pauliface's Profile

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Okonomiyaki: SFBA Dish of the Month August 2014

I agree. I thought it was terrible. The kimchee was nasty. Okonomiyaki is one of my favorite foods, but I will never have it at Namu Gaji again.

best cioppinno?

The oysters are solid but certainly not the best in the city. However, you need to consider the overall experience, which adds several points to how it *feels* to eat the oysters. Ambiance, martini, and the way they go before a steamy bowl of cioppino.

best cioppinno?

My favorite is at Tadich Grill. Add Oysters for an appetizer, and a martini with each course, and it's my perfect meal.

Scoma's is pretty good too.

There is a lot of substandard cioppino out there. I tried it at Pesce (in the Castro) because the waiter promised it was excellent, and it sucked.

Suggestions for lunch only M-F restaurants

"Rye Project" should have called themselves "Rye Playland" :-)

Takazawa or Tapas Molecular Bar

I would also recommend Tofuya Ukai. They are in a Kyoto-tea-house-like setting right by Tokyo Tower.

Service in private rooms of a multi-course, traditional, tofu-centric-but-not-exclusively-so meal is by kimono-clad waitresses.

I have had lunch there twice and would consider it for dinner as well.

May 01, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Takazawa or Tapas Molecular Bar

No no no to Kozue.
I went there once and the food was minuscule, and not particularly special, and the place was quiet in a way that was not fun.
Dishes (i.e., plates & bowls as opposed to food) were gorgeous though.

Go to Ishikawa or Nagazumi instead.
Or if you want to experience the Park Hyatt, just have drinks and nibbles at the New York Bar (no reservations, sitting at the big open granite table is fun).

I have not been to Narisawa but it sounds great.

Takazawa and Tapas are both fun. Takazawa is 'more important' and better food and longer meal. But I would take either of these over Kozue.

Apr 30, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Help for memorable second to last meal in Tokyo... all other meals accounted for :)

Just returned from Tokyo last week.
In addition to Ishikawa and Nagazumi, I have two other strong recommendations:

Sushi Takumi Shingo (although you already have plenty of sushi).
Izakaya Nakamura Shibuya -- good vibe, delicious food. Everything was great. A bit more upscale and lounge feel than a true after-work izakaya -- but a great ambience.

Apr 22, 2014
pauliface in Japan

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Izakaya Nakumura Shibuya was also a winner!
Great buzz/vibe/feel and every single thing we ordered was delicious.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Apr 21, 2014
pauliface in Japan

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We are in Tokyo now. So far, amazing!

Sushi Tanuki Shingo: it's like going to the aquarium, except you get to eat everything! Seriously though, Tanuki-San is a delightful man, a complete maniac in the best way. He has deep knowledge and puts incredible thought into how he prepares each bite of each fish. He has a glowing, joyous presence. Unbelievably delicious, great variety, I give this place my highest rating.

Thank you, shakti2, for recommending.

Also, we went to Tofuya Ukai for lunch. Such a beautiful experience and lovely food. Like having an afternoon in Kyoto. This was my second time and it lived up to my memory and expectations...

Apr 12, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Tokyo help - family of four

I love Iwasa sushi near Tsukiji.
The have a 'kai set' -- all shellfish -- that is my favorite.
I'm sure you could take the kids there -- it's a hustle-bustle place that gets a bit of a line out the door.

Here's a map...

Apr 07, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Molecular Gastronomy in Tokyo - As good as Spain and Alinea?

Molecular Tapas Bar is fun. Think of it more like a show than dinner. The pacing is fast (too fast to do wine pairings, we found -- get a bottle of something you like instead). If you are a molecular pro, then you will already be familiar with a lot techniques.

That said, if you go without superhigh expectations, it will be a fun evening and the meal is tasty.

Apr 07, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Question re. multiple kaiseki dinners at ryokans

I have stayed at Ryokans only three times.
Each time, it was for two nights.
Each time, the meals were different between the first and second night.
The breakfasts, I think, were more similar, but again, not exactly the same.

Apr 07, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Help for memorable second to last meal in Tokyo... all other meals accounted for :)

I recommend Ishikawa or Nagazumi.

Note that Nagazumi is open Sunday, if you should choose to switch Tapas Molecular Bar.

Apr 01, 2014
pauliface in Japan

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Thanks so much! Nakamura and maru both sound very promising. Nakamura looks lively which is a plus.

I will also look into Shingo as a replacement for yo shiitake... I. Found other chowhound post about it and it sounds unique and fascinating...

Mar 15, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Locally made frozen foods worth stocking

Pelmeny from Cinderella Bakery.

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Gargle -- what might you recommend?

BTW: Ryugin is off our list, and DEN is booked. :-)

Mar 13, 2014
pauliface in Japan

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We were considering adding a sushi restaurant. We had heard good things about Sushi Yoshitake. But you prefer Takumi-Shingo?

Do you have another non-sushi recommendation?

Mar 12, 2014
pauliface in Japan

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So our upcoming itinerary has two empty slots.
What would you add there?
Does not need to be expensive, but if it is that's okay today.

Thursday Dinner -- Kaikaya by the Sea

Friday Dinner -- ?????

Saturday Lunch - Tofuya Ukai
Saturday Dinner - New York Bar

Sunday Dinner - Nagazumi

Monday Dinner - L'Atelier Joel Robuchon

Tuesday Dinner - Ishikawa

Wednesday Dinner - ?????

Mar 12, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

This was not my experience this last week.

My hotel concierge called, and was told that they do not take reservations through hotels.

Following this, my friend (who speaks fluent Japanese) attempted to make a reservation. But he was told that the restaurant is invitation only...

Mar 12, 2014
pauliface in Japan

House made bagels

I had a startlingly good bagel recently at "The Bagel Bakery" on Townsend street.

I was passing by and was going to get a coffee, but the bagels looked oddly delicious. Turns out they make them there with the proper double-process.
Like a proper bagel place, there was one kind that was warm because it had just finished cooking.

Buzzy, fun, interactive in Tokyo -- a la New York Bar...


We are planning another trip to Tokyo (!!!)

We will be going to some food temples (Ishikawa, Nagazumi, Yoshitake, Tofuya Ukai for lunch) and to some less rarified restaurants we love (Kaikaya, L'Atelier Joel Robuchon).

But we also seek someplace busy and fun, in the vein of New York Bar at the Park Hyatt. (We will be going to New York bar another night as well). We always have a good time there. Generally we sit at that huge granite table and strike up conversations with the people around us. It's often an international crowd, but not ex-pat, which is fun.

It's not important that they serve michelin class food, but they should at least have a bar menu so that we can both eat and drink.

Any suggestions?

Mar 11, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Your best meal of 2013?

I just want to write a thank you note from up north here in San Francisco.

I was in Los Angeles this weekend (James Turrell! The Wooster Group!) and referred to your wisdom on these pages to make plans for our Friday night meal.

Japanese is my favorite, and thanks to you all I chose Shunji, and I could not be happier. It was absolutely stellar.

Oh, and sorry but I kidnapped Shunji and Miki and brought them to SF. They are tied up in the basement as we speak...

Mar 09, 2014
pauliface in Los Angeles Area

Sunday night dinner: Sons and Daughters vs AQ or Commonwealth [San Francisco]

If you can stretch the distance and a bit more money I would go to Atelier Crenn.

I was hugely disappointed in Sons & Daughters.
Have not been to Commonwealth.
I would go to AQ over S&D, but Atelier Crenn is truly splendid. Their 'Signature' menu of 9 courses is $120. Definitely no need to go for their $195 blowout.

Russian restaurants in SF/Bay area?

Red Tavern is my current favorite Russian restaurant:

I like it better than Katia's or Russian Renaissance.

Also in SF, European Foods is a market that has some great prepared stuff:
They have chopped liver and stuffed cabbage that taste (almost) like my grandmother's. Also excellent homemade gefilte fish and if you are lucky and they have their cherry cake or poppyseed cake, get it.

New World Market on Geary is good for red caviar (they carry 4 grades), half-sour pickles, smoked fish and cold cuts, sour cream, and russian sodas.

Cinderella Bakery has great pelmeny. You can order and eat it there, or get it frozen to make at home.

Tokyo and Kyoto help

To combine your two requests, I would suggest Tofuya Ukai in Tokyo.
We went there for lunch last trip (about 6 courses I think for about 6,000 yen without drinks)
I believe dinner is more expensive.

We had a really wonderful lunch that centered around their homemade tofu in different styles.
The atmosphere is kyoto-like, in that they have a large property with private rooms, and service by waitresses in kimono.

The food was really lovely. Lunch lasted almost 3 hours, if I recall correctly.

A wonderful experience.

Feb 10, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Espetus Churrascaria? [San Francisco]

Ahh. Good thing I did not make a wisecrack at the restaurant, reserving my ignorance for the ENTIRE WORLD to see.

Espetus Churrascaria? [San Francisco]

Heh. So I went here with an all-male group of friends last night.

What was hysterically funny is that the place was filled with large groups of men. It appears to be the man-cave of restaurants. There were like 5 women in the whole joint, and about 10-12 large all-male groups of 6-10 people.

I guess when groups of men (like me and my buddies) feel like going out for a big fun meal, they all come up with going some place where they can get lots and lots of different kinds of tasty grilled meat. I've never seen anything like it.

The food was about as expected, actually a bit better than I expected. A large variety of meats, most of which were very nicely done. Favorites were the beef ribs, flap steak, and sirloin. Lamb chops were disappointing, as they were sliced so thin that they were very much overdone.

Cocktails were disappointing, and at a place that is serving meat they should be excellent, as in a proper steakhouse. The staff is constantly recommending "brazilian mojitos" (is there any other kind?) and caipirinhas. I had a mediocre sidecar, and when I tried a caiprihha I had to send it back because it was undrinkably sweet. Traded for a passable but not excellent martini.

Overall it was fun, in a manly sort of way, but overpriced. I would not motivate a trip back, but if someone had his heart set on going, I would join in, if only for the male bonding.

Bay Area food gifts to bring to Berlin

Bay Area food gifts to bring to Berlin

See's candies. Nuts & chews, dark chocolate assortment.

French Laundry corkage fee - $150 Wow! [Yountville, Napa Valley]

My best wine pairing was at Le Cinq in Paris.
It was unbelievable.
I don't recall the price. Maybe 150 euros?
But the thing is, once that was paid, they were pulling incredible things out of their wine cellar, which they have been stocking for decades.
They served some very special things, one wine from the 1970s, and something from each decade between then and now.
Granted, they probably bought all these things at reasonable prices at the time and have just held onto them.

But it was as if for the price of our wine pairing, we had given the sommelier the keys to the wine cellar with the invitation to 'go play and find whatever would be best'.