Restaurants & Bars

San Francisco Bay Area



Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area


mariacarmen | | Jan 18, 2010 09:27 PM

Eight of us tried Nombe ( tonight. I finally got to meet the venerable Melanie Wong! DavidGi - thanks David!

We worked our way through House Plates, Agemono (fried items), Yakimono (grilled skewers), Rice & Pickles, and Dessert. We also had a bottle of Sake - Dewasansan Namagenshu - and a bottle of Sochu - Imo Sochu Kuro Isanishiki - which came in a lovely bottle that looked like a medicinal tonic of some sort. I have to admit I had a leeetle too much of the Sochu (although I understand this type of food is meant to be eaten when you are feeling no pain!) so please forgive any missteps . . .

We had:

Chicken hearts (skewers)
Chicken gizzard (skewers)
Chicken skin (skewers)
Pork Belly house plate with karashi, stewed onions and shoyu tamago
Black cod - poached with spinach, fennel, leek & miso
Beef heart with sweet onion and katsuo bushi (sort of a mild bonito shaving)
Chicken livers - fried with a garlic aioli
Satsumo Imo korokke - a starchy croquette with tonkatsu sauce
Brussel sprouts - suggested by our waitress - in a mint, carrot, and togarashi preparation
Butternut squash tempura roll - with cream cheese and a green tea salt
Tsukune with egg - a sort of meatball served with egg (which unfortunately ended up on our table, so we didn’t really get to taste the egg)
Calamari salad - which the restaurant threw in for free - very nice of them!
Odango - riceball with sesame and lemon
Ribeye tataki - ditto!
Salmon chazuke - rice and salmon in a tea broth
Umeboshi with cucumber
Breakfast radish with miso pickled ramps
Yuzu pickled daikon
Nuka zuke pickles

Dessert was a warm kabocha mochi cake with toasted almonds and Beignets with a homemade yuzu jam and a fermented creme fraiche.

My faves: Chicken skin - nicely crispy but tender, fatty, sweetish - we ended up ordering this again at the end of the meal (before dessert); pork belly - I never met a pork belly I didn’t like. This one came with a very thickly poached egg and a sort of wasabi mustard; Odango - very smokey, not doughy; brussel sprouts - again smokey, really delicious - great pick by our server; black cod - sweet and very tender; butternut squash tempura roll - the tea salt really complimented the sweet squash and a cream cheese center; and the umeboshi with cucumber - very tart and salty, may have been my favorite item of the night. I loved the kabochi mochi cake - almost had a marzipan flavor, with the toasted almonds; the beignets were way too sweet for my taste, although I could have eaten the fermented creme fraiche by itself. The chicken livers were also a standout - very nicely battered and fried, big pieces, very crunchy, not at all greasy, with the very nice velvety liver inside.

I enjoyed the Sochu, which was medicinal to me but went down extremely smoothly. The sake had a green apple note, which I liked.

Others loved the beef heart - it was not my favorite preparation of this organ (I’m just too stuck on the Peruvian anticuchos, I guess!) I found the chicken gizzard and heart skewers dry and indistinguishable from each other, and just not very special. I’m glad we got the ribeye for free - it’s the most expensive item on the menu, and I just found it salty, not remarkable. Some found the pickles too indelicately cut, not a very good presentation.

Their late night menu (open until 2:00 a.m. Fri-Sat.) included many of my favorites so I would definitely go back and try some of them again.

Over all, I’d go back, but I live half a block away; others said they wouldn’t make a special trip to come here, but if they were in the neighborhood they would try it again. Service was very attentive and friendly. Can’t remember our total, but the six of us who drank alcohol paid $55 each, and the two who did not partake paid $33 each.

Pics are attached. (So sorry, they are out of focus!)
Another nice event - good to meet you all!

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