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Restaurants & Bars 3

Kappa, Japantown, SF (just some quick notes)

Limster | Jan 13, 200410:53 PM

A charming oasis. (Many thanks to the Chownews crew and chowhoundX for this find.)

I decided to go with an omakase dinner, but gently requested ankimo and shiso miso maki, which they graciously obliged.

ankimo with ponzu sauce, scallions and finely chopped yuzu(?)

mixed appetizer plate: stewed baby abalone (size of a small pebble), sweet small anchovies, salmon filled pastry baked in the shape of a small fruit (with a stick garnish as stalk), a half circle of Japanese fish cake, something I couldn't identify - a melon of some sort? sac of fish eggs (no marine taste though....) lots of tiny caviar like pops packed together in a stiff firm rhomboid slice that looks like it's been simmered in a broth, eaten with a shiso leaf

mixed sashimi: excellent crunchy mirugai, hirame (I think), hamachi, maguro

crab legs with green tea custard, thick dashi-like sauce, spinach and sesame seeds, sweet crab beautiful against sweeter mousse.

fried skate, pristine, clean and precisely crispy (made me long for the fried skate bones)

shiso miso maki, piquant with generous chilli spice, with plenty of salty miso umami, and maybe a faint echo of shiso, simply wonderful

large white Kyoto turnip (in season only in winter according to the Japanese lady that was more of a host than a waitress), red turnip, clear lightly sweet sauce (with mirin?), perfect cooling contrast right after the spicy shiso miso maki

broth with fried tofu, soft cooked radish and spinach

unagi don, possibly the thickest rib-stickingest cut of unagi I've had, gorgeous lacquer, succulent micro-curls of eel in each bite. An unagi I'll remember for a very long time.

gelatin cubes with adzuki bean paste and a palm sugar like syrup

Solicitous, gracious and welcoming service. The Japanese lady who tended to us was the perfect hostess, all smiles, with gliding plates and trays, ever full drinks and friendly chats. A pampering nest.

Almost forgot - a golden sip of their complemenary New Year sake, which they offered to all the customers. Sweet, complex, like sunshine on dew.

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