Last week I ordered to-go dinners from Wakuriya, the Michelin one-star restaurant in a modest suburban shopping center. It had announced that the last day for its pick-up program would be Sunday, May 2.
The pre-ordering process is to call and leave a message for the desired date. If it is available, a return call will confirm details. A credit card is required to hold the booking, but is not charged except for no-shows, and a different form of payment can be used at the time of pickup. I was a little late for my appointed time and left a voicemail en route that I was delayed.
My credit card was swiped behind a screen and passed to me on a tray for signature.
Three courses for $60 x two orders were packed in two brown paper bags, one holding the chilled appetizers and desserts plus an ice pack and the other had the wagyu beef and rice trays at warm room temperature.
The appetizer course included the day’s fish sashimi, which seemed to be a white fish similar to tai and a red-fleshed type such as steelhead trout that was leaner than salmon arrayed with watermelon radish and iceberg lettuce to be doused with a flavorful sesame ranch dressing. The pieces of cooked lobster and Hokkaido scallop were not that special. But the other two cold dishes were standouts. The two kinds of eggs pairing a jiggly soft-boiled jidori egg with ikura and snappy green beans was the right size for a shooter. A round cross-cut of octopus tentacle matched in dimension by thin slices of cucumber and red tomato with a dashi-vinegar gelée, scatter of chives and a flower-shaped edible decoration that might have been egg white presented beautiful colors and contrasting textures. I would have loved to know what this was made of and would have inquired if I’d been eating-in.
The Snake River Farms American wagyu beef cooked medium-rare rested on a bed of sweet caramelized onions and sported slices of lobster and oyster mushroom. The tangy and barely sweet rhubarb-ponzu dipping sauce was the essential element of this dish. The pair of fried panko shrimp stayed crisp and sweet balanced with a dab of rich wasabi-tartar sauce. The creamed white fish and shiitake dish was on the bland side and not particularly memorable.
By this point, I was quite full. I only had room for a taste of the Gohan (rice) plate topped with mild minced chicken curry, scrambled jidori egg and fresh spinach. This leftover made for a nice lunch the next day.
The pretty dessert was three bites worth composed of sweetened red bean, budo grape mochi, spiced fruit and matcha creamy mousse with a fresh mint leaf.
Such a tasty and wide range of flavor components presented so beautifully despite the limitations of take-out. Both of us were quite happy with this meal. Though we missed out on the collection of handcrafted ceramic dinnerware, the Michelin star experience came through in the high caliber ingredients, deft execution and thoughtful service.
The charming proprietress was so sweet, I asked to take her photo as a momento of pandemic days. She seemed surprised when I said this was my first time to the restaurant and she thanked me for supporting them. I’m glad I was able to try Wakuriya on a take-out basis as the distance from the City makes it less attractive for me as a dining option. I’m sorry I didn’t take advantage of this sooner.
115 De Anza Blvd.
San Mateo, CA
Closed Monday and Tuesday
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