ajyi2012's Profile

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Help finalizing restaurants, deserts, cocktail/speakeasy, as well as opinions on SF staples

I wouldn't go that far. Chipotle is by no means authentic but it's still pretty tasty, and I've had plenty of bad burritos in the Mission.

Papalote is notable because the meat is cooked to order, and they have some esoteric fillings. It's hard to argue that they taste fresher than a lot of taquerias that serve meat that's been sitting in a container for a few hours, but this is a distinction that perhaps only matters to a few. I'd consult the list at Burrito Eater (http://www.burritoeater.com/taquerias...) and see which one interests you.

And make sure you're ordering a super burrito, not a naked one.

about 16 hours ago
ajyi2012 in San Francisco Bay Area

The FiveThirtyEight Does Burritos

Wow. I don't get it. I've only tried the carnitas burrito once at La Taqueria and what I had was fairly good but there just wasn't enough filling to put it anywhere anywhere near the same league as Cancun or even La Espiga. I guess the silver lining is my favorite places won't get mobbed with tourists...

Maruya on 16th, best sushi in SF?

I guess I'm used to inflated prices in San Francisco. I compare a nigiri-heavy meal at Maruya compared to something at say Keiko or even La Folie at similar price points and I prefer Maruya. I know, different cuisines, but I just want to contest the idea that Maruya is somehow a poor value proposition.

I've been to Maruya twice and my experience has been this: great nigiri, but their otsumami stuff (the vegetables and the pickles) is forgettable. I understand they're trying to duplicate the traditional kaiseki style courses but either the vegetables here aren't that good or my taste buds are too Americanized. Kusakabe is much better in this respect.

Also I don't understand the obsession with purity when it comes to sushi here. Fact of the matter is we Americans will never get the best quality fish. Even stuff flown in from Tsukiji overnight will have been sitting in an icebox for half a day. So given that constraint, is it really that audacious to dress up sushi a bit? Do we criticize a restaurant for serving a Niman Ranch strip with a complex sauce? I frankly loved the smoked fish (I think it was bonito?) served at Sushi Ran. It was better than the mediocre but otherwise naked toro they served.

Maruya on 16th, best sushi in SF?

I'm eager to try sushi in LA (I assume Kiriko, Mori, Shunji?) and Tokyo (trying to get reservations at Iwa, Kanesaka, maybe Kyubei) because I think the sushi I've had at Kusakabe, Ran, Maruya, et al to be really tasty. It's hard for me to imagine sushi being, say, 2x better than any of these places.

The FiveThirtyEight Does Burritos

Nice writeup of El Castillito. Interestingly they like the Mission location, despite it not doing so well on Burritoeater's list.


Okonomiyaki: SFBA Dish of the Month August 2014

Damn, I didn't realize they had katsuobushi on the side. This version was pretty good I thought, it just needed more components because it was a little bland. Katsuobushi, more sauce, more fresh benishoga, maybe a fried egg...

Okonomiyaki: SFBA Dish of the Month August 2014

Agreed. I've never had okonomiyaki in Japan but imo the Namu Gaji version was too sour, and I felt like the oysters didn't add anything. They really need to rebalance the flavors. I think kimchee can work in okonomiyaki (it certainly works in Korean pajeon) but you need fewer elements going on.

Hopscotch (Oakland)

I've had the kimchi fried rice here for brunch and wasn't impressed. Underseasoned and lacking the acidic bite of good aged kimchi. The rice wasn't spicy at all. I liked the use of soft boiled eggs but I wish they were a bit warmer.

We had the spicy miso wings for an appetizer and this was disappointing too. Small wings and the skin was soft and rubbery.

Week in SF - Critique this list and suggest a meal

Mission Chinese is still worth visiting at least once. I think people are just tired of the hype. I was there a few months ago and had a fine meal.

Week in SF - Critique this list and suggest a meal

Agree with Namu Gaji. I've eaten probably half the menu and I've eaten tons of Korean food, and in my mind I would barely call Namu Gaji Korean. The flavor profiles and textures just aren't quite the same.

In the MIssion I'd suggest Range.

Bay Area Ramen

Izakaya Sozai is decent for San Francisco but that's not really saying much. The bowl I had used some black pepper which made it sorta interesting, but the underlying broth and noodles and chashu were about on par with Yamadaya in Japantown, another place which is decent but not great.

In my opinion the only two destination spots are Ramen Shop and Orenchi. Ramen Shop if you want a California creative touch, Orenchi if you want a really good tonkotsu.

Akiko sushi vs. Ino recommendations please [San Francisco]

Hijacking this to report a recent trip to Ino (after having visited Akiko, Maruya, Kusakabe, and Ichi).

My god. I don't think Ino belongs in the same tier as the other four. I honestly think my neighborhood sushi joint (Kiji in Mission) is better than Ino. Completely ignoring any issues with service (which honestly was not that bad), Ino was far too heavyhanded with the wasabi which killed almost any opportunity for me to enjoy the fish. Not that it mattered since he mostly served me bland cuts. The ankimo was good, the mackerel was decent, but every other nigiri I was served was lean and tasteless. Ino doesn't even bother with acids or sauces to brighten fish like hirame. Ino also has this curious practice of serving me two nigiri of every fish for an omakase order. I later learned that I can order single pieces with less wasabi, but from the fish I was served I just don't think it would be better than a place like Ichi or Akiko, to say nothing of holy temples to sushi like Maruya or Kusakabe.

Maybe I just need to become a regular and learn what precisely to ask for, but after my one meal I would not recommend Ino to anyone.

Kusakabe [San Francisco]

Wow. IMO the best omakase experience in San Francisco now, hands down. The problem with the omakase at Akiko or Maruya is that the quality is inconsistent. The sushi is amazing, but the filler stuff in between is mostly forgettable. Not so at Kusakabe. In fact dishes like the duck dumpling miso soup and the crispy tofu in dashi broth with ikura were some of the highlights of the night. Service was excellent and attentive. I can only dock it points for an inferior ambiance to Maruya.

I've posted some photos here:


Where should we eat on Valencia near 22nd (the Marsh)? [San Francisco]

Papalote is one of the better taquerias in SF on 24 and Valencia.

The Cavalier [Union Square, SOMA, San Francisco]

So I thought the burger here was impressive, like a cross between the Nopa and Zuni Cafe burgers. The bun was sturdy, almost felt like focaccia? A little bit of crust but tender. The beef was well seasoned and cooked exactly as I ordered, medium. The tomato chutney and mustard added just the right amount of acidity to cut the fat of the beef. Burger was incredibly juicy but not messy, could easily eat it with my hands. Fries were also excellent.

best chicken wings in or near the Mission (SF)?

I was really impressed by the wings at Phoenix Bar, which is surprising because you wouldn't think it would have good food. But the wings were large, meaty, crispy, sour and spicy.

Ramen Yamadaya, SF Japantown - It's Yummy! Report w/ PICS

Wow, I had the complete opposite reaction. I only went once and ordered the tonkotsu yamadaya bowl with some garlic crushed into the broth.

For starters the chashu was inedible. Overcooked to the point where the fat was rubbery. The pork belly was in a similar state. The broth was okay. The noodles were soft and in my opinion a bit overcooked.

I had the kara-age combo and this too was overcooked. Tough and stringy chicken meat.

I guess I can go back and try another bowl. Maybe it was just a bad night. For comparison I had a bowl at Waraku recently, which is around the corner, and it was much better.

Maruya on 16th, best sushi in SF?

I've heard that one of the chefs here gave a great omakase presentation and the other one not so much. It'd be great to find out which one is the good one.

Eater's list of 20 underrated restos [San Francisco]

I love Lolo. Not too pricy, a good variety of tasty Mexican tapas, and very good cocktails. It has been getting busy lately but on a weeknight you should still be able to find a table without a reservation.

New chef at the Palace? Has anyone been? [San Francisco]

I went a week ago and tried the five course tasting menu. For the most part I found the dishes unmemorable. Another restaurant that focuses a bit too much on presentation over flavor. And they do that annoying thing where you can upgrade individual courses for $10 or $20 (I skipped the truffle and wagyu upgrades).

Yuca amuse was oily. Oyster was just ok. Grilled lobster bite was nice but the other preparations (ceviche and soup) were not. The pork course was not notable aside from the extremely hard rind.

The highlight was the steak, which was served with some braised bitter greens and au gratin. I kind of wish they had just made this a full blown entree and skip the other courses. It wasn't especially creative, but the simple preparation and flavor contrasts made this the best dish.

Dessert wasn't memorable either.

Northern Chinese Layered Bread

A&J serve this. They call it thousand layer pancake.

Solo dining in NOVA or DC

Georgetown is not exactly convenient to get to.

I've pretty much never had a negative experience with solo dining, but usually I end up sitting at the bar or going on a week night when business is slower.

I'm in Bethesda

Yeah Assaggi is awful.

Passage to India and Jaleo are the only two destination restaurants in Bethesda. Food Wine & Co can be good. Shangri-la is decent Nepalese/Northern Indian cuisine. Grapeseed can have a good tasting menu sometimes. Redwood usually has good pasta. There's a food truck by the Women's Co-operative called One3Five that makes good sandwiches and soups.

You can get crab cakes at Newton's Table but they're out of season right now and super expensive.

A little bit south of Bethesda is the new Range in Chevy Chase which is getting a lot of good reviews. Further north into Rockville you get some decent ethnic eats. Pizza CS for Neapolitan, Spice Xing for Indian, Sichuan Jin River for Chinese.

Sushi in N. Bethesda/Rockville?

I like Temari in that they give you huge slabs of fish for sashimi, and the selection is decent. But the times I've tried it the texture made me think it was refrozen.

Eating expensive tasting menus solo?

So I would love to experience meals at Minibar, Rogue 24, Suna, Komi, etc but my friends are not exactly keen on spending $150+ on a meal so I'm the only one interested. Is it unusual to make reservations for one at these places?

Cheerful Restaurant DC/VA to get someone's mind off a tragedy

bd's in Bethesda has closed.

Mosaic Cafe, Rockville

I live near Mosaic and I enjoy my meals there as well. The waffles, as you've mentioned, are amazing and I try to order some every time I visit. I've also had their pork medallions which were outstanding: crispy and juicy. I think they do tend to overcook their vegetables though.

My only problem has been the abysmally slow service, although I think it's gotten better lately.

Is Ben's Chili Bowl worth a visit?

As others have mentioned, the main reason to come here is after a late show at the 9:30 Club or Black Cat. You should be drunk enough that you can barely walk straight. It's at moments like these that a chili half smoke tastes divine, and the reason why Ben's is still populated by locals.

I would not come here without getting drunk first.

Moa in Rockville?

I enjoyed my haemul bibimbap. Mine had a lot of...oil, but it was very tasty. A bit too much squid, maybe. They do a respectable bulgogi, although it's kind of hard to fuck that up as long as I get plenty of lettuce and ssamjang on the side.

Anyway Moa is my favorite Korean restaurant in Rockville. It's better than Arirang, Lighthouse, or Jon Won. It doesn't really compare to anything in Annandale or even Ellicott City but it's good enough to sate my hunger for Korean comfort food without me having to drive 40 miles.

They actually serve what I think is the best jajangmyeon in the area (way better than Jon Won). It's not on the menu so you'll have to ask for it.

Ramen in DC for lunch - where to go

The broth is definitely delicately flavored, and the noodles are thin. However for someone used to bold flavors from the ramen at Toki/Ren's, it left me a little disappointed.