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Jan 5, 2007 08:30 PM

New Japanese Place in Petaluma: Gohan

My husband and I dined at a new place in Petaluma called Gohan earlier this week. It shares a parking lot with Kohl's, right off the 101. Newly opened, they had a limited menu this week, but what we had was great. Right now they are offering their full sushi menu plus a special prix fixe 3 course dinner menu. We shared a dinner and a few rolls. We started w/a wakame (seaweed)salad topped w/real snow crab and caviar. I usually hate wakame salad, but this was beyond good. Our main course was the mixed tempura. It was authentic, portion size was decent, and it included a scallop, prawn and soft-shell crab! Yum. We ended dinner w/the best green tea cheesecake I've ever had. I make really good cheesecake, but this made me want to eat here every night just so I could finish my meal with this dessert. The owner came out to chat w/us and you can tell that he is truly passionate about his food, which we really appreciated (especially in the dessert, where he said he and his wife tasted many different green teas before selecting one that wouldn't make the cheesecake bitter). We are looking forward to returning soon and trying out their full menu.

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  1. This brief mention of Gohan in the Press Democrat says that there are four Japanese restaurants in the area. How do you feel it compares to those?

    It seems the website is a work in progress.

    Thanks for the report. I don't eat at a lot of Japaense restaurants but the green tea cheesecake sounds good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      I've been to all the other Japanese restaurants in the area and I would say that this is definitely comparable to Hiro's (my favorite before we found Gohan) in downtown Petaluma...but without the crowded tables and strange decor. Even for those who are not huge sushi or Japanese food fans, this place is great. Our friends had the rib eye (whole, not sliced like most Japanese places) with a Zinfandel teriyaki glaze. They LOVED it. We will probably go again this week...can't stop thinking about the cheesecake!

      1. re: lj2899

        Thanks. Well, keep us updated about it.

    2. Is this Gohan related to the Gohan in SF? I think its near 18th and maybe Lincoln?? Definitely on the south side of GG Park.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mmerino

        No. The newspaper mention that it is a first time restaurant for the owner.

      2. This is so near my house and my favorite strip mall! I am anxious to try any resturant that can compete with Hiros. Hiros is great but you REALLY need reservations and the seating is mighty tight.

        This inquiring mind needs to know... do they serve edamame or natto?

        1 Reply
        1. re: drmimi

          When I went, they were only serving a limited menu. I do believe I saw edamame on their lunch menu (and who's to say when they go to a full menu this won't be available for lunch and dinner), but I did not see natto. Being that there is not necessarily the hugest draw for this delicacy of fermented beans, I would suggest calling and asking about it or suggesting it to the owner, Steve. He seemed open-minded when we met him...maybe you could convince him to add it!

          You know, I should have originally said that Gohan is comparable OR better than Hiro's...seriously! We appreciated the ambiance and cuisine a bit more than Hiro's. You should try it out for yourself and let us know what you think!

        2. Natto is down home Japanese food-- one of my screening signs for authentic Japanese food (something I learned from several Japanese friends). Yes, it is definitely the "chitlins" of Japan- an acquired taste.

          If Natto isn't there-- well prepared edamame is another clue.

          1 Reply
          1. re: drmimi

            We made our second visit to Gohan this weekend and I inquired about the Natto...yes, it will be on the menu. The owner stated it's one of his favorites. I must say, this second visit did not disappoint! I think we've found our new favorite Japanese place!

          2. I used to go to Kyoto's in Rohnert Park where Steve used to work at. When I ran into him and he told me that he had opened his own restaurant I already knew that it was going to rock. I just went there yesterday with my parents and the chicken teriyaki bento box was awesome! The California rolls were the best ever, the tempura batter was nice and light, the chicken was glazed in a sweet teriyaki sauce and all of the special touches were there like at Kyoto's; but Gohans (which is Japanese for rice) is superb when it comes to Japanese food. I am full Japanese and it's my mission to go try every Japanese and sushi restaurant that I can find; I can now say that Gohans is now my family's favorite Japanese place. Steve is an awesome chef and person, and I will do my part to spread the word of his triumphant achievement!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Kiyokochan

              When you went yesterday, was your California roll made from kani (the fake crab made w/fish cake) or was it made with real snow crab? We stopped in for some take-out this weekend and were greatly dismayed by fake instead of real crab in our CA roll, which the menu notes as "real snow crab". At best it had a little bit of crab mixed in the fake crab salad. This was unfortunate b/c on our first visit we had real crab in our roll...I am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt that since he's been slammed since his official opening (it was PACKED when we ordered take out, and one of the waitresses said they've been extremely busy since they opened their full menu) that maybe he ran out? I don't see it as a good sign that he is downgrading his ingredients in just a mere couple of weeks since his opening. Some of our friends want to try the place, so we may go Friday and keep our fingers crossed.

              1. re: lj2899

                I hope you complained about the switcheroo!