We had a superb kaiseki meal at Kaygetsu in Menlo Park last night. As others on the board have mentioned, the food is exquisite; it's the most authentic Japanese food I've had outside of Japan. I have never been to Kappa (in San Francisco) but in the past I have been to Kyo-ya and it well surpasses their offerings.
Our party of four included three native Japanese (my husband, and my friend and her husband who have both lived in Kyoto). We were there to celebrate my friend's birthday. We all had the nine-course meal for $75 per person. It was well worth every penny. Everyone was extremely impressed with the authenticity of the entire meal, from the table setting (including washi placemats from Kyoto) and dishware to the presentation and delicate flavor of the food.
The highlighted food for this course was hamo, a delicious white fish imported from Japan. The course included:
Saki Zuke (starter)
- fish-flavored somen noodle (seemed to be handmade) with seaweed and boiled quail eggs
- deep-fried (like tempura) hamo and red and yellow bell peppers
Suimono (clear broth)
- hamo with junsai (vegetables) in clear fish broth
- assorted sashimi
Taki awase (slow cooked dish)
- anago, eggplant, kabocha (pumpkin), snap peas, hiryozu (tofu fritters), shiitake in delicate fish broth
Hassun (assortment of seasonal flavors) - an especially gorgeous presentation
- lobster with vinegar gelatine
- salmon sushi wrapped in bamboo leaves
- sea urchin jelly in hozuki (lantern plant - a beautiful orange color)
- pickled myoga ginger
Yakimono (grilled dish)
-Choice of steamed duck
-Grilled ayu (sweetfish)
yama mono berry (this looked like a raspberry but had a pit in it -- wonderfully sweet taste)
hollowed gobo (burdock)
Unagi cha zuke
- rice in clear fish broth topped with unagi, seaweed, rice crackers and wasabi (this was the best cha zuke I've had *anywhere*)
- pickled vegetables (tsukemono)
House-made yuzu sorbet
House-made green tea mousse with creme fraiche and sweet red bean sauce
We had some great sake as well, but I'm sorry, my husband was in charge of ordering that and I don't know the names.
The great thing about kaiseki is that the portions are just right -- you feel satisfied but not overly full.
Service was excellent. Not all servers speak Japanese, but they were all knowledgable about the food and were very enthusiastic. Proprietess Keiko-san was a wonderful hostess.
Kaygetsu - Classic Japanese Cuisine
325 Sharon Park Drive
Menlo Park (in the Sharon Heights Shopping Center)