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Suishi Taichi & Manten Questions

If I might top this... I have a reservation for Taichi, looking forward to a fine evening of sushi. Can anyone offer any advice on dress - would something like business casual (chinos and a dress shirt, no tie) be considered acceptable?

Also - does anyone have a link to a good map? I know it's a bit hard to find. Thanks!

Jul 23, 2013
Deeg67 in Japan
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Suishi Taichi & Manten Questions

Thanks again. If we're only going to splurge for one omakase in that price range (12000¥ and up) would you recommend Kimura, Iwa or Taichi? This will be in early August. I would say both of us have a pretty broad range of tastes in sushi - I love maguro but I don't need to have it to enjoy the meal. I'd also say that given that my friend will be here on his first trip, the experience itself is a major factor as well as the quality of the sushi.

Jun 04, 2013
Deeg67 in Japan

Suishi Taichi & Manten Questions

Thank you Nisinix - much appreciated. Is Taichi going to be able to handle a reservation with limited Japanese, or should I have a native make the call?

Any other places you especially recommend that I might not be aware of?

Jun 04, 2013
Deeg67 in Japan

Suishi Taichi & Manten Questions

Should also note - is the variety and quality of fish going to be significantly less in the summer than it would be during another season?

Jun 04, 2013
Deeg67 in Japan

Suishi Taichi & Manten Questions

I've been living in Tokyo for about 6 months, and a friend is visiting from LA this summer. He's a sushi lover (as am I) and knows California sushi, but his idea of Tokyo sushi is Jiro (thanks to the film). In addition to the cost, I'm not sure Jiro is going to be the best choice given that he speaks almost no Japanese and mine is at the beginner level.

After some digging here and elsewhere, I thought Taichi sounded like the best choice for an accessible and friendly option that will still deliver immaculate quality with a personal omakase experience. I also thought Manten would be another option for excellent quality-price factor. My questions:

For Taichi, is the omakase experience going to be significantly better at dinner than lunch? Cost is a factor, but not a decisive one - he was willing to spring for Jiro after all. How difficult is it going to be to get a reservation at Taichi, both in general terms and as a beginner Japanese speaker? For Manten, is a reservation necessary?

Thanks in advance for your help. Any other recommendations would surely be appreciated.

Dan

Jun 03, 2013
Deeg67 in Japan

Kimchee Ramen and Toroniku Shio Ramen at Santouka in San Jose

I'm surprised not to see Ramen Dojo higher - I've never had a mediocre bowl there.

Coincidentally, I was at Santouka today as well on my way to Aki Matsuri in Japantown. Also struck by how much the lines have thinned out. I was sore tempted by the kimchee ramen - if I'd seen your review first I might've ordered it - but it's 30 miles for me so I hate to slog down there and not get the #9, large special pork. It's still great.

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Ramen Dojo
805 S B St, San Mateo, CA 94401

Sep 18, 2010
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Ramen Dojo San Mateo (coming April 2010)

I tried it today, and came away pretty impressed. I had the tonkotsu (as mentioned, referred to here as "bitter pork"), regular spicy. It had a lot of the same umami that the old Santa pork base had, with a nice fishy undertone from the shrimp. Noodles were plentiful and al dente, shredded pepper and whole garlic cloves were a nice touch. For $8.95, it certainly constitutes a better value than the ramen at the newer location.

Apr 16, 2010
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Ramen Dojo San Mateo (coming April 2010)

I saw this, obviously someone hoping to cash in on good ramen karma at that site! Though they have some of the darkest tinted windows I've seen, from what I could see the place looked pretty finished inside. I hope it turns out to be an interesting option - I don't find myself drawn to Santa anymore and it'd be nice to have another ramen choice in SM.

Mar 23, 2010
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Stewed Pork Shoyu Ramen @ Santa Japanese Restaurant in San Mateo

Well, I tried the tonkotsu ramen at Izakaya Sozai tonight, and it really is all that. Right there with pre-move Santa - rich, creamy and savory without being too heavy. Al dente noodles, runny egg, and while the pork belly wasn't the best I've had it was just fine.

I really like the place - nice modern vibe, and the chef is a very nice young Japanese chap happy to engage you if you sit at the counter. I'll definitely be back.

Mar 05, 2010
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Stewed Pork Shoyu Ramen @ Santa Japanese Restaurant in San Mateo

The tonkotsu at Santa was my old standby - if I were a smoker I'd have lit one up after eating it. Umami incarnate. But I think it's a shell of what it was since the move. If they open a second spot I'll check it out, but without much hope. So yes, I do prefer a heavier style - but I find Santouka's #9 (shio with pork jowl "deconstructed") to be a nice medium, and very nearly the equal of the old Santa tonkotsu in terms of overall quality. Halu is reliably great across the board - no one choice stands out for me as the equal of the above, but uniformly excellent.

My favorite at Mai is actually the chanpon ramen - Japanese mish-mash soup. It's very good - not great, but very good. I've tried the clam at Himawari, the butter corn, the shio... Nothing really stands out. I'll have to go back and try the clam again. I'm also hearing great things about the tonkotsu at Izakaya Sozai in the city, so I'll have to check that out.

Mar 04, 2010
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Stewed Pork Shoyu Ramen @ Santa Japanese Restaurant in San Mateo

Melanie, what are your favorites at Himawari? I've tried it several times and I confess, never found a bowl that really impressed me. I live in Burlingame so the decline of Santa has been a real blow for me. I find Santouka and Halu to be the best in the area, by far, but thirty miles is a long way to drive for ramen if I can find something comparable 4 miles away.

Mar 04, 2010
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Good Eats in Santa Clara?

I like Halu, but I definitely think Santouka is better if you order correctly - i.e, the #9. That's the large shio with special pork - kind of a deconstructed ramen, with the pork, fungi, and veggies on the side to be dipped. Their special pork is about as good as that item can be IMO, and the Shio seems to be the best of their base options - clean-tasting and rich without being overpoweringly so.

Dec 13, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Santouka Ramen will open in Bay Area?

Unfortunately Santouka is exactly 32 miles away for me, and in the opposite direction from work to boot. But try I have managed to make it down a few times and for me, the #9 - toroniku with shio broth - is definitely the winner. Every bit as good as what I've had at their SoCal locations. The broth is rich without being cloying, salty but not too much, and has a wonderfully clean taste to it. Noodles were plenty firm for my tastes. And I love the deconstructed nature of the bowl - stewed pork (6 pieces), bamboo shoots, mushrooms and negi on a separate plate.

Obviously, it's the special pork that draws the big crowds - they sell out every day - and it's worth the hype. Dip it in the broth and the fat melts, leaving a wonderfully buttery and flavorful morsel of pork. The entire experience is the only ramen I've had outside Japan that can compare to Santa, pre-move. Maybe even a little better, but certainly just as good. With the decline of Santa, I think Santouka now edges out Halu as the best in the Bay Area.

Oct 24, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

China village last night

Ditto the cabbage - it's sublimely good. I hosted a work dinner with a bunch of skeptical colleagues at CV last week (Panda Express is more their speed) and the place was pretty close to a universal hit. I would say the cabbage, along with the spicy pork shoulder, were the biggest winners for the group.

Oct 19, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Breakfast places in or around Union Square area

Dottie's is far and away the best choice, but be warned that it's small and hugely popular, and the lines can start as early as 8 AM on weekends.

If it's a weekend, another great option is Dennis Leary's Canteen, on Sutter near Taylor. Lots of intriguing high-end brunch options at medium-end prices from a truly great chef who loves his small dives.

Oct 02, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

china village - wow, really?

I actually had my first real downer of an experience at CV last week. We ordered the spicy pork shoulders, which I adore - like a Sichuan version of Carolina pulled pork. But this one came to the table frozen - literally frozen - in the center. I mean, I know you're not braising it for 8 hours every time someone orders it, but that was a bit much. They took it away and replaced it with a properly cooked one when we brought it to their attention, and it was as sublime as usual. Still - that was a bit disconcerting.

Aug 25, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

china village - wow, really?

I love Sichuan food dearly, but not enough for a special trip to Fresno. Fresno???

Jul 09, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Any new and good pizzerias, Peninsula or South Bay?

If you enjoy stuffed pizza as it's made in Chicago, Paxti's in PA on Emerson is very good.

Jul 09, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Greatest Hits Tour at Sichuan Delight in Redwood City

I guess I need to try this place again, because when I worked in RC I tried it many times and thought it was just OK. I'm quite pleased with Crouching Tiger for my Sichuan needs when I'm down that way, but based on reports I guess SD needs another look.

Jun 29, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Green Tea in Bulk

Peet's will sell tea by the pound if you pre-order, and their Sencha is quite good.

Jun 16, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Shanghai Wontons and Lunch Specials at Jade Palace in Palo Alto

Hmmm - thanks, I'll check it out the next stogie night.

Jun 06, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Shanghai Wontons and Lunch Specials at Jade Palace in Palo Alto

I see this place all the time, as I go to Bodeguita del Medio for a cigar from time to time, but never tried it. This is one of those place where you have to order off the Chinese menu to get the good stuff, isn't it? I always find myself a bit frustrated with that.

Jun 06, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Nini's Coffee Shop - nice family run joint

I live in B'game and Nini's is my #1 breakfast spot locally. Good solid food, friendly staff, and decidedly out of the way.

Jun 03, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for kickass Szechuan food

China Village Albany is unquestionably #1 for me. I've also come to really like Crouching Tiger in Redwood City.

May 07, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

The Great Burrito Debate

I too am a big fan of El Castilito on Church. Very, very good carnitas, carne asada, pollo asado... Solid burrito across the board.

May 07, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for cool kitchen stores - Bay area

I have to second Tyler Florence - it's definitely high-end, but they have some wonderful quality cookware and kitchen supply, and it's a thoughtfully designed space. In addition, Tyler himself is in there all the time (and a helluva nice guy) if such things are of import to you...

May 05, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Dottie's True Blue Cafe - the lemming breakfast

Two hours is too long, but don't diss the restaurant for that. The food is damn good - certainly the best breakfast anywhere near Union Square - very consistent, and relatively cheap. It does suffer from the fact that it's one of the few places both hipsters (Hey - it's in the tenderloin, cool!) and tourists will go to, and that it's tiny.

But there are ways to beat the lines, and I've never waited more than 40 minutes. Be willing to eat at the counter (especially if you're dining solo, this can be really quick). Go on a weekday. If it's a weekend, get there by 8:30 and it should be 45 minutes or less.

Apr 21, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Zackary's Pizza: how is the Stuffed Deep Dish?

I love Italian beef and sausage, but next time you go to Chicago go to a real Chicago beef place - not a chain like Portillo's!

As for NY pizza, well - saltines 'n ketchup, mmmm. But to each his own - pizza is a big category and we're loyal to what we know. Understand, though, that Lou Malnati's is a different style than Zachary's - deep-dish vs. stuffed. For a startlingly good rendition of what Lou Malnati's does, try Little Star.

Apr 17, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Zackary's Pizza: how is the Stuffed Deep Dish?

Well, I'm a traditionalist - so between those two I go with the former. I would guess the pesto probably wouldn't have tomato sauce. I tend not to like a ton of ingredients on my pizza anyway, though - when I go to Patxi's I generally get only one or two ingredients. I like their sausage, pepperoni, kalamata olives, fresh garlic, mushrooms - any one or two of those. If I'm feeling nontraditional, I might get jalapenos.

Apr 17, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area

Zackary's Pizza: how is the Stuffed Deep Dish?

Well, I was born in Chicago and lived there for 27 years, so I've had more than a few stuffed pizzas in my life and I'm telling you - Zachary's is stuffed pizza. That's the form, even at Giordano's (which I would estimate I've eaten well over 100 times) which doesn't taste - or even look - all that different from Zachary's. Yes, it's better - but it's also 2200 miles away from me while Zach's is 30 and Paxti's about 15. But it's not better because it's different in design - they just do a little better job with the sauce, and the crust had a little more umami to it, or something... Maybe it's the Chicago water, but compared to other left coast attempts at the style Zachary's is very good and very authentic.

On the topic, I would also point out that there are many local pizza shops in Chicago that do stuffed quite a bit better than Giordano's - good for a chain, but still a chain. And many more that do deep-dish that's better than Girodano's, and for which Little Star is the most authentic version in the Bay Area. I would say Zachary's/Paxti's (Paxti's is a hair better) would probably fall somewhere in the middle of the pack for stuffed if they were in Chicago. Nothing I'd drive out of my way for there, but a veritable Mecca out here.

Apr 16, 2009
Deeg67 in San Francisco Bay Area