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Changes in downtown San Mateo (Chinese, Japanese)

  • K K Jun 1, 2008 08:15 AM
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Yup I don't get out that much, but this is what is coming

Former SF resident Chika that relocated down to San Mateo, that transformed from a humble eatery to a place that did a mix of common Japanese (and nailed down basics great) with Yoshoku like hamburg steak in a mildly upscale environment, occupying a former Vietnamese fusion restaurant (Camranh Bay) and Chinese buffet place, is now out of business, Looks like some pizza joint will occupy that space. (Three words, BAD Feng Shui.)

Andy Wai's restaurant is supposedly no more. Didn't walk by it, but the main man himself apparently left the restaurant. I believe today might even be the last day of business.
(Supreme talent, I suppose he partnered with people who didn't run the restaurant properly as witnessed by staff turnover, management issues, and a struggling restaurant business/market.)

A few doors down from Himawari, is a place yet to be opened but calling itself Sweet Breams. It is going to specialize in taiyaki which as of now you can only get it from May's Coffee Shop in SF J-town (the pancake like batter with red bean inside grilled in some cast iron mold so it comes out looking like a mini red snapper). I'm not setting any expectations for this place for my own reasons.

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  1. Thanks KK, we're actually going to dinner in that area tonight. Sushi Sam's is closed, so we were looking at Izakaya Mai or Hotaru. Any other places to keep in mind? Everyday Beijing is on the radar too.

    1. Thanks, KK, for the updates. Chika had been going downhill as far as I was concerned, but it's still a shame to lose this type of a Japanese restaurant. A place that only sells taiyaki? Not sure how that can survive. :-)

      We liked Chef Wai the couple of times we went, but it was pretty expensive.

      In a choice between Izakaya Mai and Hotaru, I'd go with the former. For Chinese, yes, Everyday Beijing is supreme.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Wendy_san

        We found Izakaya Mai closed, so we ended up at Hotaru. It was ok, not great. Prices were reasonable though. Server didn't know which sake were unfiltered, don't think she was new either.

      2. that's too bad about chika. i really liked the okura natto spaghetti - that's hard to find anywhere else.

        1. Thanks for the reports.

          Too bad about Chika, but no surprise. I really liked their Salisbury steak and a few other items on the menu, but all the three times we went, it was pretty empty.

          No sadness for Chef Wai -- I considered it for my wedding rehearsal dinner, but when we went on a Saturday prime evening to try it out, the food was bland and the place was only 1/4 full. Ended up having a wonderful rehearsal banquet for 60 guests at Little Sichuan instead. Very reasonable price, too.

          Like the others was surprised to find Sushi Sam's closed last Sunday. Oidon was closed too, and Kisaku was full, so we ended up at Hotaru -- first time I've been there for a long while. Cooked food was better than the sushi, and everything was solid but not standout. Chicken wings were the best choice.

          2 Replies
          1. re: PekoePeony

            Felicitations, P2! Could you please tell us more about your banquet at Little Sichuan?

            1. re: PekoePeony

              Sushi Sam's is always closed on Sunday & Monday. Yuzu is a bit further south on El Camino Real & 37th St., but they're open for dinner on Sundays.

              Congrats on the nuptials, PP!

            2. Sweet Breams cracks me up. I like taiyaki (I've found them in a few other places in J-town and elsewhere) but I can't imagine making them the main offering of any commercially viable establishment. But I'll be happy to test them out.

              1. When we lived in San Mateo, our favorite Sushi place was Joy Sushi on B street (across from the train station). The portions are huge but the food isn't anything that I would call amazing- just big portions at a good price. Large list of specialty rolls to choose from but I usually stuck to the basics. I would easily get two meals out of the Chicken Katsu Donburi.
                30 S B Street
                San Mateo, CA 94401
                (650) 340-8974
                www.joysushi.net
                For Chinese, we never found anyplace that beat Oceanic on El Camino and 25th. The hot & sour soup is the best I've ever had. We had some consistency problems but overall they were excellent.
                2507 S El Camino Real
                San Mateo, CA 94403
                (650) 570-4234
                A big plus is they deliver which was hard to find on the peninsula (even worse in the south bay)

                1. Update:

                  The restaurant Chef Wai is still in business for the moment. Andy is no longer working there for sure.

                  1. Chika moved to Cupertino. A loss to the neighborhood for sure.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Tabetai yo

                      Yo, Tabetai, LTNS! I'm not finding a new address for Chika in Cupertino . . . can you give us some coordinates for its new home?

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        I'll see if I can find out & bring the info tomorrow.