Among my favorite places in search of comfort food are a couple of Japanese restaurants by the name of Gombei in Menlo Park and San Jose. I am no expert in the subtleties of Japanese cuisine and not having visted Japan, I have no frame of reference for what is authentic. However, these restaurants are usually busy and filled with Japanese expatriates perhaps seeking similar comforts. Affordability, a commitment to fresh ingredients, efficient service and artful presentation all add to the what is without fail time and again, a delicious meal. The menu is basic and a nightly specials boards are where more exotic items are listed (including a sashimi dinner consisting of the most perfectly cut large pieces of fresh blood red tuna).
Oversized bowls of donburi topped with chicken or pork cutlet lightly coated in egg and adorned with fried onions and scallions and a side of lemon scented steamed broccoli or
steaming bowls of shrimp udon with beautiful opaque, chewy noodles are delivered and consumed quickly.
Cold soba noodles, spradically available, are artfully piled on an ice covered straw mat to what seems like celing height. A sweet soy, teryaki dipping
sauce accompanies the noodles and I just love giving the noodles a good soaking before lovingly slurping them up.
Complete dinner items including the usual terayaki suspects round out the menu.
Most dinners and bowls are well under $10. Specials can run around $10-15.
Gombei Japanese Restaurant 1438 El Camino Rl Menlo Park, CA 94025
Gombei Japanese Restaurant 193 E Jackson St San Jose, CA 95112 (Japantown)