Preview of Minako on Mission
Been passing this place on Mission between 17th and 18th for weeks now, and finally stopped in. It's just south of Country Station Sushi (2154 Mission, 864-1888).
Next time I will have to get there before 9:30pm, which is when they close. (open 5:30 for dinner, also weekdays lunch from 11:30-2:30, closed Tuesdays). This place looks awesome. The owner/chef is a lady from Kobe, Japan, who used to be a cooking teacher on TV in Japan (NHK). She named the restaurant for her daughter, who is the host and seems like she was born here. The menu is all organic, with lots of vegetarian dishes. Though they have sushi, I am really looking forward to the cooked dishes.
I'll post a report soon, but my expectations are high. Even better that the front has a really tacky sign that says "Sake Sushi, Nihon Ryori (Japanese cuisine)."
Minako is a wonderful culinary and friendly experience. The aesthetics of the tempura and teriyaki were particularly beautiful and creative. We also enjoyed a large bowl of udon and unagi. I agree with chowhound chibi that the atmosphere is warm and caring, in contrast to stern and knife yielding. The owners have put a lot of effort and care into making Minako a respite in the bustling and jostling mission district.
I hope you enjoy your meal when you do get around to eating there. This it a great little funky neighborhood place and both the chef and her daughter are extremely friendly and kind people. The food is straightforward with an emphasis on super-fresh veggies (such as a great salad of baby chard and kale with miso dressing). The meat dishes will come with a bed of lightly blanched green beans or kale that are just perfect. Even the white rice tastes better.
There are lots of great Japanese places where you are served by a nice-but-stern, masterful chef who wields his knife like a sword; at this place you are taken care of by a sweet, nurturing obasan... who gently but firmly reminds you to eat your veggies.
Oh, and you'll get a kick out of the decor in the bathroom.