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San Francisco Bay Area El Cerrito

El Cerrito’s Jay Vee Center - Yaoya-San, Ichiban Kan, Katana-Ya Ramen Restaurant

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El Cerrito’s Jay Vee Center - Yaoya-San, Ichiban Kan, Katana-Ya Ramen Restaurant

rworange | Jun 19, 2007 10:52 AM

Jay Vee Center is a small Japanese strip mall on San Pablo Avenue. Food-related businesses include:

- Yaoya-San, a great little market that also sells sushi and bento. The gem in this small Japanese mall.

- Ichiban Kan, a small Japanese dollar store that also has stores in San Mateo and Japantown in SF

- Katana-Ya Ramen Restaurant, a restaurant that sticks in my mind at being near the bottom of Melanie Wong’s ramen list … if not at the bottom.

I didn’t stop by Jay Vee Liquors. Does this branch stock any Japanese beers, wines or spirits?

ICHIBAN KAN

It seems to be the place for Pocky sticks, snacks, packaged noodles / ramen, dishware, cookware and plastic food containers.

The website (link below) lists what is available in the store and can also be ordered on-line.

Food / cooking items include: Rice, Grains, Beans, Flours, Basic Seasonings, Japanese and Chinese-Style Seasonings, Curry, Stew Seasonings, Spices, Oils, Dressings, Noodles and Soups Processed Foods, Instant Ramens, Dried Foods, Teas and Drinks, Japanese Sweets, Candies, Chocolates, Rice Crackers, Chilled Foods, Pickles, Fresh Desserts, Frozen Foods, Kitchen and Household Products

No fresh, chilled or frozen food available at the El Cerrito store though.

What do you like here?

KATANA-YA RAMEN RESTAURANT

ANYTHING good? Maybe ramen isn’t their thing? There’s a HUGE menu.

How is the sukiyaki, sushi, robata, sukiyaki, katsu, curry yakitori, oden meal, shabu shabu, udon, etc? How’s the tempura mango ice cream? Any off the menu items? I read about spicy miso ramen soup that can be ordered on request.

Vegetarian sushi?

Or is it just about inexpensive Japanese eats that are only ok at best?

YAOYA-SAN

Even more amazing than how so much can be packed into such a tiny store is what appears to be excellent quality and selection.

There’s a large sake/sochu selection, a small but nice produce section up front, counters in back with excellent looking sashimi … sliced and by the piece, lovely thinly sliced pork, beef and chicken for dishes like shabu shabu, a large fully-packed freezer case in back of the store, refrigerated sections stocked with all sorts of miso, tofu, mochi, pickled stuff (plums, scallions, onions, etc) and much, much more. There’s a whole aisle of snacks and candies

In the back of the store, the pretty wrapped sushi and bento are prepared. There was a beautiful little tray of razor-thin beef tataki.

It was hard to get near the packaged pieces of fish for sashimi since some older Japanese customers elbowed me out. I did spot some lovely sea urchin that was immediately snapped up as I peered over shoulders. There was a silver needle-nosed fish – sanma souri. It was also available prepared.

Various packaged foods like bento boxes are distributed through the store … the back refrigerated cases, in the produce section, stacked around the register.

Yaoya-san means green grocer. While the produce section was smaller than Tokyo Fish, the quality looked better. There was an impressive selection of stellar-looking fresh mushrooms. A little refrigerated egg case next to the produce had a basket of organic eggs (45 cents each).

I don’t know about the quality, but there is an impressive sake/soju selection, some of it refrigerated. There was a small cooler of Japanese and Asian beers like Koshihik Ecogo beer.

I read they have a few Hawaiian items like poi.

There is a large selection of mochi and rice cakes wrapped in leaves. I read Sacramento Tofu is delivered to this store and sells out quickly.

How does it compare with the other Japanese markets in the East Bay … Tokyo Fish and Berkeley Bowl?

Jay Vee Liquors

10560 San Pablo Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530
(510) 524-6126

Katana-Ya Ramen Restaurant

10544 San Pablo Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530
(510) 528-1678

Yaoya-San

10566 San Pablo Ave
El Cerrito, CA 94530
(510) 526-7444
http://www.yaoyasan.com/

Ichiban Kan

10562 San Pablo Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530
(510) 528-5210

98 E. 3rd Avenue
San Mateo, CA, 94401
(650) 347-1347

22 Peace Plaza, Ste 540
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 409-0472
http://www.maruwa.com/index_e.html

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