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Anyone been to Kiyokawa recently?

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My sushi-eating buddy is flying down from SF next weekend and he wants to try a new place (so no Kiriko, Sasabune, Shunji, Sushi Zo, or Urasawa). We're trying to keep it on the westside, so I was thinking about either Kiyokawa and Mori. There have been reports of recent meals at Mori, but I haven't seen any re: Kiyokawa, so I was wondering how it was (specifically with regards to their omakase). I'm also open to other suggestions.

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  1. I haven't been for a while for dinner (we had omakase)... but i recently had take out chirachi for lunch and while they completely ruined the brown rice (yes, it's an option there and i was trying to be healthy), the fish itself was great. lesson learned... no more takeout... no more brown rice there either! too mushy.

    1. I was there recently, it was excellent.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ciao Bob

        Did you order omakase? I heard that they changed it up a bit to be more sashimi-centric.

        1. re: chrishei

          No I did not. I ordered ala carte sashimi and sushi.

      2. It's not omakase, but you will get some great sushi and nigiri at n/naka as part of the kaiseki meal, plus other phenomenal and creative dishes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jwsel

          N/naka is definitely on my to-dine list, but yeah for this dinner I'm looking for more of a standard omakase as opposed to kaiseki. Thanks though!

        2. I went to Kiyokawa for my boyfriend's birthday meal. I had high hopes, we got the omakase. The presentation was beautiful, I was a bit disappointed in the food. It might be a matter or taste and this might not be the best way to explain, but there is a deep sea flavor to much of the fish that isn't pleasing to me. Perhaps it is quite "authentic" but it is not my favorite preparation or profile. I also went to Mori a couple of months ago, that meal was far preferable to me, though more expensive. I think I spend 250 or so all in at Kiyokawa and 340 at Mori. Also at Kiyokawa, they brought live shrimp to our table, moving and walking around... I don't even know how you would begin to eat that, but I have no desire to do so. So when they saw we were freaking, they offerred to deep fry the shrimp for us. They were quite tasty fried.

          20 Replies
          1. re: sarahbeths

            The deep sea flavor and the live shrimp are actually turn-ons for me.

            1. re: chrishei

              Can you give me a short, non graphic description of how you eat the live shrimps?

              1. re: sarahbeths

                lol sorry but your post made me laugh.

                the sushi chef will peel the live shrimp and only serve you the "meat" of it on sushi rice, just like a normal piece of sushi. Putting the live shrimp on your table was strictly for presentation. No one would expect you to kill your own shrimp to eat it.

                the frying of the head is also a standard way to serve the head. Kiyokawa and almost every other sushi place will do this.

                1. re: TailbackU

                  Ok, I did not get that at all. Then again I didn't let the plate get all the way to the table before I sent it away. Do you mean that there will be a piece of prepared fresh sushi next to the live shrimp and the live shrimp is just supposed to hang out on my plate while I eat his friend? Or that they put it on the table, then take it away and bring it back as a piece of prepared sushi?

                  1. re: sarahbeths

                    "Or that they put it on the table, then take it away and bring it back as a piece of prepared sushi?"

                    This. It's presented to you to show you why you're paying $20 for 2 (live) shrimp.

                    They show you what's up, take it back, cut it up, and give you the amaebi as sushi. Then in 10-15 minutes (or whatever) the shrimp heads come back fried. Some places have an option of miso soup using shrimp heads instead of fried shrimp heads.

                    1. re: ns1

                      +1. The idea is to show you that you're paying for 'live' sweet shrimp as opposed to frozen.

                      1. re: prawn

                        I think it would be hilarious if someone grabbed the live shrimp off the bar and ravaged it before the itamae could stop them.

                        1. re: ns1

                          I think it would be painful! I've made myself bleed trying to eat the last bite of shrimp out of the tail and getting poked with a sharp part of the shell.

                      2. re: ns1

                        Thanks for clearing this up! I did get the sushi and the head, so now I know that i did eat the "live shrimp", and here I had been telling everyone I couldn't do it. I feel much more bad ass about the whole thing now ; )

                      3. re: sarahbeths

                        What ns1 said. And it's "only" $16 for two live crew, I mean shrimp at Kiriko (pictured below).

                         
                         
                        1. re: PeterCC

                          dead sexy.

                          1. re: ns1

                            i think there used to be all-live sashimi Korean bar in k-town a few years back. Maybe called living fish center.

                            and i just noticed on pico and crenshaw a joint that really does look like a Korean live seafood sushi-sashimi bar, it has a korean name, can't remember it, not exaclty sure about that though.

                            1. re: kevin

                              There's a live-fish place in the corner of the plaza that Kang-ho -Dong is in... it also served hard liquor by the bottle. Last time we were there for a roll to kill time waiting for a table at Kang Ho dong there was a 4top of Korean men devour a hubcap sized plate of sashimi and washing it down with a bottle of Johnnie Walker.

                              1. re: jdwdeville

                                anyone got a name? I've been meaning to go to Kang Ho and surf & turf sounds like a plan.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  That is such a bad idea. Koreans just want their (large, cheap, poorly cut) halibut (if you're lucky, oft it's just fluke/flounder) served in jumongous amounts, dipped in a thinned gochujang, to wash down the soju (or johnnie, or crown, or whatevs). If you're unlucky, they'll mislabel fluke/flounder/sole as halibut and charge you as such.

                                  They're all called "live fish centers" in 1 way or another. There's wassada, there's LA hwa-ul, chung hae jin, island, blah blah blah. Doesn't matter tho, the food all comes out looking like this more or less: http://s3-media1.ak.yelpcdn.com/bphot...

                                  Mentioning this 회 style of raw fish in the same thread as Kiyokawa is kinda a crappy thing to do. You can get the exact same thing at home by going to Assi and buying a platter of sliced "halibut" and mixing your own cho gochujiang: http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/hoedeo... (same sauce used in hwe dup bap and a gazillion other things).

                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    this is why I love posting on chowhound.

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      well, this beats regurges of every.single.damned Squid Ink post. =)

                                      FWIW, Chow/board/2 went thru this subject in '07: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/379384

                                      Not much has changed except the restaurant names.

                                    2. re: TonyC

                                      Damn, this post applies to all "the living fish centers" then.

                                      I really did want to try the live halibut sashimi in the korean style with the chile paste.

                                      Oh, well, I'll save the $40 I would have spent and throw that into the mix for a great sushi bar.

                                      1. re: TonyC

                                        What's the obsession with crown to wash down seafood at the korean joints ????

                                        1. re: TonyC

                                          Amen, brother. Spread that gospel!

                    2. Forgot to report back. It was great! Although I have to say that the sushi itself was the low point of the omakase, since I got very conventional pieces (bigeye tuna, salmon, etc.). Then asked for another 5 pieces of Sato-san's choice, and got bluefin tuna w/ caviar, fresh octopus, and even "it that must not be named" nigiri - delicious!

                      1. At Kiyokawa, the sushi is quite good, not shockingly amazing, but a fine effort. Everything is pretty fresh and of adequate quality for the price you pay. Nice little touches like the artistic plating and unusual dressings make you happy.

                        If you're sitting at the bar and have a viewpoint, the chef's knife skills and handwork are quite a fun show. He moves very fluidly, as if dancing or fighting.

                        What really bothers me about the place is the ratio of chef to customer count (1 sushi chef to 20-30 customers). Food comes out far too slowly as only one person is making everything, and he does so accurately step by step. Even the wasabi is freshly grated every time he makes a piece of sushi. Look forward to at least 2 hours if you go the omakase route (about 14 types of sushi plus dessert).

                        In comparison to Mori, I do not know how it is, as the original chef no longer works there I hear. But at Mori, you get your sushi at a fairly consistent pace, and the fish quality is a bit higher, with some rarer finds if you ask whats in that day. I also think the venue is more charming, it feels like an art gallery, while Kiyokawa has a mixture of high end izakaya decor.

                        I've only been to both places once, but my experience at Mori was more memorable.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: andrew_eats

                          Haven't been recently, but the Kiyokawa omakase hasn't changed has it? Did you have a sushi-only omakase?

                          I think Kiyokawa shines in the interspersed prepared dishes. That combined with its relative value. I can't remember exactly, but I think an omakase meal at Mori would be at least $50 more.

                          1. re: andytseng

                            The sushi omakase.

                            Comparatively speaking if you were looking for a pure sushi experience, in terms of quality and especially the pace at which you receive your food, I'd pay more at Mori (assuming the original chef is there). The sushi omakase would cost you about 40 bucks more.

                            We were given some of the cooked items from the chef's tasting omakase at Kiyokawa. I agree its quite good. But since a great deal of that menu is from the raw bar, if you order sushi omakase, you have to wait a long time, which doesn't seem right... 15 to 20 minutes in between plates of 3-4 pieces sushi.

                          2. re: andrew_eats

                            <<Food comes out far too slowly>
                            Very, very accurate. And, it takes a mighty long time from when you sit to when you even get aked by the itamae what you would like.

                          3. 2013 bump.

                            if anyone knows the latest (set price ) omakase cost that would also be great.