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Feb 10, 2007 07:40 PM

Norikonoko--how did we miss this little gem? [Berkeley]

Dinner here tonight for a change from the usual sushi-based Japanese outing:

Japanese small plates in a funky, homey setting. The best goma-ae I ever ate, unusual wakame (with slices of pickled cuke atop)--broad soft bits of seaweed like you find in soup rather that the delectably rubbery strands--very good, eggplant cooked with bonito flakes, robata chicken with wasabi, robata potatoes, robata shiitake mushrooms. Though we (gasp!) had no rice and the food was delicate and the portions seemed mega-small, when we stood up we were full!

Oh, and I did have the magura sashimi slices. Nice, but kept it from being totally cooked. We'll be back to try the ramen even though we won't eat that many of the noodles.

Nice people, too. And cozy on this rainy night.

Total cost? $43 for two. Not cheap but I love all those different tastes and it was so much less pretentious than O Chame. (Not to mention cheaper.)

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    1. re: Cynsa

      Oh, so sorry. Yes, on Telegraph between Dwight and Blake. We got parking right in front. Berkeley for sure. Doesn't replace our outings to Gombei, which is much bigger and with a larger group of offerings, but it will certainly do nicely rather than drive to Menlo Park!

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Yes, thank you Melanie. You're so much better at posting than I am. Takes me a while to realize I never even put in the city!

            1. re: lintygmom

              No, no, not at all. I think you were so excited to find this lovely spot that the city was but a minor detail. Thanks for posting.

        1. re: lintygmom

          Should I read this to mean that, logistics aside, you prefer Gombei to Norikonoko? (I like Norikonoko very well, but I had the impression Gombei was nothing special!)

          1. re: eethan

            Maybe Gombei has gone downhill in the last 5 years.

      1. That included a 20% tip, our usual unless service sucked. Since being in service industry often sucks.

        1. Went by last night to find that they changed their hours, they're now closing at 8:00.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Did you happen to write down their hours? It took me three tries before I could eat there! They're definitely closed on Monday and Tuesday. Lunch officially stops at either 1 or 1:30.

            1. re: hyperbowler

              I think it said dinner Wed.-Sun. 5:30-8pm but I'd call before going there. (510) 548-1274

          2. Posted hours as of yesterday: lunch 11:30-1:00 Wed.-Fri.; dinner 5:30-8:00 Wed.-Sun.

            1. Went by last week sign up saying closed until further notice or something to that effect.
              Called today number has been changed, no mention of Norikonoko on new answer message.
              Sounds like they might be closed for good ) - :

              4 Replies
              1. re: chefj

                They were closed by a fairly extensive fire. I understand it will take 9 or so months to make repairs and reopen.

                1. re: salumigirl

                  When was that?, I did not hear anything about it.
                  Glad to know they will be back though.

                  1. re: chefj

                    I'm not sure. My husband does business with them and mentioned it to me a few weeks ago. He didn't get any other details.

                  2. re: salumigirl

                    Luke Tsai followed up with the owners and reported this morning in the East Bay Express that they plan to reopen next summer.