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Jan 13, 2013 10:14 AM

Ippuku, Berkeley (first time)

we would have done well to do a little research before-hand (what was I thinking, not to have looked on chowhound???). the server, who was really sweet and attentive, was not as much help as we could have used, as we tried to navigate a menu that was pretty foreign (we asked her for help, explaining it was our first time, but weren't maybe communicating as well as we might have). we stumbled around a little and got some good stuff, some less so. and not maybe the best sequenced meal (always a challenge w/ small plates).

the place has a great ambience--hard to believe you're on center st. in berkeley. but the door was open, w/ just a curtain; and the temperatures were in the low 40's outside; and we were close to the front, though there were some kind of heaters in the booths (again, loved booth). (speaking of heat--i really loved--underscored-- the high-tech japanese toilet in the women's room w/ the heated seat!)

i mistakenly (again would have liked more help from the server) got an $18 big thing of sake just for me. the complimentary starter of cabbage and miso mayo was nice.

grilled squid was A+. potstickers--delicate, not heavy like pot-stickers can be, though probably not the most exciting choice. mandolined pear w/ wasabi was lovely--one of those unexpected and simple combos that are really pleasing--even pear-averse spouse ate and enjoyed a few pieces. a chicken skewer was nice, not brilliant (again, we weren't sure which skewers to get--I'm sure some are more interesting than other). got a creamy fish-y thing (can't remember what it was called), served tempura style (liked creamy texture, nicely fried-- needed a dipping sauce, which we tried to make w/ table condiments--soy sauce + ground pepper).

and for dessert, strauss frozen yogurt for dessert w/ a miso powder topping--which was...powder-y.

we will definitely go back!

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  1. Their yakitori aka chicken skewers are exceptional, especially if you are an adventurous eater that enjoys skin, cartilage, and liver. And don't be afraid to order their chicken tartare. ;-)

    1. That delicious tempura you had is one of my favorite things..... I particularly love sharing it with people who don't know what it is, wait for them to love it and then reveal..... it is cod milt:

      1 Reply
      1. re: chickenluv

        no wonder if couldn't remember what it was in my post--a victorian reflex! :)

      2. I am a big fan of the tsukune ground chicken served with egg.

        1 Reply
        1. re: edgrimley

          If you liked the shirako, Oliveto was serving some in their fritto misto just last week. Very tasty, especially with that amazing saffron aioli of theirs!

        2. The "miso powder topping" on the yogurt might have been powdered roasted soybeans? ("kinako") This is tan and very powdery... how did it taste? I have never heard of miso powder being used for anything except instant miso soup.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Tripeler

            Hmmm. Now I really have to go back to find out what it was. I thought she said miso powder. As for the taste. It tasted.....powder-y--which is to say, the main thing I experience was texture and not in an entirely pleasant way.