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Unexpectedly on my own for a night in the City, I took a walk down Union Street and landed at the then three-month old Kaiyo. The specialty here is small plates and sushi drinking food in the style of Japanese immigrants to Peru.
Hokkaido Scallop Tiradito, $18, the signature dish is a stunner both on the palate and visually. Sweet raw scallops are bathed in maracuja (passion fruit) leche de tigre, topped with sweet potato puree, and artfully decorated with edible blossoms, chia seeds, pickled red onion, and green herb infused oil.
Smoked Duck Breast Nigiri, $7, lays a thick slab of local smoked duck on sushi rice and tops with fluffy shavings of foie gras torchon (before the California ban). A streak of fruity mayo, rosette of pickled ginger and wasabi accompanied the sushi.
Amarillo MIso Seabass, $19, slightly overcooked to the hard flake stage, yet still delivers a lot of flavor and texture from the yellow miso marinade, aji amarillo butter, spicy cod roe, and the acidic contrast of the pickled ginger shoots.
Befitting a Peruvian drinking spot, the cocktail menu offers a long list of Pisco-based drinks, divided into spirit-forward and fruit-forward styles.
The Last Airbender, $13, described as barsol pisco quebranta, el silencio mezcal, hitachino white ale, apricot, lemon, amargo chucho, egg whites is one of the most intriguing cocktails I've tasted in ages.
The food and beverage at Kaiyo on this first visit were impressive. Yet, I could not wait to get out of there because my server was a PITA. Mostly absent even at this late hour when the room was not busy, and he gave me flippant BS answers to my questions about preparation and ingredient sourcing. Fortunately, the host saved the night and wound up taking both my drink and food order, as well as checking on me a couple times. My next time at Kaiyo will probably be for brunch when I can avoid this waiter.
1838 Union Street
San Francisco, CA
Tuesday 5pm – 10pm
Wednesday 5pm – 10pm
Thursday 5pm – 10pm
Friday 4pm – 11pm
Saturday 10:30am – 11pm*
Sunday 10:30am – 10pm*
4pm - 6pm Friday-Sunday.
Dinner service 5pm daily.
Saturday & Sunday 10:30am – 2:30pm
* Bar is open cocktails between brunch and dinner.
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