I hadn't been to Kansai since they opened quite a while ago. There had been some talk on the board about this restaurant and how it had once been in business in a downtown location many years ago, and had a good reputation then as well.
My husband and I had lunch there Monday and I have to say it's probably about the best place in SF's Japantown. The food is a cut above almost everywhere else, definitely on par with Maki (but I'm not a big Maki fan). I had the lunch combination (12.50), selecting saba shioyaki and hamachi sashimi. All lunch combinations come with miso soup, kobachi (two servings of exquisite tsukemono -- pickles), salad (with a subtle dressing and not that gloppy kind that is so common in a lot of Japanese restaurants). The helpings are quite generous -- the hamachi sashimi pieces were huge but still delicate. Carrot and asparagus garnish also added a nice touch. The saba was perfectly cooked.
My husband had nabeyaki udon and he was pleased with it though he felt the broth was a little bland (that was fixed with some shichi-mi pepper) and the noodles were a bit soft. Still, very refined.
Everything is served in elegant and interesting dishware, including the sake bottles and cups.
Buchanan Mall (near Post Street - across from Tampopo)
San Francisco Japantown
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