Kyusu Burmese Cuisine, San Jose - anyone been?
I read about Kyusu Burmese Cuisine from the Silicon Valley Metro. The co-owner Monaye Win lived in Burma as a kid & then his family moved to Japan, then relocated to US. Many of the recipes based on his mother's cooking from the Shan state of Burma.
Things to try there: tea-leaf salad, Seik Tar Chet aka goat stew, Shan Kuak Swe - rice noodle soup w/ chicken, pork, veggies, peanuts, garlic $8.5; Tofu Gyaw -fried tofu appetizer that resembles crackers $5.5; fried curry aroma chicken $8.5-his mom's personal concoctions, fried hunks of chicken in sweet & sour curry & slight Japanese flair to it.
Kyusu Burmese Cuisine
1312 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
I had it a few days back for lunch. It's my first time trying Burmese, so I have nothing to compare it to yet.
Liked the tea leaf salad ($7.5) quite a bit, for the heat of the chilis they tossed in table side, the crunch of the nuts/seeds, and the inclusion of dried shrimp. It doesn't seem like much, but it comes together surprisingly well. This was the best dish of the 3.
I also liked the Kauk Swe Thoke ($9), flat-wide noodles tossed with curried chicken in a chili-garlic sauce and served room temperature. Pretty balanced and overall, an interesting dish that I liked.
The chicken curry ($8.5) was only OK for me. It consisted of a reddish, tomato based curry, tenderized chicken thigh meat and large cubes of potatoes. It tasted pretty similar to the chicken in the noodles, but in full-dish form. Nothing was wrong with it, but I guess I just have more of an affinity for sweet, coconut-based curries.
The Prata that came with the lunch special was, for lack of a better word, similar to scallion pancakes, without the scallions. I was imagining them to be more like Roti's from an Indian or Malaysian place (the Layang version's great), but it was more a flat, semi-soft pancake instead.
I'd like to come back and try some of the other dishes, like the noodle soup, fish stew, fried milk, biriyani and some of the other salads. My only quip is that as much as I like a simple, restricted menu, the menu here is pretty limited, and could be run through in just a few visits.
I had dinner here today. This place is right around the corner from my son's daycare, can't believe I missed it! This one end of this bizarrely shaped strip mall (or trapezoid mall) is definitely the nexus of interesting ethnic food in my neighborhood, since it also contains the excellent Zeni Ethiopian and Dan Izakaya, about which I think I've heard good things.
I went on a culinary trip to Burma last year and what really impressed all of us on the tour was the variety of great vegetable salads. I think that more often than not the vegetables were cooked, and then tossed in this great little combo of shallot oil, fried garlic, and some kind of ground nuts... I forget. This restaurant does the little salads, and they're priced reasonably enough (most are about $6) that you don't have to feel like you're ordering another main course.
I was also really excited to see lots of Shan dishes, which I remembered from my trip and from Naomi Duguid's cookbook.
So I got pea shoot salad, green bean salad, Shan tofu (actually quite different from East Asian tofu) and Shan rice noodles. The pea shoot salad was probably my favorite, fresh pea shoots in a savory dressing. The green bean salad was also nice -- I'd say it only suffered from the rather lackluster American green beans. Shan tofu - I was expecting it to be warm but it was cold, and thus a bit firmer than I had expected. Still, nice flavors - there was some pickled mustard greens in there, I think. Shan rice noodles were kind of eh for me, but now that I think back, I think I had the same reaction to them in Burma.
A mixed bag, but one with great potential! I definitely want to go back and try more, especially the other salads and the Shan stuff.