Eiji Restaurant - Oboro Tofu - Anyone tried?
Ever since I read the Chronicle review of Eiji in Noe Valley, I've been wanting to try their Oboro Tofu. I was just wondering if anyone's been to Eiji and had the tofu, and what other must-haves there might be on the menu.
We tried Eiji on a rainy Sat. night. We were seated next to a party of three that were talking with loud voices. The tables are very close together, and I quickly tired of trying not to be part of their conversation and vice versa. We noticed a couple of open seats at the counter (they make sushi in the kitchen, not at a bar) and changed seats. It was nice to be able to have a private conversation and watch the oburo tofu being made to order. This dish is worth trying. We also had a plate of sashimi and a few specials: eggplant w/ miso and walnut, pork cube and grilled black cod. The food was good but I'm not sure I'd go out of my way for it. I like that it's a more homestyle Japanese restaurant, not your typical menu (no tempura nor teriyaki). But for more unusual Japanese dishes, I'd spend more and go to Kiss Seafood, which I really enjoy every time.
I was there a couple of weeks ago and it was wonderful.
The tofu dishes - we ordered both of the hot one's - were as good as it gets.
Other dishes, including the plesantly gooey yamakake were made
with great care and were high on flavor. I particularly liked the black cod preparation.
Although there were only two of us, we happily ordered enough for four,
just to taste that night's specials.
Yes, the place is small, but despite a large birthday party of eight
when we were there, it never felt too noisy or too closed in.
A great place to go before or after a screening at the Castro.
We just got back from Eiji and really enjoyed everything. We ordered two different types of tofu (both of the hot ones, as Hop reports), a bunch of nigiri, and a standout showstopper for me, the mackerel and bittermelon sunomono. I have never had fresher or better mackerel in my life, and I am a slut for mackerel--I almost always order it. This sunomono is the best bowl of food I've had in a really long time. My picky toddler ate a huge amount of tofu, so I think we'll happily be going back.
Personally, I prefer the Ankake Tofu - but both are great. I also recommend the Gindara Misotsuke (Grilled Black Cod in miso-sauce); the white fish carpaccio; all sushi (extremely fresh); either of the seafood sunomono - both excellent.
It gets very crowded in the evening. I highly recommend going for lunch. It is generally not too crowded. I actually use for quiet business meetings and show up just after 1pm. If you are very familiar with Japanese food and know what to order, this is one of the best Japanese restaurants in the city. If your idea of Japanese food is Tempura and Teppan-yaki, there are better choices.
i have wanted to try out eiji for years, but didn't get around to it until tonight. the oboro tofu is quite a treat. they fill a small claypot nabe dish full of soymilk and heat it on a portable burner. when it comes to temperature, they stir in the coagulant. it sits and a piping hot fresh pot of tofu the texture of a broken custard arrives with a dish of the following condiments: minced and/or shredded katsuobushi, shiso, and green onion, along with toasted sesame seeds, ground spicy daikon and ginger. plus a little pour spout of tamari, to season to taste.
we also had goma-ae, the spinach dish topped with a sweet and nutty sesame sauce, although this one seemed freshly ground, almost the difference between smooth and chunky peanut butter, though more finely textured. it was nice. and a steamed "white fish" appetizer with cha soba. i'm not sure what sort of fish it was, but it was giving, skin-on, and juicy, maybe black cod? under a small tangle of green cha soba noodles that must had been finished or reheated in an oven, because the top of the noodles were toasted, browned and crunchy.
a side of kohada nigiri was so-so. as was a spicy tuna roll and a green onion hamachi roll my friend ordered. guessing sushi isn't their strength.
but i loved that tofu.
i'm guessing if i do a search i might find options for similarly made piping hot fresh tofu at other restaurants, but any recent recs would be great. the sun was out this evening but it was brisk and chilly. this dish was exactly what i wanted.