Francisco. In late February, he took his biggest step yet — opening his own restaurant, Mosu in San Francisco’s Fillmore District.
The name is derived from “cosmos” (pronounced co-so-mo-su), vibrant Korean flowers that Anh fondly remembers from his childhood.
Tuna belly and monkfish liver rolled up in kombu and daikon.
It’s a tiny (only 18 seats), very personal restaurant, as I discovered when I was invited in as a guest a couple weeks ago. It’s also by reservation-only. Which is good, because it’s unlikely passersby would come in otherwise, because the restaurant is behind a massive, unmarked wood door. You have no idea what is behind it just by looking at it. Anh explains that he designed it that way to play up the themes of simplicity, modesty, intimacy and mystery.