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Jul 11, 2008 12:17 AM

I love Japanese but not sushi...

...which is not as contradictory as it may sound. I'm not a fan of fish, and the combination of that with rice/nori/raw veggies rather bores me, but I love love LOVE Japanese comfort food: tonkatsu, chicken katsu, oyakodon, unagi over rice, omurice, get the picture :)

I've been craving these for a while, but every Japanese review I look up ends up discussing the sushi! Anyone have any recommendations for getting a good bowl of meat over rice (or udon--not ramen, but udon) in the EAST bay? (I know of some places in SF, but I'd love to get a restaurant or two closer to home)


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    1. I think Rikyu on College also does unajyu, tempura, teriyaki and such, but they do also have sushi. Although I've never tried these items (I had sushi), I heard from the owner's wife that the chef was trained traditionally and was very skilled in making cooked Japanese items.

      Doesn't Kirala also offer a lot of robata items as well?

      Kirala Restaurant
      2100 Ward St, Berkeley, CA 94705

      Rikyu Japanese Restaurant
      5335 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

    2. Norikonoko serves terrific authentic homestyle food. The place is run by an old couple. I recommend getting the daily specials. It's a bit on the pricey side but well worth it. Near Berkeley campus on Telegraph between Blake St. and Parker St. If you've been to Kui Shin Bo in SF Japantown, it's similar but with no sushi and instead, they do robata.

      Norikonoko Japanese Rstrnt
      2556 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

      1. Very cheap and tasty, and actually run by Japanese people (there are lots of Korean-run Japanese places nearby): Geta. They are a sushi joint, but the katsu is tasty, and the udon is simple but delicious. And so so cheap! Don't expect much ambience, though.

        Geta Japanese Restaurant
        165 41st St, Oakland, CA 94611

        8 Replies
        1. re: eeblet

          Oh em gee. Geta looks fabulous--I'm excited already by looking at the (cheap) donburi section on their menu! Quick question, would you recommend the pork or chicken katsu, based on your experiences?

          And no, no ambience needed at all ;P

          1. re: Pammeh

            The katsu curry or ginger pork are my faves. Hubby luvs their sub $5 oyako don.

            1. re: lexdevil

              Oooo, sounds great! And at those prices, I can get BOTH katsu and oyakodon! :) When presented with both on a menu, I often agonize over which one to try.

              1. re: Pammeh

                Take the comment on ambiance seriously. Geta is TINY. There's always a wait for a table, and once you get one, the place is cramped w/ folks waiting on line. For us, Geta is all about take away.

                1. re: lexdevil

                  I always like to stay, actually - if you show up at 2pm for lunch or 5:30pm for dinner, it will be pretty empty, and as long as you don't sit at the table in front of the bathroom, it's fine. Just don't expect anything other than a busy take-out place happening all around you. :)

                  1. re: eeblet

                    Geta sounds pretty good! I can't believe how many times I've walked past this place and headed straight on to Gregoire. Gotta try Geta next, the prices do look attractive, will report back~

                    1. re: liujenny

                      Just remember, Geta and Gregoire couldn't be more different. And not just because the former is Japanese and the latter French. The best word to describe the food at Geta is homey. There's nothing remotely upscale about it. And it will cost you 1/3 to 1/2 as much as Gregoire.

                      1. re: lexdevil

                        Exactly - it's more like the Piedmont Diner... but Japanese.

        2. Norikonoko's great. Charming little place.

          Kirala does good robata and their butterfish is tops, but the wait is ridiculous. We were going to go there last night but at 8:45 there was still a long line. We went to Kansai instead (Korean-run Japanese).

          Mitama's cooked food is good.

          Mitama Restaurant
          3201 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

          1. O Chame has great udon and soba. Slightly upscale.

            O Chame
            1830 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

            1 Reply
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I love O Chame! :) But unfortunately, it's a bit to pricy to add to my list of regular comfort food places. Yeah, I'm reaaally craving fried meat and eggs over rice first thing in the morning now, haha...