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Shalala, downtown Mountain View 's 3rd ramen house?

Ate there just last month. I think of the three ramen houses in the downtown Mountain View area of Castro St, it's still the ramen house I prefer. They've expanded the menu a little, adding a Niku Moyashi Miso (Miso broth with marinated ground pork) and a spicy version (which has adjustable spice levels).

They also offer kaedama (an extra portion of noodles) which is a service I don't commonly find in U.S. ramen shops, but is rather commonplace in Japan.

We also had the gyoza, which tasted fresh.

Jan 19, 2013
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Atelier Crenn - Good choice for Solo Diner?

The staff at Atelier Crenn was excellent with the timing of the dishes, and did a very good job making me feel comfortable there.

While I noted above that there is not a bar that views into the kitchen, the kitchen is viewable from the dining room, and you can actually see them put together the dishes.

Mar 30, 2012
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Week in Palo Alto/San Francisco. Where to go?

Not really sure what the sushi scene is like in Durham, but there are a number of good sushi places on the Peninsula:

Jinsho (Palo Alto) which was started by two ex-Nobu sushi chefs serves out some very Nobu NY/Morimoto style fusion Japanese dishes. The food is definitely on the pricier side. They have some exotic fish selections I rarely see elsewhere.

Kappo Nami Nami (Mountain View): I usually end up going here during lunch time, where they have some great lunch specials; at dinner time, the place is much more of a izakaya/small plate kind of place. The quality and freshness of the fish here has never disappointed me.

Sushi Tomi (Mountain View): Another great sushi place; lots of variety of fish -- the white specials board changes frequently. Wait can be a bit long; and they do tend to run out of stuff.

If you're a fan of rolls rather than raw fish, Hanamaru in Sunnyvale has a huge variety of rolls.

Sumika in Los Altos (dinnertime only) does grilled yakitori (and other meats/vegetables), and also owns the very popular Orenchi Ramen in Santa Clara.

Going further south, into Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, there are number of interesting Korean restaurants -- Jang Su Jang and Cheon Joo Young-Yang Dolsot are my favorites in the Lawrence Plaza, and there's two Korean Fried Chicken wing places in the area -- 99 Chicken (Santa Clara) and Bon Chon Chicken (Sunnyvale).

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Kappo Nami Nami
240 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

Sumika
236 Central Plz, Los Altos, CA 94022

99 Chicken
2781 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051

Hanamaru
675 S Bernardo Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

Sushi Tomi
635 W Dana St, Mountain View, CA 94041

Orenchi Ramen
3540 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

Jang Su Jang
3561 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051

Bon Chon
572 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

Sep 19, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to buy live Sea Urchin?

Ranch 99 will sometimes carry live sea urchin in their seafood section. You can't always tell how much roe is in the sea urchin though -- I've had huge sea urchins that gave very little roe, and small ones that had lots of roe; if you need a certain amount of fresh sea urchin, it's more economical and more consistent to buy the wooden boxes.

Sep 19, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Shabu restaurants serving real Kobe beef?

Mainly due to the expense of importing Japanese Kobe Beef, it's very unlikely that you'll find any shabu shabu places using real Kobe beef in this area -- most of the time the Kobe Beef advertised on the menus at restaurants is either American or Australian Wagyu.

Sep 15, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Luce after Crenn

The former executive sous chef at Luce, Daniel Corey took over as chef de cuisine at Luce in late June. His menu was in place in mid-July, so someone would have to had eaten there in the last month and half to really get a sense of his cooking.

Dominique Crenn stayed on as a consultant to Luce up until around the end of March.

Sep 01, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Prime rib in SF other than HOPR?

I like Alexander's because it's got great ambiance and they do their steaks right. (and unlike other steak houses, they have options for vegetarians and pescatarians which are not just sides.

At Alexander's, they have two options for prime rib: a slow roasted prime rib, and the Tomahawk chop, a huge piece of prime rib cooked on the bone. If you're a really big fan of Prime rib, I recommend the Tomahawk Chop over the slow roasted.

I've only been to the Alexander's in Cupertino, but I think they have a location in the city as well.

Sep 01, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Santa Clara/Sunnyvale/mountain view recs - good stuff at low prices

... and pretty darn expensive. Not a cheap eat, by any stretch of the imagination!

Aug 26, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Santa Clara/Sunnyvale/mountain view recs - good stuff at low prices

Orenchi (Santa Clara on Homestead and Lawrence) - Orenchi Ramen with the soft boiled egg. There's always a wait for Orenchi, though, given how popular it has become.
Ramen Halu (San Jose/Santa Clara)
Ramen Kahoo (San Jose/Santa Clara) - a good bowl of ramen, good broth, good meat, but wasn't a huge fan of their noodles.
Ramen Tenma - try their okinawan soba
Santouka (inside Mitsuwa Market) - I usually end up getting whatever special they've got. You have to not mind sitting in a supermarket food court, and while it's under construction, it's noisier than usual.

Shalala, Maru Ichi and Rwoya are all in Downtown Mountain View; I haven't been to Rwoya in years, and I've had some rather disappointing bowls of Kuro Ramen at Maru Ichi of late. Shalala makes a good bowl of spicy miso ramen.

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Ramen Halu
375 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

Maru Ichi Restaurant
368 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

Mitsuwa
675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA

Orenchi Ramen
3540 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

Ramen Tenma
487 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

Santouka
675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

Shalala
698 W Dana St, Mountain View, CA 94041

Aug 24, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Fish Dumplings

H.C Dumpling House is closed now.

For xiao long bao dumplings, I think Bamboo Garden does a pretty good job in Mountain View, but I don't know if they do fish dumplings.

Aug 23, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Santa Clara/Sunnyvale/mountain view recs - good stuff at low prices

1. In Mountain View, I like Taqueria Los Charros. The restaurant on El Camino is more of a sit down place. Jennifer's Taqueria on Latham and Escuela in a small strip mall also does some huge burritos. Also in Mountain View is Vive Sol, which is more a mexican sit down place.

2. The best Pho I've had in the peninsula area is at Pho Hoa Vi on San Antonio and El Camino. If you go further south to San Jose, you'll find many more options, but I am not that familiar with the Pho down there. Alternatively, if you like Pho, you might also like Ramen -- the real kind, not the kind that you get in the grocery store -- the Sunnyvale/Santa Clara area has a number of great Ramen noodle shops in the area.

3. Closest place is probably Fresh Choice, a chain of buffet style salad bars.

4. For Japanese style sandwiches (white bread and stuff in the middle wth the crusts cut off) I go to Nijiya (Sunnyvale/Mountain View border on Grant). One of the better banh mi places - Cam Hung in Sunnyvale has a lot of options, and are all pretty delicious. Eat on Monday is a food truck that services that area. They do some very good sandwiches.

5. Try Dana Street Coffee in Mountain View or Phillz Coffee in Palo Alto.

6. There are no truly excellent breakfast joints in Mountain View or Sunnyvale to speak of. Amelia's in Santa Clara does corned beef and eggs, but it's not super classy or imaginative, just a nice place to eat brunch. The Original Pancake House in Los Altos does very many different styles of pancakes. Calafia in Palo Alto has recently expanded their brunch menu (love the chicken and waffle here), and next door is Mayfield, which offers a more upscale brunch option.

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Cam Hung Restaurant
903 Reed Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Calafia
855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA

Taqueria Los Charros
854 W Dana St, Mountain View, CA 94041

Jennifer's Taqueria
1929 Latham St, Mountain View, CA 94040

Aug 23, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Top 5 Bay Area Sandwiches?

All from food trucks in the Bay Area.

I had some really great sandwiches from Eat on Monday. They use Acme bread, and the Kurobuta Belly Sandwich is my current favorite.
Any Steamed Bun from Chairman Bao's.
Sam's Chowdermobile's Lobster Roll. Soft toasted bread with butter and lobster.
Omininja's Banh Mi. Softer bread than traditional banh mi, and right amount of meat and veggies make this a winner for me.

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Chairman Bao
San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Aug 17, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Ultimate Tasting Menu if it can't be French Laundry

I haven't been to all on your list, but of the ones I've been to, I'd say Manresa or Benu. Portions are small at Benu, but there are like 20 dishes, so I doubt they'll be starving.

Morimoto Napa is way too noisy (a result of the concrete aesthetic and acoustics)I felt they also overfed you at Morimoto's -- the last savory in the omakase is "surf and turf", with generous portions of wagyu, lobster AND pork belly.

Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino is a nice steakhouse, but not even in the same league as TFL. The omakase is very good, and the service is good, but eating their lacks the *specialness* of TFL, Manresa and Benu.

My impression is that Cyrus and Meadowwood are similar in feel to TFL and other high end dining options, but I haven't been.

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Manresa Restaurant
320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Alexander's Steakhouse
10330 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino, CA 95014

Morimoto
610 Main Street, Napa, CA

Benu
22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Aug 17, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Hornblower Cruise - how is food for large group (buy-out)

My company had function a few years ago on a dinner cruise in the bay -- while I didn't go, the consensus from the people that did go was that being on a boat for 3 hours having dinner and wine amounted to a lot of sick people.

What about Teatro Zinzanni? The food isn't spectacular, but you do have a fun show to watch.

Aug 12, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Foster City San Mateo

Artemis' list of Japanese/Asian places is pretty spot on -- I'd add to that list Tokie's Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Foster City. Tokie's has been around for a long time, but their sushi and appetizers is always top notch.

(The dinner plates and rolls I feel are probably more geared towards less adventurous clientele).

Non-ethnic places I wouldn't mind going back to:

Windy City Pizza and BBQ is a Chicago-style pizzeria that does some good barbeque and chicago dishes.
Mr. Pickle's Sandwich Shop does some pretty nice sandwiches.
North Beach Pizza and Amici's Pizza are both local chains that do pretty good pizza.
Armadillo Willy's -- local chain of Texas-Style Barbeque.

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Mr. Pickle's Sandwich Shop
621 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Windy City Pizza
35 Bovet Rd, San Mateo, CA 94402

Tokie's
1058 Shell Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404

Aug 11, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Dive bar with good food ??

Along the same lines of the Swingin' Door:

Ausiello's Tavern and Marvin Gardens (both in Belmont).
Duke of Edinburgh in Cupertino
Brittania Arms (several locations)

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Marvin Gardens
1160 Old County Rd, Belmont, CA

Duke of Edinburgh
10801 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014

Aug 09, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Benu / Crenn / Coi / Saison [San Francisco]

Well, bbulkow, you've sold me on a future late evening visit to Plum. Any recommendations or can't miss dishes?

Aug 09, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Barbara's fishtrap in Half Moon Bay..

I haven't been to Sam's Chowder House, but I've eaten the food from their Chowder Mobile -- which was the best Lobster Roll I've had in the Bay Area. The chowder was also very good, and not heavily creamy.

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Sam's Chowder House
4210 Cabrillo Hwy, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Aug 05, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Morimoto Napa: Any new thoughts?

I was there a few months ago, and one of the items not mentioned often that I did enjoy was the Morimoto's Aged Sake, which took on a golden hue, and reminded me of aged sherry.

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Morimoto
610 Main Street, Napa, CA

Aug 05, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Need suggestions for south side of SF bay

Kappo Nami Nami or Tomi Sushi in Mountain View or En in Santa Clara for japanese/sushi/seafood.
Vive Sol on El Camino in Mountain View for non-taqueria Mexican. They have a nice patio area.
Pizza Napoletana in Mountain View for wood-oven fired Neopolitan Pizza
Paxti's Pizza in Palo Alto for Chicago Style Pan Pizza
Calafia in Palo Alto for fresh California cuisine
Taqueria Los Charros in Mountain View for Burritos.
Cascal in Mountain View for Spanish style Tapas
The City Pub or Martin's Gastropub in Redwood City for American Food and Beer.
Station 1 in Woodside for a nicer Prix Fixe dinner (4 course meal for $54ish/head if I can recall correctly).

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Cascal
400 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

Kappo Nami Nami
240 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

Vive Sol Restaurant
2020 W El Camino Real Mountain, View, CA

Tomi Sushi
4336 Moorpark Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

Calafia
855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA

Taqueria Los Charros
854 W Dana St, Mountain View, CA 94041

City Pub
2620 Broadway St, Redwood City, CA 94063

Station 1
2991 Woodside Rd, Woodside, CA 94062

Aug 05, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

South San Francisco this evening?

When I was living in Foster City years ago, I avoided ABC for precisely this reason; I prefered the Chinese from Mr Fong's/Tai Wu and Joy Restaurant. Both the food and the service were superior to ABC.

Aug 02, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Your favorite healthy or wholesome fast food

I find it a wonder that Chipotle can grow and expand in the Bay Area considering that within a mile's radius of any Chipotle, there is likely a local tacqueria that can make a better burrito and taco. (I find the food at Chipotle incredibly bland).

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Chipotle
34893 Newark Blvd, Newark, CA 94560

Aug 02, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

sushi in SF for out-of-towners

That is Jin Sho on California Ave in Palo Alto. I haven't been recently, but as I recall, the two chefs are from Nobu NY. I have had some great quality fish there and some rather interesting dishes, but I have not tried the ankimo there. They do have fish that you normally don't see on sushi menus; the prices for their nigiri was priced for each individual piece (as is traditionally done in Japan), but was priced at $1-2 more than the average price for a pair at other sushi bars.

The food there is very much torn from the menus of Nobu and Morimoto's with some very familar dishes being presented there such as the toro tartar and the rock shrimp tempura.

The reason I haven't been to Jin Sho much these days is because there are a number of great options for high quality sushi all along the Peninsula, including Sam's in San Mateo, Higuma in Redwood City, Kaygetsu in Menlo Park and Sushi Tomi and Kappo Nami Nami in Mountain View.

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Kappo Nami Nami
240 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

Kaygetsu Restaurant
325 Sharon Park Dr Ste A2, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Jin Sho
454 California Ave, Palo Alto, CA

Sushi Tomi
635 W Dana St, Mountain View, CA 94041

Morimoto
610 Main Street, Napa, CA

Aug 02, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Padrón me.

I picked up some at the Farmer's Market in Mountain View. $4 for a small green basket. Very small, very mild, we cooked and ate the whole basket, and not a single spicy padron.

Aug 02, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

SF Food Trucks 101?

You are better off trying to track the trucks independently at lunch time through twitter and the like, SF is a hard city to do trucks in except at pre-planned/scheduled locations. The Lunch events for Off the Grid are much smaller than the evening ones.

Most trucks only operate at lunch hours (11am-2pm, generally) and dinner time (5-9pm). There are not a lot of seafood dishes on food trucks -- what you'll find are mostly are of the fish/shrimp tacos variety. Eat on Monday (A Food Truck in the South Bay) will irregularly serve up asian fusion shrimp and calamari tacos, but they never go into SF.

Thursday, you should head to the Ferry Building for the Farmer's Market for lunch/snackage. There are lots of stalls serving local fresh/ethnic specialties.

Off the Grids are a major draw for people, so expect lots of people. Be early, go too late, and the truck might run out of food.

I like Sam's Chowder Mobile, which serves up a nice Lobster Roll (though pricy, at 16.50) and Clam Chowder (5.50). Little Green Cyclo serves up a nice banh mi using fresh and local ingredients.

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Off the Grid
Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123

Little Green Cyclo
San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Aug 01, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Light Lunch in San Francisco

I have to agree with Carrie -- going from SFO through SF proper to Napa by 4 is going to be difficult. The easiest route (101 to 80 to 37/29 to Napa) skirts you around the borders of the city. You might want to see if any of the restaurants within SFO terminal strikes your fancy. I would recommend Gregoire in Berkeley as a great place to grab something to eat, but it's not really a restaurant, more a takeout spot, and might be a little detour away from the freeway (~10 min from freeway exit).

Aug 01, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Japanese Noodles in S.F.

Going off of pure texture alone, I think most of the places I've been to which serve udon in the Bay Area are using frozen noodles, so please share if you've found someplace using fresh handmade noodles.

Jul 29, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Japanese Noodles in S.F.

The best Ramen places in the SF Bay Area are actually in South Bay/Peninsula:

Himawari in San Mateo
Orenchi Ramen in Santa Clara, which has a very rich and flavorful tonkotsu broth. They also do other noodle dishes such as Tsukemen (ramen dipping noodes).

Ramen Halu in San Jose. They do a bunch of seasonal specials, and offer the largest variety of ramune (Japanese soft drink with a marble at the top gimmick) I've seen at a ramen place.

Ramen Tenma in San Jose: I had the Okinawan Soba at Ramen Tenma (San Jose), which was very good, but it will not be what your daughter is expecting.

Ramen Kahoo in San Jose, next to Mitsuwa and Kinokuniya Bookstore -- a little hard to find due to the construction/remodelling of that shopping plaza. Also, a bit noisy due to the construction during the daytime. Santouka, located inside the Mitsuwa also serves wonderful ramen, but the atmosphere -- inside a supermarket, and now with the noise of construction leaves much to be desired. Both Mitsuwa and Kinokuniya would be worth a look for your daughter. Pocky and Ramune can be purchased at Mitsuwa.

Those are the choices that I would choose from for Ramen; all of them have sufficient atmosphere and tasty ramen, and remind me of the ramen shops I used to visit in Japan.

I have had good udon at En (Santa Clara) and Sumika (Los Altos).

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Sumika
236 Central Plz, Los Altos, CA 94022

Ramen Halu
375 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

Himawari
202 2nd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

Mitsuwa
675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA

Orenchi Ramen
3540 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

Ramen Tenma
487 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

Santouka
675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

Jul 27, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Redwood Shores

I used to work in Redwood Shores, so I'll be upfront and say that there are very few dining establishments in Redwood Shores compared to the surrounding areas (San Carlos, Redwood City, Foster City, San Mateo), and that it is a really short drive out of Redwood Shores to any of the other neighboring cities for dining options.

Being from NYC, you might want to also drive to In-N-Out Burger judge for yourself which one is better -- Shake Shack, Five Guys or In-N-Out.

Most restaurants are pretty easy to get into mid-week (friday nights and weekends are the worst, which you won't be here for).

For seafood places:

San Mateo: Sushi Sam's Edomata, Hotaru
Foster City: Tokie's Japanese Restaurant
Redwood City: Higuma (Japanese)
San Carlos: Creola (Creole/Cajun)
San Francisco: Skool (asian fusion seafood restaurant)

For Asian flavors and fine dining, I'd recommend Manresa (Los Gatos) if you are willing to drive down to Los Gatos.

Mountain View (about 20 minutes south of Redwood Shores) has Kappo Nami Nami, doing some fantastic Japanese dishes at dinner time, and really great lunch specials.

I'd recommend a run at some of the Izakayas and Ramen shops in the Bay Area, since I'm pretty sure Minneapolis doesn't have much of a ramen scene, and there are quite a few good ones nearby without going into SF. The Ramen clusters are in Santa Clara/San Jose and San Mateo.

Burlingame: Sakae Sushi Bar and Grill (Izakaya+sushi)

San Mateo: Himawari (Ramen), Yuzu (izakaya+sushi)
Santa Clara: Orenchi (Ramen), En (izakaya)
Cupertino: Gochi (Izakaya), Gokaku (sushi+izakaya)
San Jose: Ramen Halu (Ramen), Ramen Tenma (okinawan Soba), Ramen Kahoo (Ramen), Santouka(inside of Mitsuwa supermarket)

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Manresa Restaurant
320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Kappo Nami Nami
240 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

Ramen Halu
375 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

Himawari
202 2nd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

Mitsuwa
675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA

Sakae
243 California Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010

Yuzu
54 37th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403

Sushi Sam's
218 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

Tokie's
1058 Shell Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404

Izakaya Restaurant
1335 N 1st St, San Jose, CA 95112

Redwood Shores
1111 Shoreway Rd, Belmont, CA 94002

Skool
1725 Alameda St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Ramen Tenma
487 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

Gokaku
10789 S Blaney Ave, Cupertino, CA 95014

Jul 27, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area

Girls Weekend in Napa - need help with restaurant and winery list

Morimoto's is in the downtown area of Napa and very close to both Rotisserie and Wine and Fish Story.

I had a good time at Morimoto's; the food is very Japanese-fusion, with some very exotic flairs. I loved his version of the bagna cauda, and most of the dishes there can be shared.

Another note about Morimoto Napa -- the omakase is more of a sampler style menu -- all the items on the omakase are also on the a la carte menu, so it may make more sense as a party to order some individual items to share than to order omakase for the whole table.

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Morimoto
610 Main Street, Napa, CA

Jul 26, 2011
mhuang in San Francisco Bay Area