Tapas, Izakayas, Beer food....

Alle Listen ansehen
beer without food is like sex without foreplay
  • 1306 Saratoga Ave
    San Jose, CA 95129
    Vereinigte Staaten
    5.0 Sterne

    Best Izakaya in the bay area hands down.  read:  japanese tapas (food you DRINK with).  Traditional.  DELICIOUS.  

    [this review has been DRINK captioned for easy alcoholic reading]

    Izakaya = "room/store where WINE resides"

    Don't walk in here and expect dynamite dragon caterpiller rolls.  This is a place for you to DRINK.  That serves amazing foods for DRINKING with.  And lots of great SAKE, SHOCHU (soju), BEER for you to DRINK.  They also have grape WINE, if you don't feel like DRINKING japanese stuff.  Great selection of SAKE here, available hot or cold, and served perfectly.

    The food... if you thought japanese food was only sushi and sashimi, Tanto will show you how good the rest of their food is.  Here are some of my favorite dishes, and if they are messy, they serve little plates/bowls so you can share easier, and you don't end up with a messy plate with sauces of all 5 dishes mixed together on it.  Presentations were ALL impeccable.  down to the smallest dish.  Did I mention that all the food goes great with WINE?

    -Buta Mentaiko itame:  pork belly stir-fried with spicy cod (I think) roe and bean sprouts, served in a little frying pan at your table.  oh god this is so tasty.
    -Hotate (something) Uni:  Scallop stir-fried with uni, golden mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms.  I have mushrooms, but the combination of uni and hotate.... damn.  so good
    -Saba sashimi/tataki (strange I remember ordering tataki, but it came out like sashimi...good nonetheless):  served with the rest of the saba (head, spine, tail, etc) coiled on a toothpick, and the meat piled up neatly with green onions and some grated ginger.  AHHH so fresh, so tasty.
    -Mozuku-sunomono.  This type of really thin seaweed is called "hair vegetable" in chinese, because it's form is like really thick hair.  It is served in a chilled vinegar "soup" with some grated mountain yam... sooo tasty.
    -Natto tofu.  Ahhhhh natto.  I love natto. Used to have it ever morning in japan.  They serve this over medium-firm tofu, with a mostly raw egg on top and chopped green onions... just like I used to eat in japan... and this was good natto too--very slimy and really very aromatic (kaori ii naa...).
    -Assari garlic butter.  You can get this at many places, but these guys make it especially well.  We actually wanted to get the grilled clams, but they were out of that for some reason.
    -Yamaimo Okonomiyaki.  While this is not really a "normal" okonomiyaki, it is so incredibly tasty, I don't really care.  Yamaimo is mountain yam, and I believe they use some yam flour for this okonomiyaki instead of normal wheat flour.  THey mix in fresh crab (SO GOOD) and egg (and probably other stuff), and then it seems like they bake it in a shallow au gratin type dish, instead of pan-frying it (as usual for okonomiyaki).  Then they put some bonito flakes on top and some mayonnaise....   This dish was so amazing....  consistency was kinda like a bread pudding more than okonomiyaki pancake.

    Still lots more on the menu to try... including some super tempting yakitori--they actually had like 3 different types of chicken meat for the yakitori, which is a great sign, as most yakitori in the states sucks balls.  Yakitori is THE standard bar food in shinjuku...  I'll be getting more next time.

    Service is great, as should be expected from a japanese owned and japanese run establishment.

    I used to love this place when I lived in the south bay.  Now that I'm in SF, this is one of the few places that I WILL actually drive down to south bay just to eat and DRINK at.

    [note, there's another tanto in sunnyvale on el camino at lawrence, I hear the food is just about as good, but the ambience is not]

  • 2491 Mission St
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    Vereinigte Staaten
    5.0 Sterne

    just went to the soft opening dinner last night.  I've been a big fan of sozai for a long time now, and the owner and chef of sozai will be coming to Nombe to run the place (they ran the soft opening ;)).  Nombe is a joint effort between Sozai and O Izakaya, and the menu reflects this.  Personally I am going to miss a lot of my favorite items from sozai, but some of the items from the guys at O are pretty damn awesome.  Hopefully they'll bring some of my sozai favorites back to the menu at some point.

    Dishes I had:
    brussels sprouts:  sauteed with mint, carrot shavings, and yuzu, this dish was way better than SPQR's brussels sprouts, and even better than spork's.  the mint is really interesting and works really well with the sprouts.

    wagyu bavette steak skewers:  in a yuzu kosho (black pepper) sauce.  spot on.  clearly from the sozai menu.  and not too expensive at $9.  Now... where's the kurobuta tonkatsu?  my fave.... sigh.

    beef heart tataki:  this dish rocked my world.  the heart was perfectly marinated and served only seared on the outside.  lean and tasty, without as much of the "blood" taste as with chicken hearts.  sooo good.  I believe this is from the O guys.

    dungeness crab korokke:  several times better than most crappy crabcakes, the creaminess of the potatoes mixed with the crabs corrected the lame dryness of crabcakes.  the breading was very crunchy and quite good, but was perhaps fried a little too much.  crab was very fresh and tasty.  this dish rocks.

    the shichimi pork belly skewers:  This is my absolute favorite from the sozai menu.  This should be pork belly cubes, prepared chinese style with a sweet soy braise until the fat melts in your mouth.  Then skewered and dusted generously with shichimi, and charred on all sides to a beautiful caramel/marshmallowy goodness.  so amazing at sozai.  As the chef in the back wasn't as well practiced with it as Mari is, they didn't quite pull this off to the sozai level, but I have faith that gil and mari will make sure nick gets it off right for the grand opening.

    gindara (black cod), with a spinach, leek and miso paste mixed with julienned fennel.  This dish rocked my world.  the gindara was perfectly cooked with a crunchy skin, and fall-apart-tender, moist meat.
    the sweet paste was perfectly complementing, and did not yield to the oh-so-popular miso-marinated gindara standard.

    nukazuke pickled veggies:  cucumbers, daikon, and carrot, pickled, and smeared with a nukazuke paste, which is a fermented brown rice paste.  Quite interesting and good.  the nukazuke was strongly flavored, with floral aromas, some earthy notes, and the intensity of fermented salted goodness.

    bacon wrapped mochi:  it's hard to improve on bacon or mochi, but they've somehow managed by joining the two together :).  the mochi added a great texture break to the super crunchy bacon wrap, and was executed perfectly.  perhaps needed a splash of some high end soy sauce, though.

    roasted beets with wasabi:  quite fun dish if you like beets.  these beets were well roasted with a slight dusting in wasabi that still had a good amount of kick.  The wasabi might have been a little sour for the beets, but the dish still worked well.

    overall, I'd give it 4 stars for the experience last night, but I have faith that gil and mari will bring it up to the 5 star level soon, especially with some feedback.  They are awesome, and nombe will be too.

    Oh, did I also mention, they will be selling japanese streetfood from one side of the restaurant?  TAKOYAKI and OKONOMIYAKI when you want it after heavy drinking in the mission.  Let me say it again:  TAKOYAKI.  FRIED OCTOPUS BALLS.  OH GOD  I have not had that since I was in japan in 96.  That alone brings them to 5 stars.

  • 1500 Irving St
    San Francisco, CA 94122
    Vereinigte Staaten
    5.0 Sterne

    Easily the BEST IZAKAYA IN SF.  O izakaya is good, and hime is ok, but this is the least pretentious, and MOST tasty of all of them.  Izakayas, above all else, SHOULD NOT BE PRETENTIOUS.  In japan, they're the equivalent of pubs in london.  and they have very good prices, esp for the sake.  

    Mari, the chef-owner, knows what she's doing, and makes super tasty food, true izakaya style.  Gil, the manager is always friendly, honest, and well meaning.  He is very willing and able to educate the uninitiated about the sake on their menu, as well as the delectable drinking food (read: true japanese tapas).  I've never had a bad meal here.  After some time working the kinks out of the service side of things, I have to say they have the system working now.

    The uninitiated among you might wonder what an Izakaya is.  Izakayas are the pubs in japan where you eat and drink with your friends.  Typical izakaya food includes yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), skewered grilled food of all sorts (kushiyaki), chicken karaage (fried chicken), fried food of all sorts (agemono), and various other things.  Most of the food is COOKED, so don't think it's gonna be sashimi, or raw fish sushi.

    Things to order when you go:

    1) Kurobuta Kakuni Kushiyaki (Stewed kurobuta pork belly, grilled on a skewer with shichimi chili pepper seasoning).  This is fucking PHENOMENAL.  The pork belly is made chinese style, so it's at least fried (to reduce the fat), then stewed in a big chunk.  Then put on a skewer and grilled to perfection.  the thing tastes like marshmallow pork, with the fat melting in your mouth.  One of the most amazing things I've ever eaten in the city.  Very rich, very fatty, and VERY tasty.  be forewarned.

    2) kushiyaki (grilled skewers) of chicken hearts, chicken gizzards, chicken with green onions (negima).  These are all very well marinated, and well flavored.  THe chicken with green onions is way better than their standard yakitori, so I totally recommend it.  THe chicken hearts are my favorite in the city (compared to Espetus' chicken hearts), and I highly recommend them.

    3) Kobe beef tataki.  Straight up and tasty.  Quality kobe style beef, seared on the outside only, and served raw on the inside, and cold.  Sliced thin, with a ponzu sauce.  The key here is beef quality, and it's awesome here.

    4) sake steamed clams.  Fresh clams steamed with sake and onions.  Simple fresh ingredients are the key, and it's perfect.

    5) chicken karaage.  Well marinated dark chicken meat (thighs probably), fried perfectly.  Another standard, perfectly done.

    6) kurobuta tonkatsu.  Not much to say here.  perfecly breaded and fried kurobuta pork chop.  you can't lose with a kurobuta tonkatsu.

    8) hamachi kama.  Hamachi (yellowtail tuna) jaw.  MARINATED hamachi really makes this dish stand out from others in the bay area.  Not your typical hamachi-kama shioyaki (Salt grilled) like you usually see.  The marinade makes this go perfectly with sake or beer.

    and if you're not full by the end, they have japanese classic post-sake food too, like Ochazuke (fresh green tea poured over steamed rice and fish), and some decent desserts.

    As for sake, I have gotten the Dassai daiginjo twice, and it's a very good price at only about $35 for a 750 mL.  The Suigei (drunken whale) is a good standard, and cheaper, which Gil remembers fondly from older times (ask him about it).

    They carry Sapporo beer on tap, and a few others I can't remember (I always drink sapporo with izakaya food).

    The menu changes, but the dishes I've mentioned here should always be on the menu.  You guys HAVE to try this place out.

  • 312 8th Ave
    San Francisco, CA 94118
    Vereinigte Staaten
    5.0 Sterne

    easily.  hands down.  Well textured (just chewy enough) noodles, in a nice rich, thick, sesame heavy broth.  Really good.  I prefer their shoyu to their miso stock, but they're both excellent.

    Gotta thank nobu-dono for the rec for the tori-momo.  You have to ask for the shiso sometimes, because I've had it before without asking for it, and it didn't have anything on it.

    shige and mimi (the owners/chefs) are super friendly and make some seriously awesome food.  Great skewers, both grilled and fried.  Very authentic food.  I love coming here, and the prices are reasonable--usually coming to about $20-30 a person if you order lots of skewers like me.  If you just do ramen and other dishes it will be considerably cheaper.  less than $20.

    shige is the drummer for the Shitones, a sorta spin-off band from the more famous Mermen (they have the same guitarist).  So you'll find he plays lots of great beatles tunes in the restaurant, and has lots of great rock paraphernalia on the wall  .

    My favorite skewers (they're all good, but these are my fave)
    1) chicken hearts
    2) chicken gizzard
    3) momo (chicken thigh)
    4) short ribs
    5) pork and onion
    6) bacon and enoki
    7) shishito (grilled hot peppers... really really good, and not too hot)

    and yes, THEY HAVE ECHIGO.  I hope they get Hitachino soon, and then they will be complete!!!

    You seriously can't lose with this place.  great food, comfortable environment, friendly service, good prices.

  • 545 Haight St
    San Francisco, CA 94117
    Vereinigte Staaten
    5.0 Sterne

    Choose the best answer:
    beer : sausage
    toronado :  ?
    a) the Men's Room
    b) STUD
    c) Moby Dick
    d) rosamunde grill
    e) all of the above

    OK here's the lowdown for the n00bs:
    Step 1)  Drop off your coats, bags, etc at the Toronado.
    Step 2)  Walk next door to the Rosamunde grill and order a sausage or two.  My personal faves are the Wild Boar, duck (with figs), weisswurst, bratwurst, chicken cherry, and lamb merguez.
    Step 3)  Walk back to the Toronado and get a beer
    Step 4)  Sip said beer for a few mins
    Step 5)  burp
    Step 6)  go back to Rosamunde, pay your bill (it's around $4.50 a sausage, tax included)
    Step 7)  choose your condiments (you can choose from sauerkraut, grilled onions, grilled sweet peppers, grilled hot peppers, chili, relish, mango chutney, curry ketchup, honey wasabi dijon, dijon mustard, ground mustard, ketchup).
    Step 8)  Take your sausage(s) back to the Toronado
    Step 9)  Eat your sausage(s) with your beer
    Step 10)  get more beer as required.
    Step 11)  Repeat steps 9 and 10 until satisfied
    Step 12)  burp, smile, and rub belly in satisfaction  :)
    Step 13)  if you can, bring your baskets back to Rosamunde.  Every once in a while, though, they come over and "bus" the tables at the Toronado.  FYI, the Toronado leases Rosamunde's space to them ;).  It's an yin-yang type thing.

    (the correct answer of course is E (all of the above), but D (Rosamunde Grill) is also acceptable)

  • The Mission
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    Vereinigte Staaten
    5.0 Sterne

    (per my bacon dog cart review)
    bacon.  wrapped.  hot dogs.
    onions grilled in bacon grease
    perfection in bread

    This cart is outside of Dalva during the weekend.  mmm... bacon... you can wrap anything in bacon:  fruit, more meat, chocolate, etc, and it would still taste awesome.  Just cause bacon tastes that good.

  • 354 11th St
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    Vereinigte Staaten
    5.0 Sterne

    I ALWAYS have a great time at butter.  imagine:  a bar that doesn't take itself seriously.  And is just there to provide you with a fun time, and lots of fun drinks and great munchies.  Unadulterated by attitude.

    if you know me, you know I need munchies with my booze.  most bars don't have them.  Butter is one of the few that hits that munchie bug with a massive can of hawaiian punch raid.  and a 32 oz bottle of budweiser served in a brown paper bag.  that's right.   This bar is PURE CLASS.


    Yes.... white trash munchies. but nothing tastes better than fried food when you've had that 5th tangtini.  yes tangtini:  absolut citron, triple sec, orange juice, with a tang rim.

    And if you don't feel like that?  head next door to the Crepes a-go-go upholstery cemetery for an awesome french crepe, like you'd get on the streets of gay paris.

    I recently celebrated my 31st birthday here, and we had it in the private upstairs region, with 2 1980's arcade machines in the wall, patio furniture everwhere, a foosball table, and our own bar (and hottie bartender).  AND our own bathroom.  You head up the stairs by the front of the bar, past like 8 velvet elvises in the stairwell (holding onto the railing if you're drunk) and then you're there.  We got our own bouncer to keep non-invited guests out as well.

    The bartender bought me several drinks that evening, then my friends brought me everything else.... lots of grey goose "martinis", and I pretty much just remember talking to a bunch of people, losing badly at foosball, eating some delicious corn dogs and tots, then Jill S getting the jello shot girl or barkeep to paddle me on the ass so we could all get free jello shots.

    OW.  but fucking awesome.

  • 5.0 Sterne

    Best. Fish and Chips.  in the bay.
    And the beer selection is quite fine as well.  but seriously, the fish and chips are to die for.  Fresh fish, freshly beer-battered, fried up hot and juicy.  You know it's good when it's burning the roof of your mouth in its flakey juicy goodness.  Nothing makes you want that cold beer than that :).  Nothing goes better with your black and tan, or caffreys, or whatever other fine beer you'd like to have.

  • 2068 Sawtelle Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90025
    Vereinigte Staaten
    4.0 Sterne

    ahh izakaya's.... some of my favorite places to go when I was in tokyo.  This place had some good izakaya food.  It's no Tanto (an izakaya in norcal), but the skewered food and the fried chicken wings were awesome.  The famous teba saki chicken wings were white peppered and lightly sweetened, so when they were fried the sugar caramellized nicely, but it wasn't too sweet.  Dry and tasty, it reminded me of taiwanese salt-pepper popcorn chicken, but with more sweetness.

    On the skewers, they have classic yakitori (chicken), have chicken gizzards, hearts, and beef tongues, all grilled perfectly here.  GREAT with beer and/or sake.  The miso-marinated ling cod and the sole with wasabi mayo were all grilled to perfection--flaky, tender, and tasty.  So was the saba shioyaki.  The squid legs with vinegar was really tasty as well, and so were the garlic sprouts with pork (bacon).  So much good beer food.... ahhh.... ooh, they also had a yamaimo natto--mountain yam julienned with natto and a raw quail egg on top... mmm... be sure to stir it up with some soy sauce!  :)

    Service was prompt and efficient, though the wait for a seat was long.    no reservations here, but you can call ahead to get your name in the queue before you head out.

    The reasons why I don't give it the full 5 stars:  sake selection needed improvement, not as much really inventive stuff, like tanto in the bay area, and they didn't have sapporo reserve, which is my standard for izakaya beer.

  • 3198 16th St
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    Vereinigte Staaten
    4.0 Sterne

    Only been here once, and the food was awesome.
    the ahi tartare tacos were frickin amazing, just as Hao said.  The flavors, textures, and temperatures were so perfect together.  The fried potato shells were delicately crispy, and the mango shreds on the chili-lime ahi tartare... damn, it was simply awesome.

    The coca-cola braised short ribs were very syrupy and tasty--and perfectly prepared, falling off the bone tender, but not overcooked.  the flavors penetrated perfectly, and the white beans accompanying were the perfect "negative space" to accompany.

    The lamb cheeks were tasty, the wine reduction au-jus was gorgeous, and the mashed potatoes had some shredded potato in it, making the texture a little more stringy than normal.  Very nice touch.

    The duck confit dumplings were... too fried.  I wish they just pan-fried it like most chinese dumplings, to add the chewy texture, but it was just deep fried, and crispy.  The duck inside was ok, but the deep frying flavor was too strong to balance the duck inside.  And the vietnamese sweet and sour sauce was...eh.  The brussell sprouts were tasty, but would have been better with bacon and/or some cheese.

    I had a ginger-infused vodka martini to start, with a wedge of lemon.  NIce vodka!  They bruised my grapes seriously for this martini, but it went OK with the ginger vodka, given the strong flavor.

    Service was OK, but could have been more attentive.  There were many times when I was sticking my head in the air like a prairie dog, looking for the host or waiter's attention--even though I was about 10 ft to the right of the host, who wasn't doing anything, just looking at his computer screen.  It was also a rather empty dining room at 5:30-6:30 so I was a little surprised by the lack of attention from the wait staff.

    Anyway, overall the food was good, and so was the booze.  Service needed some help, but it wasn't too bad.

  • B44
    44 Belden Pl
    San Francisco, CA 94104
    Vereinigte Staaten
    4.0 Sterne

    B44 and Zarzuela are my fave 2 spanish places in the city.  B44 because they have a paella negra, paella with squid cooked in its own ink.  I can't get enough squid ink....even though it might turn your mouth black...haha.  As long as your date has some too, it'll be fair.  The other dishes are all fairly good.  Lots of paella.  The classics are all here, and well represented:  boquerones, pulpas, gambas.  I'd also recommend the cod cheeks.
    Sangria is OK.  They have a Chimay Red on tap here.  BONUS!  :)
    Ambience and service are all good.  Outdoor seating in front is available as for all the other places on Belden.  Got that whole european sidewalk feel going on.

  • Mission St
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    Vereinigte Staaten
    4.0 Sterne

    Ah yes.  Sitting in the Toronado drinking your fine ale, while your stomach screams for some hot tasty food...but the Rosamunde grill has closed, and you don't feel like Pizza.... who will save you now?

    THE TAMALE LADY oh yes.  She leaps tall doorsills in a single bound.  Tamales wrapped with love and hot hot steam, sliding straight down your esophagus, burning everything along the way because you simply can't eat it slowly when you're this hungry.

  • 240 Skyline Plz
    Daly City, CA 94015
    Vereinigte Staaten
    4.0 Sterne

    The only passable tonkotsu ramen north of San Mateo.  For that, they get 4 stars.

    As authenticity goes, they're not really that authentic.  They're a chinese-run ramen place.  But think about that a sec:  ramen = japanese style chinese noodles.  So.... Chinese making japanese-style chinese noodles....  how is that really that bad?  All that really matters is whether it tastes good or not.  And it tastes good!

    I like their pickled vegetable thing you start with--it's more chinese style, though a little bland like japanese pickled vegetables.  They DO have some bitter melon in there though, which gives a great bitter kick to it.  Not too bad really.

    They had grilled CHICKEN GIZZARDS, HEARTS, and lots of other well marinated skewered grilled meats, to go with sake.  I did not try their standard yakitori, because I the chicken hearts jumped out at me.

    The tonkotsu ramen itself... the broth was nice and thick, and had good creamy flavor, but it was missing something--maybe some sake.  Not sure.  The noodles were OK.  The chashuu was actually more like thinly sliced kakuni (stewed pork belly) than actual chashuu.  Kinda strange.  And they don't give you quite enough meat for $9.  Also the hard-boiled egg was hard-boiled, and not medium boiled.

    But really, it is way better than any typical shoyu ramen you'd get in J-town.  If you have a tonkotsu ramen craving, this is the closest drive from SF, hands down.

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1354 Hilfreich, 768 Witzig und 1038 Cool


San Francisco, CA, Vereinigte Staaten

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Mai 2005

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