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Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area

Japantown roundup

Windy | | May 1, 2011 09:12 AM

I usually stick to the same few places at Japantown (Mifune, Takara, and lately Sushi AKA Tombo, with an occasional detour up to Fraiche for yogurt). But two weeks at film festival gave me a little extra motivation to try something else between movies.

Most successful: nabeyaki ubon at Bushi-Tei Bistro. Delicious and reasonably priced at $10.95. Great broth, lots of chicken and vegetables, enough for leftovers. Bushi-Tei Bistro has a weird menu, everything from garlic bread to sushi and ramen.

What else is good here? The kitchen is also fast, despite the size of the place, so handy if you're on your way to a movie.

Happy hour at Miyako Restaurant was a mixed bag. Okay beef short ribs, salad comprised of tons of dressing on top of only the white part of iceberg lettuce. Respectable California roll. Not greasy but not very flavorful tempura. Cheap, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Dolsot bibimbap at New Korea House was so so. Pan chan wasn't bad; good kim chee and a bowl of broth was delicious. But bulgogi was overdone, they used overcooked button mushrooms, and rice was too wet, so it barely got any crunch from the bottom of the bowl. Service was unusually friendly; at some point I realized everyone was Japanese. Has this gone through a change of ownership?

Stopped in for my annual okonomiyak fix at Izumiya. Service was lackluster as always; despite the restaurant being empty, they stashed me in an uncomfortable corner. Fried shrimp were a waste of calories. But I do like their okonomiyaki: mushy and crispy at all the same time, alternating chunks of shredded cabbage and seafood. Anyone got a better/friendlier place for this dish?

Brought in mochi from various sources. Benkyodo's are still the best especially the ones wrapped in leaves and the fluffy pink ones.

Finally Kobe beef hot dogs in the Kabuki's Balcony bar get an enthusiastic thumbs up. Too bad they don't have condiments besides mustard and ketchup. The bartender warned me popcorn was $1 cheaper downstairs. And I really liked the terribly named Cupcake sparkling pinot noir from France; added to the Swedish comedy about terrorist drummers.

New Korea House
1620 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115

1747 Buchanan St, San Francisco, CA

Miyako Restaurant Yakitori
1707 Buchanan St, San Francisco, CA 94115

Bushi-Tei Bistro
1581 Webster St, San Francisco, CA

1581 Webster St Ste 270, San Francisco, CA 94115

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