Friday night and we were in the mood for food and drinks. So what comes to mind, Japanese food, izakaya to be exact. And with all the places catering to this fanfare, it was difficult to choose. But we knew we wanted, quality and the ability to venture out for round two for drinks. Enter Izakaya Rintaro, which is nestled in the Mission and within walking distance to many of our favorite bars like Butter and the Willow and whatever happened to Holy Cow. Is it still the local bar we all used to love? Judging from the lines forming outside, I guess not. Anyways, this was about eating.

Inside, there’s seating at the bar and booths for groups of four and tables for any parties larger. The place is full of energy with the wait staff taking orders and sending them to the kitchen, which we had full view of. “Those must be our drinks. What other table has beers and sake with one lone glass of wine?”

We sat in the booth and even though we were so close to the action, there’s plenty of room to get around. And most importantly, there was plenty of overhead space to disperse any escaping grill smoke. Yes, we won’t smell like a chimney after this.

We put in our order and the staff grouped our items accordingly, drinks, sashimi, skewers, unique dishes, katsu, then finally the udon. It seems we’ve developed a habit of finishing our izakaya’s with some form of noodle soup. Is this a normal thing yet? Kinda like getting miso soup at the end of your omakase. Yes/No? Well, either way, it was a great and filling meal made possible by the attentive staff. There were some memorable dishes, like the mackerel and chicken oysters, which will get us to come back for more. Hopefully we can cover the remaining menu, like the whole simmered fish, which they were out of that day. Oh, the one that got away. We’ll get you next time rock cod, next time.

Izakaya Rintaro

82 14th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
+1 415-589-7022
izakayarintaro.com

Verdict: Great quality dishes with a higher price tag of course. If that’s not a deal breaker, this is your place to be.

Suzuki no Sashimi

We started off the night with a couple orders of their sashimi. This was the Baja striped seabass sliced beautifully to be dipped in their lemon ponzu along (not pictured) with the Half Moon Bay wasabi. Fresh and a kickass way to start the meal.

$18 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Shime Saba no Goma Dare

I am usually not a fan of mackerel due to the curing process, but this one, specifically, this combination, was something we weren't expecting. The vinegar cured Monterey Bay mackerel was sitting in a wadaman black sesame sauce with a bit of minced ginger. The two put together gave each tangy bite a rich earthy grounded base. It's hard to describe, so just give this a try. You will find yourself at a lost for words.

$16 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Thigh and Onion

Next wave of items were our skewers, which come two to each order. Since the thigh and green onion skewer is such a staple, we had to order two. And they didn't disappoint Full of flavor with just enough charring.

$8 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Chicken Oyster

Yeah, you heard that right, chicken oysters. This is a lower back muscle of the chicken which turns out to be a very tender piece of meat. So when it's skewered, seasoned, and grilled it turned out magnificent.

$11 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Tail

What what? Chicken butt. That's my taste buds singing after having one of two of these. Lightly crisp from the grill and full of crunch afterwards. If we hadn't already ordered a feast, you would see more of these along with the chicken oysters.

$7 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Ribeye and Sweet Onion

Our final set of skewers were the ribeye. Thick and juicy. Who can complain about that.

$12 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Hanetsuki Gyoza

What you're looking at is the underside of pan fried dumplings made with Becker Lane Berkshire pork with chicken foot jelly. Interesting presentation, especially with the arugula. Taste wise, it's pretty damn good.

$14 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Kamo Sarada

Duck breast topped with chrysanthemum greens. Not too bad and unfortunately, I don't remember it too well due to all the other stand out dishes. I guess it was a bit out of place with it's flavor profile. Not saying it was bad, it was good, on it's own. It just didn't meld with the whole meal.

$16 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Millefeuille Miso Katsu

I have to say, I went into this dish with some prior prejudices with my experience with this stuff in Osaka. It was very dry. Here though, it's was how it should have been. The ten layers of Becker Lane pork remained juicy under that thick crunch. Thanks for making me a believer again.

$16 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Chiizu Tori Katsu

Then came the katsu where this was made with Riverdog Farm chicken and stuffed with Cowgirl Wagon Wheel Cheese. I really should have filmed the cheese when you pick one up. But you're probably more interested in how it tasted. Well, take the crunchiness, the tender chicken, the gooey cheese and what you got is utter yumz. Did I mention I love cheese katsu?

$15 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Teba no Karaage

In my opinion, no izakaya is complete without some chicken wings. Here at Rintaro they come in a lightly crisp coating that's just a tiny bit sweet with full on flavors. The mustard leaves served with them really makes this dish unique. Nicely done.

$12 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Kama Tama Udon

A carbonara udon made with a Riverdog Farm egg yolk with shaved katsuobushi that you mix up before slurping down the noodles. For my friend, this was the finisher for the night and according to him, it was exactly enough.

$12 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Kake Udon

I got the works on this one, spring egg, Tenkasu tempura bits, and Ling cod satsumaage. This was a great way to make sure I was completely full. And full of good stuff I may add.

$10 USD (+$8 for all three add ons)

Ox Impressions: 


The OxPosted June 30, 2017 By the hungry ox


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