21 2017 Jun
San FranciscoTagged food, japanese, kaiseki, san mateo

Once I got called back for my reservation request I was so damn gleeful. And yeah, that’s right, it was a reservation request. You call and leave a message for the days you think you can make it and they’ll call back to confirm. It’s not some automated response either. You get to talk to the host. That’s right, they call up each potential patron. Now if that was any indication on the level of service we were in store for, I knew we were in for a treat. After all, this was for Japanese kaiseki where service plays a huge part in the meal. And I have to say, Wakuriya delivered.

The restaurant was kept dark. Shades drawn and lights kept at a minimal for you and you party.

However, it’s an open kitchen and if you land a seat at the bar, you’ve got direct access to chef Katsuhiro Yamasaki. His wife does most of the explanations but on occasion, he will come by with the next course. Either case, he’s the one putting together the meal with some help from the back kitchen.

Overall it was an amazing meal with impeccable service. Listening to each course while taking in the beauty of each dish brought me back to Japan. Though, some of the dishes showcased the ingredients found here in the U.S., like the Snake River Farms wagyu. This was everything I wanted. All from a little place in a little shopping mall (Crystal Springs Shopping Village) outside of the city.


115 De Anza Blvd
San Mateo, CA 94402
+1 (650) 286-0410

Verdict: Oh yeah, it lives up to it’s promise.

Plum Soda

As you are seated you will get a small glass of plum soda. On a hot day like it was, it was nice and refreshing.

Dewazakura Tobiroku

Of course, we added a bottle of this sparkling nigori, unfiltered sake to accompany the meal. Upon asking if we should have two, the host recommended just one for us. She started us with a clear pour before mixing the bottle. An interesting way to try the range of flavors the bottle offered. And she was right, we enjoyed it. The bottle lasted through the whole meal. We kept it light. It was a week night after all.

$25 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Lobster to Summer Truffles

The meal kicked off with this amazing little dish, lobster topped with white truffle shavings with a soft-boiled Jidori chicken egg on top of a dashi gelée. Oh f yeah, this was so good.

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Next up were the assorted appetizers, kanpachi (Japanese amberjack) carpaccio, Maple Leaf Farms duck, and grilled unagi (eel). Let me take you through each one individually.

Ox Impressions: 

Grilled Unagi

The grilled unagi was topped with mountain potato and iso shoyu (seaweed soy sauce). Although I felt it could use a bit more time on the grill, the delicate meat of the eel still came through.

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Maple Leaf Farms Duck

These slices of cured duck breast were sitting in some oh so yum umami cream.

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Kanpachi Carpaccio

Then it was on to the Japanese amberjack sliced up and made into a carpaccio. The tanginess was enhanced by the tomatoes and sharpened with the diced shiso leaves.

Ox Impressions: 

Hisui Nasu no Ankake

This was the pan sauteed foie gras with Japanese eggplant in a thickened dashi sauce. The sweet and savory taste mixed well with the richness of the foie. I'm no high end food critic, but this just worked well the smoothness of the eggplant.

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King Salmon Sashimi

For the chef's choice of sashimi today, we get treated with King Salmon. Look at those rich colors! Taste just as you'd imagine, awesome.

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Gindara no Age Ni

Okay, finally a Japanese rendition of black cod that's not some miso glazed filet. This one my friend, is first deep fried then cooked again with a light dashi stock along with Sun Smiling Valley Farms mushrooms. Oh Wakuriya, you're winning over my heart here.

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Fresh Blueberry Sorbet

So this was our palette cleanser before the next course. And you know what? It did the trick.

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The Anticipation

Once we were done with our little refresher, we were presented with this pot. Of course, we were told not to wait a little moment before opening it. Not to continue the suspense, but because it was hot, fresh out of the oven.

Wagyu Beef

When it's cooled a bit, inside were cuts of Snake Rive Farms Wagyu beef, prepared separately, that topped what was cooking inside, tomatoes and mushrooms in a daikon broth. The beef itself was lightly seasoned giving you the unadulterated flavors of the wagyu. Nicely done.

Ox Impressions: 

Hiyashi Somen

This was a very playful dish where you take these wonderfully battered deep fried prawns and dip it into the bowl. Kinda like what you'd normally associate with eating shrimp tempura, but inside the bowl were my first introduction to somen, Japanese angel hair pasta. Oh I should have shared a video. Not only of how delicate and firm these noodles were, but of a happy little boy slurping away. I want to eat an entire meal of this.

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Sake Kasu Milk no Panna Cotta

Ending the meal was a strawberry panna cotta with a mochi cherry. While the panna cotta was delicious, the fresh cherry mochi was a delightful surprise kick to the taste buds. Thank you Wakuriya. It's a meal to remember.

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The OxPosted June 21, 2017 By the hungry ox

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