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Restaurants & Bars 6

Hana Zen, Downtown SF (long)

Limster | Sep 25, 200101:39 AM

Dragged two other friends out for yakitori (grilled, skewered food) at Hana Zen - a beautiful place that is softly coloured by warm earth tones. We really enjoyed dinner. It's conveniently located just a block from the Powell Street BART/MUNI station.

I got the chef's yakitori dinner, a combo that includes salad, miso soup, rice and 12 skewers of 10 items. Fair amount of food and not a bad deal for around $24. (Doesn't cover all the interesting grilled stuff though; will have to go back to sampling unagi, chicken hearts etc., as well as some of the appetizers, liked the grilled smelt and grilled calamari that caught my eye.) BTW, the prices on their website are out of date - it's slightly higher in real life.

I had sticks of:

delicious bright and crunchy asparagus wrapped with ultra thin and slightly fatty slices of pork (asparagus maki) - 2 sticks (loved this one)

pork wrapped around shiso leaves for that wonderful complex flavor (there were 2 sticks!) - definitely a favorite (shiso maki)

shiitake mushrooms, the fresh sort with a more delicate flavor, and lightly touched with soy sauce

boiled quails eggs, skewered and grilled, rich and good

shishito - japanese peppers with a light smoky pungence - another favorite

tsukune - chicken meat balls, fine, with a slight bouncy texture

beef tenderloin cubes dotted with ground black pepper grilled and to medium doneness - meat was good and juicy

negima - chicken marinated with a yakitori sauce - tender and nicely offset by short sections of sweet and sharp scallion stems

tofu with sesame seed sauce - basic but the sauce was quite nice

eggplant - wth the same sesame sauce. Good too.

for dessert, a grilled (!) ice cream -turned out to be vanillla ice cream covered with grilled meringue, almost baked alaska-ish, except no sponge cake. Not bad at all. It was served with strawberry slices and blueberries and a light berry-flavored syrup.

Definitely satisfied and will want to go back to try other things.

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