My favorite Japanese
AMAMI IS AMAZING. And is totally redeeming Cantonese/Chinese owned Japanese restaurants.
Below are all the nigiri we ordered:
1. Toro topped with uni - Uni lovers MUST get this.
2. Norwegian salmon - Seems like plain ol' salmon but it is great quality.
3. Japanese Medai (butterfish) - Once you eat this, you'll realize you've been eating imitation butterfish (or escolar) at other restaurants this entire time.
4. O-toro - JUST like Japan. Literally melted in my mouth. I actually stopped chewing it to let it sit there because I didn't want the goodness to end.
5. Scallop - Sounds simple but some of the simple nigiri ended up being our favorites.
6. Seared lobster - This was seared nicely and very tender. A little too heavy for my personal taste so it might be the only thing I may not order again.
7. Live Amaebi - They perfectly deep fry the heads for you to eat with a dipping sauce (similar to tempura sauce or maybe even the same).
8. Albacore toro topped with ankimo (monkfish liver) - Must get for unique factor and also because the ankimo is creamy and delicious.
Oyster shooters - oyster, uni, quail egg, tobiko, ponzu sauce. Get this!!! Spoonful of heaven.
Also, you MUST try the fresh wasabi that they make. It's unlike any I've tried. I don't know if it's the way they grate it or if they mix it with something but the taste is good even by itself. It doesn't have the usual pasty consistency; it's almost like a chutney.
Service was pretty good. We walked in with no reservations and they squeezed us in somehow. This place got busy REALLY quickly so I would recommend reservations. We got all our food in a timely manner and you can tell it was all prepared with care. While they have the standard rolls, ramen, etc., I would highly recommend just ordering nigiri/sashimi AND from the specials board.
One of my favorite restaurants on my NYC trip. I'm already biased because I love anything yakiniku- or Korean bbq-like but the food here was truly exceptional. I was a dummy and didn't do enough research beforehand to know that you need to reserve the $35/person Whole Cow Experience where you get 16 cuts of meat. All the items on the menu are pricey here so it's definitely something to consider unless you have specific meats you do or do not want to eat.
I ended up trying the angus beef, beef belly, tongue, liver, first stomach, second stomach, sweetbreads, and cheek. I loved everything, especially the meats there were marinated. The server will tell you the optimal cooking time for each meat and you should trust him/her on that. The meat comes out perfectly tender and safe (I'm assuming) for your stomach.
Before you order, you get complimentary kimchi, salad with miso dressing, and bean sprouts. However, if you want an additional dish of kimchi, it's $2. A bit much in my opinion. The service is great and they changed our metal tray like 5x? It was barely building up and it would be swapped out without question.
It's intimate here and I wouldn't come with more than 4 people. If you're really into AYCE places, this isn't for you because you're eating here to converse with friends and drink. The meat may not necessarily fill you up unless you're willing to fork out the cash.
I can't even begin to describe or justify why I'm giving Kappou Gomi 5 stars. I think Manabu M.'s review really sums it up. I almost wish I wasn't writing this review so that I could keep this gem to myself.
I'm just going to say that if you want to experience a little bit of Japan, come here. There will be no brightly colored rolls, bento boxes, or the like. It's pure and unadulterated. Imagine pages and pages of a menu with each main ingredient (typically a fish or meat) having its own section and underneath the "Tuna", "Hamachi", etc. headers, you find 5-10 different ways it is prepared.
Some of the things I sampled:
-salmon cartilage with salmon roe
-miso black cod
-uni with shrimp
-hamachi "salad" (chopped up hamachi with radishes and cucumbers in 3 different kinds of sauce)
Each plate is relatively small and can cost from $8-16 (and more if it's a specialty item). For some reason, it's so delicate that it subconsciously forces you to eat slowly and savor every little bite. I really enjoyed the experience of eating less throughout a longer period of time and being fully satisfied. How joyous.
When I read that Wakuriya was located in a strip mall, I was taken aback slightly. But when I got there, it looked more like a plaza that you see on your way to Tahoe or like every plaza in Colorado. There's a very open feel and woodsy-ness even to the design of Safeway.
This restaurant exudes intimacy. It is located on the side of the plaza, the blinds are closed, and most (if not all) people come with reservation only. So that means you get to sit there from 7:30 until closing with the same set of people, not having to worry about anyone else coming into the restaurant mid-meal and knowing that your waitress will not be flustered from any sudden "rushes". There's no rush here; it's all carefully and perfectly planned. I walked in and noticed that the style is very minimalist and I would almost say modern except for the wooden furniture which provides a hint of warmth. It's simple though with one couple serving you the entire night: husband as chef, wife as server, and well there's a Mexican dude in the back.
It's funny because when you sit, she'll give you a menu where you're basically just choosing between a 6 or 9 course meal (kaiseki). Get ready to shell out the big bucks!
I won't go into detail about each and every item I had because it changes every month and I practically loved them all. I will tell you my favorites though because these really popped in my mind and made my mouth go "wow." Firstly, I would vouch for the Petaluma Rosie chicken no okaki-age which translates to deep fried coated chicken with crunchy rice cracker. You hear this and think "rice crackers? How painful must that be for your teeth?" I can't even begin to describe how crunchy but easy to eat this was. The flavors were great and a happy chicken (by happy I mean free range) is by far superior in taste and juiciness than a caged one.
Next on my favorites list would be Okinawa black sugar flan with "kuro-mitsu". Every time I eat flan, I wonder how much more different can it really get. But this is different. It's smooth without a single air bubble and the black sugar is silky.
Last but not least is the maguro from Italy (particularly the lighter piece that I got). It instantly brought me back to Tsukiji and just remembering how naturally buttery that fresh fish can be. Astounding. Not to mention it was accompanied by freshly grated wasabi and bonito flavored soy sauce (much more mild).
I can't really describe how I felt afterwards. It was a slight euphoria being able to eat wonderful and healthy food in a stress-free setting that I have needed for so long. You'd be surprised at how the little things (lack of sound, not having to order, eating smaller portions in increments) can really just add to the experience.
Quite expensive. But what do you expect? You're in Manhattan, this is some big named chef, yadi yadi yada. I felt a little out of place because I went after literally not showering for a day and not changing out of yesterday's clothes while everyone else in the restaurant was in their suits. It was funny at the same time how showy people in NY can be. Haha!
The cod was the best dish we had. I actually didn't know black cod could be cooked so well. The fish meat was very tender and the sauce was delightful. A lot of the times I'm a quantity over quality of food type girl but since there's really no choice here unless I want to make an even bigger dent in my wallet, it worked out well. My palate was so pleased I didn't need to eat more.
Another delightful delicacy was the tuna tartare with caviar. It was so small. I think I could've scooped up the whole thing in one bite but I restrained myself. It was a burst of flavor in my mouth!
For dessert we had some layered lemony wafer thing. It was just okay actually. A little too lemony and the the wafers were hard to break through.
Went here at literally 1 a.m. and there was STILL a wait! This little street is bumpin'.
The kim chee stir fried udon is too die for. Ever since I had that here, I've been trying to replicate it at home but it's not working! Also, I try ordering stir fried udon at other restaurants and they still do not compare.
The plum wine is great!!!
Best dish: Chicken Pasta (sauteed mushrooms, onion, bell peppers, corn, fried chicken) replaced with curry instead of the white sauce and rice instead of spaghetti. For some reason, the chicken in this dish is SOOO much more better than in their Chicken Cutlet Curry. My friend said it reminded him of Tapioca Express' spicy chicken and it really does!!!
SO YUM!! I was so full though that I couldn't finish it so I took the rest to go. Then as my bf was driving, I realized I wanted to finish it but didn't have any utensils so we started eating with our hands!
That's how good it is. One of the best curry dishes I've ever had.
Parking in this lot is valet but you can find metered street parking on Mississippi.
As far as izakaya goes, this place reigns over all others (at least in the Bay Area).
ORDER FROM MOST TO LEAST FAVORITE (although least favorite here is still pretty good; it's all personal preference):
Gindara Yuan Yaki (yuan-style grilled silver cod) - BEST dish of the night. The last time I had cod this tender was at Nobu in New York. It's probably up to par with Nobu's (gasp) but at a fraction of the cost.
Bin Toro Maguro Sashimi (white tuna) - These are by far the freshest slabs of raw fish I've ever eaten in the states. Seriously.
Hamachi Sashimi (yellowtail) - Just as fresh as the white tuna. Very healthy looking. I love it when the fish is incredibly fresh and the color is normal (not dyed as white as a sheet of printer paper). They're also very generous; you get 6 thick pieces of the fish.
Ebi Gratin (shrimp gratin) - Creamy, cheesy & crispy. What more can you ask for? It's piping hot when it comes out and the edges are golden brown.
Hotate Butter Uni Nose (scallops in sea urchin butter sauce) - I actually misread this dish and thought that there would be uni on it but I was delighted to see that the scallops and mushrooms were in uni butter! How unique. The uni definitely adds an entirely different element of richness to the sauce. It was rich but not thick.
Kani Koroquette (crab croquette) - Warm, crisp, perfect amount of crab. You get four of these round things.
Buta Chige Ramen (pork & kimchi ramen) - I was surprised to see this on the menu since I don't think any of the employees/owner are Korean (correct me if I'm wrong). The Korean bf said that the kimchi in this was rotten; rotten to the extent that it probably shouldn't have been served. I highly doubt many non-kimchi experts can tell. The broth was still amazingly flavorful and the ramen was on the firmer side. I highly recommend getting this dish (or another noodle dish) with your tapas dishes because it'll fill you up a little more. It's always nice having one "hearty" dish too.
Salmon Origini (salmon rice balls) - On the menu, these are actually rice balls but we requested roasted rice triangles which translates to $6.50 instead of $4.50. It's topped with little fish (minnows?) and salmon roe which is the perfect touch of saltiness to the mellowness of the rice. As for the amount of salmon inside the triangle, it's just a little teaspoon.
Unagi Oshi Sushi (eel pressed sushi) - Basically eel nigiri. They make it very square and nothing is really holding the rice together so it falls apart easy. Eel is fresh but there is lots of sauce.
Tori Kara Age (deep fried chicken) - Comes with a dab of Japanese mayo for dipping. Pleasant dish. I can live without it.
10 entrees + 1 takeout entree = $111 (pre-tip)
Service needs a little work. There are three women from seemingly different generations which makes me wonder if they are all related. Despite their difference in age, they are all equally busy. Food is constantly coming from the kitchen; they are constantly taking orders, bringing out food, wiping tables and literally everything else.
You know it's good when you randomly pick items from the menu (not from recommendations) and they are all mouthwatering delicious!
OH MY GOSH THIS PLACE IS SO FREAKIN' GOOD!!!
After reading all these yelp reviews before my trip to Honolulu, I had to go here and I ended up going twice in less than a week!
First time I had the Chicken Katsu & Cheese curry. I've never had cheese with my curry before but I am a cheese lover and this has become one of my favorite dishes of all time. They actually put cheese on top of either the rice or the katsu and it's nice and melted when you eat it. Who knew it'd work so well?
Another delightful surprise was the kimchee/beef curry. They actually put kim chee IN the curry sauce which changes the overall flavor of the curry for the BETTER!
The second time I went I had the Corn & Cheese Croquette curry. There are different kinds of croquettes but this one was minced potatoes shaped in a circle, dipped in breadcrumbs & then fried. They sprinkled some cheese on top of the two croquettes and then more cheese on the rice. It was pretty good but I needed some meat.
Both times that I went I shared the dish with someone and it was more than enough. When ordering, you can choose mild or spicy but even the spicy was not that spicy.
Same as Yakitori Taisho. So good!! Everything about it reminds me of Japan. Basement like restaurant, cramped, and full of steam from the food.
Although it's easy for groups, I don't recommend the yakitori party set. Just take the time to really choose the skewers you know you will enjoy eating. The party set looks good on the outside but as you get closer to the inside, you're left with green onion skewers, green pepper skewers, and innard skewers that may not be as popular. I normally like innards but a couple I had were really tough and chewy. They went to waste.
Two dishes I get repeatedly are the Kimchi Stir Fry Udon and Okonomiyaki. YUM. Do it.
Some new dishes I tried that you could get are the squid legs (with the green seasoning), spicy tuna don (really really good and plentiful here!), tuna salad (fresh avocados in NY?!), and bread + curry appetizer.
If you're with a big group on a busy night, it's not the place to lounge around. The waiters kept asking if we were done since there were so many others waiting outside.
It's NIGIRI all the way here. With all the fishes they have from flown in from Japan, it's not worth it to waste space on rolls. Well, actually I take that back. Try the "best hand roll" (that's literally what it's called on the menu) which consists of fried soft shell crab and spicy tuna in a unique wrapper that looks like thin potato/yam paper (I have no idea what it's made out of).
Everything takes a while to come out and I'm attributing that to the care in the way they put things together. I regret not trying more fishes on the whiteboard because the one that I did, the imaki (Japan sardine), was so creamy, thick, and delicious. I thought it was quite exceptional. Although standard choices, all the other nigiri I tried (salmon, tuna, hamachi, tuna belly, escolar) melted in my mouth.
Now the live uni is definitely a sight. It looks and tastes pretty good but for a market price of $21, it wasn't SIGNIFICANTLY better than I've had at other places. Maybe I'm an amateur.
I would definitely make reservations because even though it doesn't look particularly busy and you think you'll just walk right on in and sit down, all the people eating there and on their way probably had reservations so you might end up being quite deceived.
Sometimes I prefer yakiniku over Korean bbq because the portions are smaller so I get to try a greater variety!
I shared the Yakiniku set for 2 ($60) which includes a bunch of meats, assorted vegetables, garlic noodles, butter corn, two bowls of rice, Gyu-kaku salad (a big one), gyoza, edamame, and s'mores. If you come here with 3 people, I would suggest getting this to start with and only ordering more dishes if you still feel hungry. We added on 3 additional meat plates and it was WAY too much food for us.
I liked every dish but if you're into slightly chewy meats, you might want to stay away from the beef tongue.
Service was really great and the manager constantly came by asking how things were. Metal plates were changed frequently. Our waitress had initially recommended 3 dishes (or meat dishes?) per person but I think that was too much.
The wait was about 45 minutes on a Monday night which is pretty long because of the happy hour. Lots of discounted meat items which are worth getting. The only other Gyu-Kaku I've been to was in Japan and the biggest difference is that the meat plates are a larger portion and there are a couple extra items that I don't remember seeing.
Wow there was so much hype about this place! It was definitely very awesome but it didn't blow my mind so because of that, I give it a deserving 4 stars. I was really nervous about getting a table because we didn't have reservations but at 7:00pm on a Saturday night, we got seated in FIVE MINUTES!! Miracle. Even our friends who we bumped into said they had been waiting for an hour. It must've been a low night for the restaurant because even while we were eating, there were a good amount of empty tables that eventually got filled up.
Tori Soboro Natto Letttuce Maki: This is basically lettuce wraps that come with ground chicken, natto & a spicy soy sauce. I've never had natto before so I didn't know what to expect. It was gooey and I'm not sure if I'll order it again!
Madai Carpaccio: Quick-seared red snapper with yuzu-pepper salsa. This was one of my favorite dishes we got! I expected the red snapper to be slightly tough or fishy but it was so refreshing. The salsa's got a kick and the vinegar flavor compliments the fish so well. They give you about 10 thin slices.
Nasu Curry pizza: Pork curry sauce, eggplant, mushroom, cheese. When ordering this dish, I asked the waitress how big it would be and she indicated a size that was about 5" in diameter but it actually turned out to be 8-9" in diameter! It was way too big for two people and unfortunately, it stuffed us. I really wish we didn't get this because it was good but not spectacular. They use the long white stringy mushrooms and the curry sauce is apparent but not overpowering. I wasn't sure what type of cheese it was because it was more gooey than mozarella... maybe emmental?
Agedashi Tofu: Deep fried tofu in dashi sauce. This was also very refreshing but I love how the tofu is warm! They put a lot of stuff on top. I think some of the things were scallions, flaky dried fish and definitely ginger because I got greedy and put a lot on top of my piece and paid for it later. There were 4 pieces.
(Insert name): Beef rolled with asparagus and cheese then deep fried and served with miso sauce. This was pretty good but the beef was a little dry! I think the sauce really saved it. The was a special that the waitress recommended. Presentation was very nice! There were 4 pieces, each about 1" in diameter & 1.5" tall.
Green Tea Creme Brulee: #1 FAVORITE item of the night. Unlike the portions of the other dishes, this was actually an American standard size. It's perfect for two people. It's sooooo good! Green tea was definitely there but not too strong. Consistency was great. The top could have been torched a little less. It wasn't burnt but it wasn't perfect. I give this dish 5 stars for originality because I've never seen it anywhere else!
Seeing the plethora of dishes on the menu definitely makes me want to go again and try them all. Our bill ($56 not including tip) turned out to be a lot less than I had anticipated! I think going with a total of four people would work out well since a lot of the dishes had four fairly generous pieces. Also, I would want to come back and sit in one of the four bigger semi-private rooms.
If you want fresh fish, definitely go here.
Luckily we got there at around 6:30pm on Monday night because literally an hour later, the place was packed out and tons of people were waiting. The restaurant is fairly small with a couple of Japanese style tables & chairs.
This place is very authentic... it even has natto!
I got the Mix Don (tuna, salmon & yellow tail) over rice except I substituted the tuna with white tuna. The dish was $14. A little pricey but the fish was the freshest that I've had in NorCal. Salad had a very light dressing... not miso. Miso soup tasted normal.
You know what's interesting... the little bowl of gummy bears by the door. This is their "mint" that you take on the way out although I do not recommend it knowing how many kids' hands have been fishing around that bowl.
Service was pretty good. The little female waitress is really cute and sweet. The quality of the fish is superb.
Ever since my experience at Curry House Coco Ichibanya in Oahu about a month ago, I've been craving curry. I use to come to Curry House occasionally when I went to school at UCI. I remember it being just okay but I needed something to satisfy my craving. At 11:25 a.m., about 15 people were already waiting outside to get in at its 11:30 a.m. opening. I've never seen that many people there before.
I got the regular beef curry with a side of corn & a potato croquette. Lots of food, I know. The corn was worth it because they give you a lot but that potato croquette was $1.75!!!
Another tasty treat that I saw on the menu and really wanted but didn't get because I knew I'd finish it and want to barf from its sheer size was the Stone Grilled Curry ($14.50). It's like dol sot bi bim bap (Korean dish with veggies & rice in a stone grilled pot) but with your choice of seafood, grilled eel, rib eye or cutlet and you can pour curry over it.
I really really like the red & white pickled onions that they give you. I went with 2 other girls and we basically sprinkle every inch of our rice & curry with this icing. We devoured all they gave us.
What confuses me is that the display window outside has a variety of different grocery store curries. Is that what this restaurant uses or are they just supporting other curry makers??
I would say that Sushi House is consistently good for big, luscious rolls. I wouldn't really come here expecting the highest quality fish. One time, I ordered two pieces of uni and it was sloppily thrown together and the coloring was off... almost gray. I took a bite anyway (don't ask me why) and it tasted like it had gone bad.
Every time I try to order the hamachi kama, it's always sold out! Other than that, it's a fun place for groups when you order any of the big sushi boats.
I loved the Curry House in Irvine and frequented it often while I was in college so when I heard about the opening of this one, I was VERY excited!
Keep in mind that they probably use the boxed curry to make these dishes but it's still good. I got the beef curry with corn & the beef was so tender that you could break it apart with your fork. Normally the corn comes on the side but they incorporated it into the curry. Most of the dishes come with your choice of either a soup (corn soup) or side. I don't remember her asking me which one I wanted but she ended up giving me corn soup which I liked a lot more than my bf's salad (there was a very green tomato in there). You can also choose white rice, brown rice or pilaf. I chose brown rice to be healthy but it's doesn't taste completely right with curry.
We came in at 8:35pm, 25 minutes before closing, so service was quick. We got our food in no time but they didn't rush us to leave either because there were plenty of other tables still dining at the time. I know you can easily make this stuff at home but sometimes it's nice to go out for Japanese curry, especially since there aren't many other places like this.
Seafood Salad Combination ($14) is the way to go!! My friends always rave about this place and this particular meal so I knew I had to eventually come here. I got a sashimi salad and a spicy tuna don (you can choose other dons). The sashimi salad had big slabs of fresh fish (albacore tuna, hamachi, etc.) and they were all seared. I did like the taste of the salad dressing but I was worried that they were using the vinegar ridden dressing to mask any foulness of the fish like some other restaurants. Could've fooled me.
I was really surprised at how good the spicy tuna don was! I have this new found belief (thanks to Mr. Bourdain) that everything "mixed" is comprised of leftover or not-so-good ingredients that they can't serve on their own and need to get rid of. Why not take some bad tuna, mix it with spicy sauce and mayo, and serve it? It's okay if that's what they did, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say they didn't, because it was so good and creamy!! It's especially wonderful on brown rice which I'm not normally a fan of but it was sweet. They give you a lot of the tuna and the rice; it's piled high and wide. I found that each bite tastes best with a little bit of wasabi and some seasoning.
They don't charge for tea; that's how it should be and I can't believe other places do charge!! Service was pretty good... we were a big party so we took up the entire middle table. Food came out in a timely manner.
Sauce was much more "wow" this time! I'm convinced they don't use the boxed powder curry or if they do, they put a lot of their own spices into it. The medium has a nice heat throughout the sauce.
I can't believe the prices have jumped up $2 in the 2 years that I've been. It is definitely worth the quality though... they fry your ish right when you order it!
I remember not having enough curry the first time around so I forked out the $1.75 for extra curry and now I have extra curry sitting on my desk.
I can't believe I ate the whole thing. Small Asian girl compared to big white guys eating the same portion. I should be proud but I feel like I'm going to explode.
Comfort izakaya! I just made my own classification.
You have three options of seating:
1. Tables - They have a traditional, no shoe style seating in the front that could fit a group of 8. They also have regular four seat tables.
2. Bar - Just like any other sushi bar seating.
3. Counter - In the back, higher chairs and even though it seems like it would only be for employees, it's intimate back here!
I wish that izakaya places had a portion size rating from Small to Large rating for portion sizes. When you eat izakaya, you automatically think SMALL but that's not always the case, especially for the spicy crab salad and champon. That would've been enough for the two of us but we had to tack on some hamachi sashimi and black cod which were the BEST. Other than from being overly stuffed, I don't regret the add-ons at all.
The black cod was really smooth and flakey. I feel like you can't really go wrong with black cod and I've never had it cooked poorly. Sashimi was fresh but the wasabi wasn't strong enough. The champon tastes just like what it is, a blend of Japanese Chinese flavors. Filled with cabbage and fish cake, it just oozes healthy and warm. The spicy crab salad tasted like a sushi roll but in salad form. With the sweet and spicy miso dressing and the wide load of tobiko, it is what it is.
I really like this place! If I lived in the area, I'd totally be a regular. Like eating a home cooked meal... it's irreplaceable!
It must mean something when you're sitting at a sushi conveyor belt next to an Anthony Bourdain-esque clone, thick book in hand, rocking a dark suit jacket with casual pants, salt and peppered hair, and clearly a friend of the owners.
Given that the owners are NOT Japanese (they're my Cantonese homies), the sushi quality remains high for this type of joint. I walked in at around 8:30pm on a Friday night and it looked like there wasn't much left on the belt expect for some fried sushi pieces and some spicy tuna maki adorned with yam fries. No seriously, I kept seeing those two circle around and around that I couldn't forget them.
It doesn't matter because you can just order whatever nigiri you feel like eating. The only downside to this is that you won't know what specialty dishes they have in their pocket... some which I was able to see later like the seared tuna (which is actually more raw) and then some octopus/zucchini dish that I couldn't snatch my hands on in time. Conveyor belt is only for the quick of mind and fast reflexed.... otherwise expect yourself to be running for your dish.
Now the crowning moment was when I got the uni. This is like the creme de la creme of nigiri for me and my dessert to a proper Japanese meal. The sushi man said that they had only a little bit left, but possibly not enough to make two pieces. But he scrounged it up and was able to give us two luscious pieces of glory. It tasted fresh and buttery, just as it's supposed to.
Now don't get all snobby on me because this is a conveyor belt place so treat it as one. Locals clearly love it here--all I saw were hugs to the owner and "see you next week"s. Now that's my kind of place!