Today I had an amazing lunch box meal at Minako (Mission bet 17/18, closed tues, wkdays lunch: 11:30-2:30, din 5:30-9:30). Do not let the tacky "Sake Sushi" sign fool you. This place is great. Not extravagently great, but great in a very plain way.
I ordered Saba no Shiyoyaki (salt-grilled mackerel) but the waitress came back and said, sorry, no shioyaki, but they can grill a Saba Kasuzuke (mackerel marinated in sake mash) instead. Totally fine with me!
The lunch box that appeared included 6 or 7 different treats, all prepared just like in a Japanese kitchen. No wonder -- the older woman who is the owner/chef used to do a cooking show on Japanese TV (NHK in Kansai) from a studio in Kobe. I can't even remember what the different items were. It doesn't matter. What I tasted most was her care in preparing this meal. There was an umeboshi (pickled plum) with the rice -- I never eat umeboshi because it's usually dyed red. Hers is homemade -- green, tart and delicious.
Minako's menu has three personalities mixed into one. It's part veggie/vegan stuff, part sushi, and part home-style/izakaya cooking. It's fairly inexpensive -- my lunch box + rice + miso soup + extra rice + cool improvised pastry dessert was about $8. Ask for the miso soup at the same time as the box, so you can eat it all together. No idea how the sushi is, and given how simply good the cooked stuff is, I don't think I'll ever find out.
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