Best Western Mikado
No, "Hello," Curt is in the right place: this hotel on Riverside Drive has a Japanese restaurant that claims to be the oldest one in the SF Valley. I have driven past it for years and always wondered if it's any good, since it has a very distinctive (albeit kitschy) look from the street. I hope someone who knows can enlighten us.
My sister used to go there when she was young, without husband and childless. As a time travel fantasy kind of thing we took her there for her birthday a couple of years ago. It is OK. But as far as choosing it over many of the other J food places in the Valley; I don't think so, Kemosabe.
Damn! I thought this was the Snoozehounds.
Mikado, a restaurant, is part of the "Best Western Mikado".
Anyone, with useful information, would know that.
I used the full name to jog people's memory.
I was first introduced to it as "the Japanese restaurant, in front of the Best Western, on Riverside".
Now, after renovation, the entire complex has kind of become "one".
Thanks for the input.
So, a friend of mine was a huge fan of the Matterhorn Chef restaurant, he can go on and on talking about this place. He was on their mailing list, even after they closed, and recently received notice that Chef Ulei has been installed at the newly renovated Mikado restaurant. Open since 1963, there are a few shadows of its former exotic self, but in general, it's now a nice, clean open space, long sushi bar and cozy black vinyl booths. In addition, the patio looked really lovely.
The menu didn't strike me as all that interesting. Actually, it seemed like a Japanese menu from the 60's, where a lot of the ethnic specialties were perhaps toned down for American palates.
For a Saturday night, the place was DEAD, I felt so bad for the staff. On the plus side, they are very proud of their temperature controlled wine storage units and they are building a nice little wine list to show it off. They have a full bar as well and apparently offer some mid-week 2 for 1 deals on exotic drinks.
On to the food:
I ordered Dynamite as an app, have always been curious about this dish. Bland bay scallops, soft and savory sauteed mushrooms and onion, and of course the mayo sauce. It was salty and quite comforting.
I couldn't resist ordering sushi, I got a "Lobster Salad" roll, Blue Crab roll (in soy paper) and two pieces of scallop sushi, two pieces of Hamachi.
It was all fine. No better than what I get locally at, say, Pazazz sushi on Hyperion, but it was plenty tasty. The oddest roll was the crab roll. There was no seasoning/fish egg/mayo, nothing. So basically, it was white crab meat, white rice, wrapped in white soy paper. Generous with the crab meat, but it ended up being flavorless.
My companion ordered the Emperor special which included Tempura, Ribs on mashed potato, Yakitori, and gyoza. He very much enjoyed it, esp. the ribs, which were served in a small, boneless brick. Very tender.
All in all, this place was groovy in a throwback kind of way. Service was good, the food was hot, but because they had no customers, they closed over an hour early which was kind of awkward.
I have a feeling there will be some more changes and updates to the menu as Chef feels the place out. Don't go expecting the height of Japanese cuisine, but for a meal of comfort food in a fun atmosphere, I'd recommend it.