Having been to Cha-ya a handful of times, my hands-down favorite thing to order is the seaweed salad. It is unlike any other seaweed salad I have ever had. It comes in a fairly large bowl, and includes piles of various types of seaweed, separated into individual varieties.
The best thing about this seaweed salad is the sesame dressing -- it is quite thick, and stays in its own corner in the bowl. It's a light beige color, and retains the shape of whatever container from which it was piped. Its texture is kind of like a very tahini-heavy, creamy hummus, and the flavor is balanced and delicious. All I know for sure is that there is sesame and rice vinegar involved.
Does anybody have a recipe for a homemade sesame dressing that produces a result anywhere near what I've described? Do I need a suribachi to make such a thing? I have asked the waitresses at Cha-ya for the recipe, but instead got a sly smile and the word, "kitchen" both times I inquired. Once, they even gave me a take-out condiment container full of dressing with my check! But alas, no recipe.
I wasn't sure whether I should post this on the SF Bay Area board or here in Home Cooking, but I think this is the place to ask, right? Since I'm hoping for a recipe I can make at home? Anyway, thanks in advance for any replies!
Cha-Ya Vegetarian Japanese Restaurant
762 Valencia St
(between 18th St & 19th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110