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Best Japanese spots for things other than sushi

cavolonero Nov 23, 2010 01:06 PM

Where are the very best places to go for homestyle dishes, izakaya, etc...??

The places could have sushi, as well. I like sushi and am interested in the best sushi places, also, but I would really like to find places who are doing harder to find japanese dishes that are amazing.

I already love and go to Minako and Ippuku...

thanks.

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Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant
2154 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Ippuku
2130 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

  1. w
    weshoke Jun 19, 2011 01:59 PM

    Sebo has changed their format to half sushi/sashimi half izakaya everyday due to unavailability of fish from Northern Japan right now.

    Also, there's a new Japanese in Hayes Valley called Nojo that's getting good reviews. It doesn't serve sushi.

    http://www.nojosf.com

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    Sebo
    517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

    Nojo
    231 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

    1 Reply
    1. re: weshoke
      Windy Jul 12, 2011 12:26 PM

      Nojo is really good. One of the most competent new kitchens in town.

      Incredibly tender beef tongue, delicious chicken breast with umeboshi plum, wonderful crunchy grilled rice ball.

      About the only thing I was mixed on was chawan mushi, currently served with clams, sea urchin, and okra. The okra's just a bad idea except visually, and clams alone would have been fine. (Get the uni flan at Skool instead).

      Black sesame ice cream sundae with peanut crunchy stuff is amazing. Save room for it.

      Nojo is not cheap, and the atmosphere is a bit urban for my taste: Hayes Valley wishing it were Manhattan. But attentive, enthusiastic service, and precise, delicious food made to order.

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      Skool
      1725 Alameda St, San Francisco, CA 94103

      Nojo
      231 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

    2. n
      Nopa Nov 25, 2010 02:22 PM

      If you're in San Jose, Gombei is the best....

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      Gombei
      193 Jackson St, San Jose, CA 95112

      2 Replies
      1. re: Nopa
        vincentlo Nov 26, 2010 03:55 AM

        I much prefer Kaita to Gombei in San Jose Japantown. Gombei almost feels like a chain restaurant to me.

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        Gombei
        193 Jackson St, San Jose, CA 95112

        Kaita
        215 Jackson St, San Jose, CA 95112

        1. re: Nopa
          k
          kshijo Nov 26, 2010 08:07 AM

          One of the reasons I like Gombei is because it doesn't do sushi. What it does is good food at reasonable prices. There's another Gombei in Menlo Park if you are in that area and If you are dead set on having sushi Shiro also own's Kubota in San Jose's Japantown.

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          Kubota
          593 N 5th St, San Jose, CA

        2. K K Nov 24, 2010 02:04 PM

          Izakayas in SF: Izakaya Sozai, Nombe, Halu, Izakaya Ju-Ku (new place on 1808 Clement), Sebo (on Sundays only), and to an extent, Tekka (cooked dishes, not the sushi)

          Peninsula/South Bay: Izakaya Mai (San Mateo), Lakuni (San Mateo, your mileage will vary, better go w/Japanese speaker), Tanto (San Jose and Sunnyvale), En (Santa Clara), Hoshi (Santa Clara, recommended to bring a Japanese speaker with you for the authentic stuff), Gochi (Cupertino), Saizo (Sunnyvale), Bushido (Mountain View).... Tanto and Gochi are more fusiony.

          Yakitori: Yakitori Kokko (San Mateo), Sumika (Los Altos), Sumiya and sibling restaurant Yakitori Gaku (San Jose) and of course you already mentioned Ippuku that does yakitori and izakaya fare. In fact most of these places offer both and are lumped in with "izakaya" due to the small plates they also offer, although they specialize in yakitori. Maybe a bit more less so for Sumiya and Gaku.

          Kaiseki: Kaygetsu (Menlo Park), Wakuriya (San Mateo)

          Ko-ryori / Kappo (upscale seasonal elegant refined cooking, mostly small plates, but not kaiseki and not izakaya): Kappa in SF (upstairs from Denny's Japantown), Kappo Nami Nami (Mountain View, dinner menu), Kappou Gomi (SF). Not sure where to put Kiss Seafood, but since they are not a sushi restaurant first and foremost, I'll put it in this category. People tend to confuse kappo ryori or ko-ryori (Kappa) with kaiseki, but they are different.

          Yakiniku: Juban (SF Japantown, Menlo Park, Burlingame)

          Yoshoku/Japanese style western: Curry House (Cupertino), On The Bridge (SF Japan town).

          Then there's the upscale fusiony with Japanese and Euro twists, more focused on the Euro side overall, too many list.

          For a fine Nobu NY alum run place that also does excellent sushi, Jin Sho in Palo Alto. The trick is to sit at the bar and talk with the chef owners before hand what you might like or want to try, versus ordering off the menu/sitting at a table.

          Then there's Morimoto in Napa.

          Sanuki Udon in SF Japantown might be the only place in town that makes their udon in house (or so I've read) but there are mixed reviews online.

          Not sure how homecooking this is anymore as my last visit was so so....Gombei in Menlo Park and San Jose, but only the white board specials, e.g. fried stuffed tofu in dashi, stewed vegetable/nimono etc. There may be places that do this stuff better.

          Traditional Japanese sweets / wagashi: Minamoto Kitchoan (SF) and our original 100+ year old Japanese American favorite: Benkyodo-Co (SF J-town).

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          Kappo Nami Nami
          240 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

          Sebo
          517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

          Saizo
          592 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

          Sumika
          236 Central Plz, Los Altos, CA 94022

          Kaygetsu Restaurant
          325 Sharon Park Dr Ste A2, Menlo Park, CA 94025

          Kiss Seafood
          1700 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94115

          Hoshi
          246 Saratoga Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95050

          Sumiya
          2634 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

          Izakaya Mai Restaurant
          212 2nd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

          Jin Sho
          454 California Ave, Palo Alto, CA

          Lakuni
          325 E 4th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

          Curry House
          10350 S De Anza Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014

          Wakuriya
          115 De Anza Blvd, San Mateo, CA

          Halu
          312 8th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

          Izakaya Restaurant
          1335 N 1st St, San Jose, CA 95112

          Sanuki Udon
          22 Peace Plz, San Francisco, CA 94115

          Kappou Gomi
          5524 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

          Nombe
          2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          Kokko
          509 2nd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

          Izakaya Sozai
          1500 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

          Ippuku
          2130 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

          Morimoto
          610 Main Street, Napa, CA

          Gaku
          5152 Moorpark Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

          2 Replies
          1. re: K K
            cavolonero Nov 25, 2010 01:16 PM

            thanks K K

            1. re: cavolonero
              K K Nov 25, 2010 08:57 PM

              Also check out Muraccis Japanese Curry and Grill in SF for Japanese style curry rice as previously mentioned, and another location in Los Altos (proper sit down restaurant, SF is mostly to-go).

              Some like Tani's Kitchen in Daly City for donburi (rice bowls), curry rice, hamburg steak, tonkatsu, and the ilk (ie Japanese department store basement style quick fix eats). For the South Bay, Gochi, Saizo, maybe Tanto, En, Hoshi and the top izakaya's serve this kind of stuff for lunch, some set menu specials with miso soup, salad, appetizer/side dish, and also very high quality and authentic Japanese style. Kappo Nami Nami (Mountain VIew) executes the set lunches excellently, particularly grilled saikyo yaki gindara (grilled black cod Kyoto style miso), saba miso-ni (stewed mackeral, very boney but very good), and saikyo miso fried pork chops.

              On my to-try list...Yu-Raku in San Mateo, supposedly a replica of what Chinese food tastes like in Japan (one of their Chinatowns, or a place that specializes in chuka-ryori), but this style might not be for everyone.

              -----
              Kappo Nami Nami
              240 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

              Saizo
              592 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

              Hoshi
              246 Saratoga Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95050

              Tani's Kitchen
              32 Park Plaza Dr, Daly City, CA 94015

          2. j
            JadeM Nov 24, 2010 02:03 PM

            Kiss Seafood near Japantown. Reservations are a must, only 12 seats.

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            Kiss Seafood
            1700 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94115

            1. Robert Lauriston Nov 24, 2010 10:53 AM

              Norikonoko in Berkeley is great for home-style cooked dishes.

              I love the fried noodles at Sapporo-ya. I'm not sure what that dish is called.

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              Norikonoko Japanese Rstrnt
              2556 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

              Sapporo-Ya Japanese Restaurant
              Japan Ctr, San Francisco, CA 94115

              2 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                j
                jman1 Jun 17, 2011 11:20 PM

                Ah, Norikonoko is one of the Berkeley Japanese restaurants that I enjoy.

                Yakisoba? Is that what you were thinking of?

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  s
                  saffrongold Jul 12, 2011 12:30 PM

                  The fried noodles are called Yakisoba

                2. c
                  chocomel Nov 24, 2010 10:47 AM

                  And of course, Oyaji

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                  Oyaji Restaurant
                  3123 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                  1. b
                    betterbeheaven Nov 24, 2010 09:54 AM

                    Muracci's in FiDi is very popular for its Japanese curry...it is quite good, though I think some of the hype comes from people who have never had Japanese curry previously.

                    1. Paul H Nov 23, 2010 01:35 PM

                      This is an easy question... Kappou Gomi!

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6801...

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                      Kappou Gomi
                      5524 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Paul H
                        CarrieWas218 Nov 26, 2010 05:01 PM

                        Second Kappou Gomi.

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                        Kappou Gomi
                        5524 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

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