Tag Archives: California

Iyasare – Berkeley, CA


1830 Fourth Street

Iyasare opened in late 2013 as part of the Bay Area Japanese food explosion that is going strong in 2016. The restaurant immediately received critical acclaim, earning a Bib Gourmand award in 2015 (not renewed in 2016).

What is unique about Iyasare is that they are not a cookie cutter Japanese restaurant.  They do not serve sushi, ramen, or the standard grilled/fried izakaya fare. instead, they take Japanese ingredients and flavors, and prepare dishes in a California-Japanese fusion way.  The result is innovative and often delicious.


We started off with a cocktail and a pour of sake.  The cocktail was the daily special, a bourbon based beverage.  The sake pour comes with the overflow vessel to show generosity.  Depending on who your pourer is, you can get more or less “generosity.”



Uzaku – Grilled Unagi

with Japanese eggplant, shitake mushrooms, ginger bulbs, tamari rice vinegar



The first dish we had was a saucy eel with some explosively flavorful mushrooms and eggplant.  The eel was soft and tender.  The wasbi added a nice spice compliment.

Ocean Umami

hokkaido scallop, ikura, sea urchin, fermented wasbi leaf, nori ponzu

Iyasare_03b_Ocean UmamiIyasare_03a_Ocean Umami This was my most highly dish of the night based on the description, ingredients, and previous photos I saw. The presentation lived up to the billing…it sits beautifully on the plate. The flavor was good but it did not have the impact I was expecting.

Octopus Terrine

black miso garlic, swooping farm lemon balm, romano beans, pickled okra, leek ash

Iyasare_04_Octopus Terrine

This dish wins for most unique and unexpected item for the night. The terrine was slightly gelatinous with a soft flavor that contrasted nicely with the rubbery chewy octopus.  The miso paste added a nutty component.

Mentaiko Spaghetti

spicy cod roe, reef squid, kaiware, shiso, garlic-ginger butter

Iyasare_05_Mentaiko PastaAnother delectable dish that is in a close race with the unagi as the best of the night.  The mentaiko added a creamy kick to the pasta that left me wishing that we ordered two.

Mediterranean Sea Bass

sea bass, uni, ikura, nori

Iyasare_06_Sea Bass

The off menu special of the day was a sea bass, deboned and served whole topped with similar ingredients as the Ocean Umami. The fish was meaty and juicy while the dashi-ponzu sauce was a mild, zesty compliment.

Fudge and Cheesecake Mochi


Dessert was six bite sized mochi balls.  Three fudge with a chocolate topping and three cheesecake with a strawberry hat. Both were light and refreshing; a satisfying end to the meal.

Iyasare is innovative. The Japanese flavors and ingredients are mostly there but the style and result as distinctly not traditional Japanese. The result is a well executed hybrid  of Japan and California that stands out amongst the flood of sushi houses offering edomae style omakase.

Iyasare changes the menu frequently enough that a return visit would not be a repeat visit at a price point that is in line with what should be the expectation in the Bay Area.

Acquerello – Nob Hill, San Francisco


1722 Sacramento Street

With the recent the gastronomy boom in San Francisco it is easy to overlook some of the stalwarts that have been paving the way over the last couple of decades.  At the center of these classic institutions is Acquerello – the Michelin two star Italian juggernaut  that is worthy of every accolade received. Acquerello was, in short, one of the best meals we have eaten…ever.

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Saison (セゾン)


178 Townsend Street

私たち夫婦の中では9月と言えば、結婚記念日なので、今年も行きたかったレストランの1つである「セゾン」に行ってきました。今年日本に行った時に東京にある「神楽坂 石かわ」に行ったのですが、そこのシェフが「先日サンフランシスコに行った時にセゾンに行ってすごく美味しかった」と言っていたので、サンフランシスコに住んでいるからには是非とも行きたいと思っていたので、この日をすごく楽しみにしていました。それでは、1品1品ご紹介していきます。

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Saison – SOMA, San Francisco


178 Townsend Street

If you follow the blossoming Bay Area food scene, by now you have surely come across the name Saison and Chef Joshua Skenes. Saison holds two prestigious honors – it is one of the four Bay Area Michelin three star restaurant (along with The French Laundry, Benu, The Restaurant at Meadowood) and is hands down the most expensive meal in the region.  Lucky for us we had an anniversary to celebrate and decided to take the plunge, willing to put the high expectations to the test.

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Zuni Cafe – Mid Market, San Francisco

Zuni Cafe

1658 Market Street

Zuni Cafe is a historical landmark in the San Francisco dining scene. In a city that is flooded with new, trendy, ‘foodie’ dining spots, Zuni has been consistently pumping  out cult level classic dishes for nearly forty years.  After a lengthy period of time on our waiting list, we finally made it to this San Francisco staple.

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Aster (アスター)ミッション、サンフランシスコ


1001 Gurerrero Street


という訳で、今回は最近サンフランシスコのミッション地区に新しくできた「Aster (アスター)」をご紹介します。この場所は前まで「Beast and the Hare」という別のレストランがありましたが、最近このレストランになりました。しかも、このレストランはCoiレストランで有名なシェフDaniel Patterson のGroupの1つです。

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Aster – The Mission, San Francisco


1001 Gurerrero Street

After a medium term break of traveling to Japan twice and continually eating (just not writing about it), we are firing up the old word processor for round two.  Our first meal back on the horse was at Aster, a new establishment filling in the former Beast and the Hare location. Aster is the work of Outerlands chef Brett Cooper and is a part of the Daniel Patterson Group (Coi); expectations have been set.

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