Rokko in San Jose?
As Wendy-San mentioned awhile back, Rokko, the Sunnyvale izakaya house, opened a branch in Downtown San Jose. Has anybody been? It's a kind of restaurant that hasn't been in Downtown San Jose heretofore.
I had high hopes for this place, and was not impressed. Since I was by myself I decided to sit at the bar.
There were 2 sushi chef there on Thurs 10/12/06 during lunch time--one Hispanic male, and one Asian (Korean or Japanese-I can't tell). I sat in front of the Hispanic male. He didn't talk to me once all the 45 min I was there. (he seemed a bit out of place in technique), neither did the other guy.
The lunch menu had lots of pretty pictures of the lunch specials & rolls. I should have gotten the specialty rolls but I didn't. Bad mistake for me. Instead I ordered:
#26 Negihama-yellowtail & green onion hand roll $2.95. That was just ok, not enough fish, too much green onion and rice.
I also got #15 Pike mackerel lunch special $8.25. It comes with salad, miso soup, rice and two good size pike mackerels. The fish tasted funny, i don't know what they put in it, but it tasted bitter. They had the guts and heads on them so that's a bad thing in my book--this fish has tons and tons of little bones. I hate that! Don't get this dish ever! There were also 9 edamame on my plate and some purple pickles, 2 yellow pickles and white stuff.
Service is slow here. It took me 45 min to get out of there. I don't recommend it unless someone else is paying and you stick to fancy rolls (those looked good, but expensive).
I found out they've been at the SJ location for 5 months. My lunch w/ tip and tax was $14.12, yikes, this was for the chowhounds.
Rokko Japanese Cuisine
55 S. Market St (@ Post)
SJ CA 95113
M-F Lunch 11:30-2pm; Dinner 5-9:30pm
Never been to either location, but judging from reviews and other people's impressions, that this place tries to bill itself as a restaurant with izakaya offerings + sushi bar and grill.
I've never heard anything positive about the sushi (and nothing negative either prior) so perhaps the strengths of this place is its cooked dishes, and probably during dinner time. If you do go back, perhaps check out their dinner menu and see what kind of offerings they have that might be a better choice.
Because if you look at it, Gochi, Saizo, Tanto and other izakayas, their strengths and best dishes are all served during dinner. During lunch they offer the ho hum blah typical fare (although of decent quality). That might also explain why yakitori-ya's like Sumiya are also open only for dinner (partly cultural, so that stressed out people go out to eat and drink with their compadres, clients, friends etc).
I recall having grilled pike mackeral a while back at some sushi restaurant, and it tasted as if the innards were used to marinate the fish (ie very bitter). It definitely is a super boney fish. I may have had better luck at a place where they do grilled food regularly and right, like Gombei in Menlo Park. Sanma as sushi, on the other hand, is a much nicer alternative if the preparation is done correctly.