Major changes at Kaygetsu
Hello Hounds. My ace wingman KK just forwarded a bombshell of a communique to me, and I'm going to paste it in verbatim below.
In a nutshell, Kaygetsu's out of the lunch business as of Friday. Also, they're dropping sushi except for Tuesday and Sunday nights. Both of these changes seem perfectly reasonable for a kaiseki restaurant that doesn't want to lose its focus by doing two things at once.
The Sakae vs. Kaygetsu thread(s) on the subject of sushi are now rendered effectively moot. It would have been nice to do a head-to-head comparison on everything from shari to tani selection to knife skills and presentation, but alas, Sushi Monster put it off too long and now it's out of the question.
begin quoted material:
Hello to all,
It's been almost four years since we opened in April of 2004. We took a huge risk by closing Toshi's Sushiya and opening a new Kaiseki restaurant. Now, thanks to your support, we have been recognized as one of the top restaurants in the bay area. We are again taking a huge step forward and making changes at Kaygetsu.
New Business Hours - Lunch Closed
We'll be closed for lunch after Friday, February 29th. We'll be available for lunch catering. We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our lunch customers. It was a difficult decision; but it's just got to be too taxing to do both lunch and dinner when our dinner menu requires a lot of preparation time.
Tues - Thurs: 5:30 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.
Fri, Sat.: 5:30 p.m. - 9:15 p.m.
Sun: 5:30 p.m - 8:30 p.m.
*Closing times correspond to the last seating - so we'll be open longer in most cases.
**We'll be closed on Sunday, March 2nd.
Dinner Menu Tues and Sun - Ala carte and sushi menu only
Wed - Sat. - Kaiseki menu only (smaller courses and vegetarian menu will be available)
While we work on these new menus, only ala carte and sushi menu are offered until Saturday, March 1st.
New execitive chef Our Kaiseki chef, Shinichi Aoki is heading our kitchen effective February 15th along with the departure of co-Kaiseki chef, Katsuhiro Yamasaki. Katsuhiro will be opening a new restaurant with his wife, Mayumi.
What's Toshi doing? Toshi will still be residing at the sushi bar; however, sushi will be offered on Tuesdays and Sundays only. He will be working on sashimi on the rest of the week and sushi will not be offered. This way, he can concentrate on making sushi 2 days a week with better selection of sushi on those days.
Lunch Catering Lunch catering will be available from Tuesday, March 4th. For large orders, catering on Monday is available as well. We're still working on catering menu - please call Keiko for any questions.
Making reservations More time slots will be available for reservations due to extended business hours. Please call us at (650) 234-1084 for reservations or any questions about the menu - we know it's a little confusing. For sushi bar reservations, you'd need to call us directly.
<http://cts.vresp.com/c/?kaygetsuresta... here for on-line reservation
We ask for your understanding during this transition; and we hope to see you all soon!
Toshi and Keiko Sakuma
Well this is not really news to me.
Toshi-san spends way too much time cranking out tekka don, California rolls during the lunch periods where his classical skills are not being put to use. The other problem is that not many people are willing to plunk down low 3 digits for a sushi meal (especially during lunch) to be full. Dinner however regulars don't have an issue with that.
There's very very little cooked food offerings that reflect the kaiseki dinners and dinner a la carte during lunch periods, unlike Nami Nami in Mountain View, that offers strictly Kyoto style kappo and anything else non kaiseki (including kyoto style bentos/set lunches, which the nami nami lunch bento set as well as anything involving grilled fish or the veggie hot pot).
Toshi-san did say sometime last year that he would stop working during lunch period, and/or hire someone else instead to do nigiri, rolls etc, it's definitely way too much work, and he needs time to prep the exotic seasonal imports (which apparently have not shown up during lunchtime again, due to lack of time to prep). So yeah even if isaki or hamo was on the kaiseki menu, you wouldn't see it during lunch period at the bar.
On another note, I would still urge SM and anyone to try this place out for himself and for sushi alone (assuming lunch is the only time to eat), not for the sake of review and/or a sushi list, Kaygetsu's sushi bar, to get a perspective of authentic Tokyo style nigiri sushi, by a true master using some of the top ingredients, in addition to a superb sushi rice receipe. Yes, it's not cheap, yes this place was never a sushi restaurant to begin with, but that 6 seater counter bar is still Toshi's space. Look, if people are willing to flock to Isa SF just to eat guest chef Sachio Kojima (?) former sushi chef of Kabuto SF and owner of sushi restaurant Vivify in Mt Shasta area, it's gotta still count for something. This is assuming of course you have no problems eating at Sakae Sushi (and of course what they charge). The only issue here is that Kaygetsu sits on top of prime real estate, so of course prices as a result seem over valued. But again, it's just another and perhaps final perspective.
I'm still glad we have Sakae as another option that in a nutshell could be seen as better value (bigger sized nigiri) and really pristine top tier fish from several distribution channels/sources in order to get the quality and selection they have.
re: K K
You know Ken, I have never sat and eaten at that tiny sushi bar ever since the couple moved from El Camino to Sharon Heights. And Kaygetsu kinda looks like a special-occasion restaurant now, which means most people I think don't go there that often. I always feel uneasy when they greet me by name, because I don't frequent Kaygetsu as often as when they were still Sushiya, and Shin, now apparently the executive chef, was touched when I said hi to him by name, since he disappeared from the sushi bar to the kitchen at Kaygetsu. So my question for you Ken, is whether Kaygetsu's sushi is better than/different from the days of Sushiya?
I received this email too and while, yes, it's all big news, the main thing *I* want to know are the details on now former co-Kaiseki chef Yamasaki-san's new restaurant. Maybe another kaiseki place, but with more competitive prices? :-)