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Kitchen KURA & Alvin's

Windy | Mar 9, 200508:25 PM

Noticing the front page of the Examiner warning about dangerous waves, I of course headed for Ocean Beach. On the way, I stopped in for lunch at tiny Kitchen KURA on Irving, lured by a sign that promised home-cooked Japanese food.

Kitchen KURA replaces an Asian dessert shop and offers a simple menu with everything cooked to order. Two dishes plus rice and salad is $5.75; three is $6.75. Dinner prices are a little higher, but still under $10 for more food than you can eat.

I tried the nanban chicken, the grilled salmon, and a steamed eggplant with grated ginger. The nanban chicken is boneless and fried and comes with a garlic dipping sauce. It was juicy and plentiful if not in the same class as my current favorite (Chick N Deli on Taraval). The eggplant was fine but would have benefited from steaming or broiling longer. The salmon was simple but in a delicious marinade.

I probably wouldn't drive from across town, but it's a decent neighborhood place. Everything is served on paper plates; it's not high end food, but ideal for a picnic. I wish I'd thought to take it to the beach.

Kitchen KURA is on Irving between 16th and 17th Avenue, across from Goemon.

I also got a cup of perfectly brewed Earl Grey for $1 at Alvin's Coffee and Tea up the block. (They mostly serve awful brand tea bags like Stash, so ask for looseleaf.) While I was sitting there, various locals came in and ordered specialty coffees.

It's a more interesting coffee selection than most, including cups of Armenian and Arabian style coffee and Vietnamese (or what they call coffee of the orient). Any coffee recommendations? I think it was the Mad Russian who praised the tea here.

Further west, the waves were not yet 30 feet high, but they are stirring up a lot of cool foam and the combination of sun and smog is pretty spectacular. Just don't try to outrun the surges. Tomorrow should be even better.


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