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Melanie Wong | Apr 24, 202105:21 AM     2

Izakaya Rintaro, a Chowhound favorite, kept hope alive this pandemic year with streetside dining and an extensive menu of artfully packaged bento boxes to-go. It also raised funds for charitable efforts, dedicating sales from its Liberty duck breast salad that changed accompaniments and nonprofits with the seasons, https://www.chowhound.com/post/izakay... . This Sunday, April 25, will be the final bento to-go sales, as the restaurant readies for opening up indoor dining again.

I'd tried a couple times to order the duck breast salad and encountered the dreaded "sold out" on the online order page. At long last in November, I planned early enough in the day and the charcoal-grilled Liberty Duck breast salad, $15, was mine. Then in autumnal mode it was nestled with persimmon, chrysanthemum leaves and frilly mustard greens. Overflowing with greens, I could have used a wee bit more of the dressing. Still, this was a delight with deep pink, rare slices of tender duck meat set off by fresh fruit. The current version features kumquats.

I had the lovely oden set, $25, to start, and especially loved the airy and fluffy fish cake made with fresh ling cod. I saved the udon bento, $25, to reheat for lunch the next day. One tip about to-go noodle dishes reheated at home, drop the stuck-together noodles in a bowl of warm water to pull them apart easily, then drain and ladle hot stock over them. The two-fish dashi was intense and savory to set off the peppery tasting budle of komatsuna. And again, more of the wonderful ling cod fish cake. I saved the remaining dashi to flavor some home-cooked dishes.

I noted some brave souls were eating at the romantically lit sidewalk tables on that November night. Yes, there were heaters, but I noticed the patrons all kept their hats, scarves and coats on. I was glad I'd ordered to-go.

Izakaya Rintaro
82 14th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
415-517-8539

Bento to go order page: https://www.toasttab.com/rintaro/v3/

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