Tuesday, March 20, 2007


1700 Post St. (at Buchanan)

Japanese in J-town (who would've thought), small plates style

Being someone who loves Japanese food, I've realized how limited my exposure to this cuisine has been. As a Sushi House lover, my meal at this place has made me realize that I am uber American, as are my taste buds. I had some good, traditional food in Japan, but even so, I still enjoy classic American Japanese food. This place, however, has opened my eyes and expanded my palate.

This place is tiny (seats about 8-10 people) and is run by only two (I think) Japanese people (maybe husband and wife?). There are no signs, and even if you found it, you wouldn't know what it was because the door is closed without any windows. Once you walk in, the dining area is blocked off by a hanging curtain, giving your meal the utmost privacy. It is bar-style seating, also giving you a view of the displayed raw seafood (fish, squid, octopus, etc). The hostess is a lovely older woman dressed in kimono, who speaks both English and Japanese. It is definitely a date place, but there was a party of 3 when I ate there. The menu was in both English and Japanese, but being used to American Japanese food, I had no idea what to order and let my dinner partner take care of everything.

My dinner partner had sake, which came in this really pretty clear teapot lined with gold trimming. The sake cup was like this matching mini goblet (I probably sound so uncultured right now).

The food (hopefully I didn't forget anything):
- seafood salad: given to start and before we ordered, this tiny dollop of seafood salad was very light and fresh. I'm not really sure what was in it, to be honest.
- misc sashimi (hamachi, squid, other fish): very good quality and fresh. There's nothing better than raw fish melting in your mouth mmm
- mountain yam: I had never had this before, and it wasn't like an American yam at all. It was more like daikon in texture and color, but it was gooey (as if doused in rubber cement or something). Thinly sliced, the pieces of yam were crispy (much like daikon) and a good accompaniment to the rest of the dishes. It didn't have much flavor itself, but I really liked the texture, and I could probably eat this as a snack any time.
- duck: very rich in flavor and moist
- boiled stuff - tofu, edamame pod?, some type of mushroom, squash, and some kind of melon (similar to melon used in chinese soups) in broth
- fried fish cake: I almost burned my tongue and actually took it out of my mouth because it was so hot. I felt so rude.
- tonkatsu (fried pork): unlike most tonkatsu, this was in a more cubic chunk, as opposed to flat and pancake-like. I thought this cut was to its detriment, as each bite had more pork than fried goodness. There was also a chunk of fat in my piece (which I was really surprised by, since Japanese food tends to be super lean), but I ate it anyway because I thought it would be rude not to. Thank God I have a high metabolism.
- miso soup with clams and green onions

The service was good - my ocha (green tea) cup was never empty, and they were very attentive and polite. I couldn't really get a good feel for the staff because my dinner partner talked to them in Japanese only, but regardless, service was good and food came at a good pace. They were also very flexible, as we stayed there for probably over 2 hours, and even when everybody else had gone, we still ordered one more dish.

Go here. =)

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