Saturday, November 10, 2007
When in San Francisco.. find an excuse to go to Japantown. Any excuse will do. So after my teeth got their clean bill of health from the dentist I still go to near the Embarcadero Center near where I used to work, the needing brown rice excuse worked to stop on the way home. And it was lunchtime. Parking was tight, so I ended up parking close to the Miyako building where the former Miyako Hotel has morphed into Hotel Kabuki.
Luckily that is also the side of one of the best Japanese restaurants in Japantown, Takara, which is a play on words for 'treasure'. I tried a combo set here, which started with a nice hot and flavorful miso soup, with tsukemono (pickles) on the side. I liked that they mixed my favorite takuwan with the cabbage in the tsukemono.
Instead of bringing the food out all at once, on a tray, as in the photo on the menu, it came out course by course. First appearing was the Zaru Soba. The dipping sauce was under the lid. This cold soba with salty and mustardy dipping sauce was a great appetizer.
The Tanin Donburi came out last, which consisted of thinly sliced beef sauteed with onion, egg and seasonings. This rendition was great! The wait staff is quite friendly and authentically Japanese, with character. This could be the setting for a Japanese mini-drama with the cheerful and suave host who seemed to be monitoring everything happening around, yet had time to greet guests in Japanese. 90% of the clientèle seemed to be Japanese (they were all speaking it). Then there was the beautiful and gentle lady who talked while waving her hands gently. Last but not least was the ever efficacious obasan-type, who whisked about swiftly nodding her head in agreement with those around. This place is quite authentic, and the dishes have a very homestyle quality. I have been here before, and will definitely come here again!