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Homey Japanese- Hattoriya

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IanW Sep 11, 2007 07:16 PM

I was making my first pilgrimage to Dittmer's, when I came across this interesting little Japanese place on a fairly industrial section of San Antonio road. I decided to stop my for lunch and check it out.

The place looks like it was an old deli or burger joint in some bygone era, but it now it is filled with Japanese nicknacks and Ansel Adams posters. I guess that is a good way to describe the food as well- a strange blend of Japanese and Western(a little bit like that place on the bridge in Japantown). The place is run by an older Japanese husband and wife team. Husband does the cooking, and the wife does the serving. While the food was pretty authentic the crowd seemed to be a bunch of gringos who were slightly frightened that there wasn't the standard Teriyaki Chicken/Tempura combo or that there was no Mega Crazy 49er Spider Dragon Roll available on a nice laminated menu with pretty pictures.

The speciality appears to be the Hamburg Steak Dishes as this Hamburger patty appear with the lunch combination and had a section devoted to it on the menu. However, I tried Japanese style Hamburger dishes before and am not a big fan. So I decided to go with Beef Curry with a Vegetable Croquette. At $9.75 it wasn't cheap, but the portion was large(and you could upgrade for a bigger portion for $1.75. The curry was decent but didn't have a ton a flavor. It had that Japanese Curry out of a box mix taste. The Croquette was a better option. It was fried perfectly and had a lovely creamy filling. One of these days, I will perfect making Japanese style croquettes. But until then Hattoriya will be my first choice.

It is hard to complain about this place since the wife co-owner was very nice and whole place had a very homey feel to it. The menu is pretty large so I would probably pick another option next time I go in there. They were advertising their Japanese Chippino on the table, I would love to hear from another hound brave enough to give that a shot.

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Hattoriya
799 San Antonio Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94303

  1. K K Sep 11, 2007 10:11 PM

    Cash only place if I remember correctly. Yes, the mom and pop feel of this place is great as is the service. I'm not 100% sure if they are husband and wife (someone said they weren't, I don't know). And I think a yelp report mentioned the chef used to work at Yakko in Mountain View when it was under Japanese ownership, who hated working in sushi but loved cooked food, hence leaving and opening up Hattoriya.

    Never stomached up the dolla billz for the Cioppino, but some of the white board daily specials are quite good, like Omurice or Omelette rice (very popular even in Taiwan these days) which falls into comfort food category for some. A few varieties of grilled fish, and they had black cod one time too (gindara).

    2 Replies
    1. re: K K
      vincentlo Sep 18, 2007 03:22 AM

      This place is way too expensive for its food and decor! I used to go there quite a bit, and a buddy would joke that they could charge that much because of its proximity to Google. Try ordering unagi with eggs cooked and served in a saucepan, even if it's not in the menu.

      Vincent

      1. re: vincentlo
        K K Sep 19, 2007 03:02 PM

        True dat.

        Almost tried your rec today but saw they had ramen on a separate white board.

        Shoyu and Miso broths only. Scallions, bamboo shoots, half a hard boiled egg, and a huge single piece of chashu, and noodles (from Japan).

        Bottom line: not worth the $10 a bowl. The miso broth tasted like regular miso soup. The noodles were a bit hard, just a tad bit better than the refrigerator supermarket kind.

        Now I wish I had the unagi with egg and veg over rice instead...

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