Eiji – Castro, San Francisco

Time: Sunday. June 15, 2014. 7:00 PM. Reservation.
Location: Castro, San Francisco
Address: 317 Sanchez St
Website: none
Cuisine:  Japanese (tofu)
Party Size:  4 (M&V; M&E)
Order:  Various small plates, 2 homemade tofu, mixed nigiri, desserts
Pre-tip Cost: $140 [$129 food & drink; $11 tax]
Verdict:  Worth it for the house made tofu alone, the rest is just a bonus.

On the surface, Eiji looks like just another restaurant.  The facade is unassuming, the location is slightly residential.  They do not even have a website.  But on the inside is anything but the standard American-Japanese eatery.

eiji

Eiji first and foremost specializes in homemade tofu, offering a few different preparation styles on the dish.  The menu also offers a few appetizers and entrees with a small  selection of sushi (nigiri and rolls, none of which are overly Americanized).  Eiji also has a “daily” specials board that has a traditional Japanese appearance, though it does not see much turn over.  Their desserts are a thing of legend (also made in house) and are actually limited to one per customer.

eiji_specials

Edamame

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We started off with the standard Japanese starter.

Tuna Belly Steak

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This came off the special board and for $9 was a phenomenal deal.  The ginger sauce added a flavor blast to the tuna steak.

Eggplant with Walnut Miso

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The walnut miso flavor was the primary flavor.  The eggplant was nice and mushy.

Saba Sunomono

eiji_sabaThe mackerel was salty and meaty, as expected.  The bitter melon bed underneath might be the key to long life in Okinawa but that might be because it takes 80 years to choke down.

Assorted Ala Carte Sushi

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eiji_nigiri_close1

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We ordered sake, aji, kohada and saba nigiri.  All the pieces were well cut and had a nice balance of rice to fish.   Sadly no uni.

Oboro Tofu

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eiji_tofu_topping

eiji_tofu_mixed

The oboro tofu is the tofu speciality at Eiji.  It comes served in a pot and is served into smaller bowls by the waitress.   Some of the toppings, including daikon, ginger, and sesame are added and a the whole thing is topped with a special soy sauce.  One bowl is perfect for two.

Daifuku (Strawberry Mochi)

eiji_dessert2

 

A brilliant dessert.  The strawberry was naturally sweet, the mochi gummy and the red bean paste that sticks the two together was perfectly Japanese sweet.  It is no wonder that Eiji limits to one per customer.

The Other Desert

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I actually do not recall the name of our other dessert, but it was an ice cream covered in a thin crepe-like blanket sprinkled with cinnamon and decorated with a red bean paste.

Our return to Eiji was met with the same high level of satisfaction as our first visit and is a must visit for any Japanese food loving San Francisco resident.

 

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