Saturday, May 10, 2008


3212 Clement St (& 32nd Ave)
(415) 379-3604

Traditional Japanese in the Richmond

I've heard good things about this place awhile ago from my Japanese friend who knows his food. Near the Legion of Honor, this restaurant is within walking distance from my apartment, and isn't anything too trendy or pretentious. Our waiter (Matt) was really friendly and made us feel like we were welcome to become regulars =)

This restaurant is small plates style, but the sizes of each dish depends on what you're getting (e.g. for the yakitori, or grilled meats, were only 2 skewers per order). For 2 people, we got 6 dishes initially, then added one more later because Mike was still hungry.

- grilled cod: a delicious, buttery fish
- fried tofu & vegetable dumpling: large, cut into 4 pieces. The sauce was good.
- oyaji beef: beef & onions - how can you go wrong??
- spicy hamachi roll: this would have been better as sashimi (i.e. just the fish, which was very fresh)
- mountain yam & tuna: I really liked the yam the first time I had it, and this time around, it was nice having the tuna accompaniment, because it's all about the texture, and lacks flavor which the fish provides
- boiled burdock: Mike didn't like this, but I thought it was fine. The texture reminds me of chard/kale, which not everyone is a fan of.
- cabbage rolls: this is supposed to be bar (or "tavern") food, and it was definitely not what we expected. Instead of the anticipated lightly steamed and soupy rolls, it was smothered in a heavy gravy reminiscent of Stroganoff (which I love, even at places like Lalime). Not what you expect from Japanese food (i.e. not light), but it was yummy.

No need to get dessert afterwards, either, because they gave us each a frozen strawberry filled with white chocolate. This place is great, and definitely one to take a group of friends and chill over a nice meal and sake.

*** Update #1: I went here again this weekend and we sat at the sushi bar this time. Everything was fresh (toro, hamachi... I think I could eat raw fish all day if I had access), and some of our friends even dared to try the sea snails (raw. They weren't fans, but it looked really neat haha). However, I was kind of offended by the sushi chef when we ordered uni for everyone, and he immediately singled me out and said I wouldn't get any because it was only for men. WTF? I said whatever and laughed it off, but was really trying to shoot daggers at him with my eyes.

We also tried some of the other bar food, including the crab croquettes (eh. Couldn't taste the crab), asparagus wrapped in beef (eh. Not that flavorful), and then the cod again. It's dangerous sitting at the bar because it's so easy to order more and more fish = $$. We ended up spending around $50 this time! Holy moly.

*** Update #2: I've been here quite a few times since my initial experience, and here are some other things we've tried.
- grilled skewered chicken meatballs: pretty amazing, very juicy
- pork belly: good but really fatty, as expected
- steamed monkfish liver: creamy goodness
- marinated squid: nasty mcnasty... overpowering fishy taste and vomit-like appearance, which doesn't help
- fried tofu: good
- cold tofu: ok
- chicken wings: nice char taste on them
- burdock: prepared differently this time in this creamy sesame sauce
- ramen: decent

1 comment:

Mike said...

you really should become a regular there! we have to go back and try more of the menu...