25 2018 Jan

Two Visits to Maruyama

San FranciscoTagged food, japanese, omakase, san mateo

Within a week I’ve been to Maruyama twice. It’s not only because I am addicted to sushi (well maybe), it’s because my camera ran out of batteries on my first visit. And what’s the best thing that can happen when you try a place a second time? Well, when things get better. Though I have to admit, repeating the same place in this short time frame was far from normal. I blame it on my friend’s Instagram feed. Her Maruyama visit looked much better than my first go at this place. So what’s hungry little ox suppose to do? Go eat again, that’s what. And this time I’m bringing a fully charged camera and sitting at the bar. Bring it!

So this place opened shop in the sleepy part of downtown San Mateo. It’s literally like one block away from the Caltrain station. But you would usually walk the other way for food. This would be a discovery if you happen to walk their way on your way home. Sorta like what I did. I watched them slowly open. Few days here. A few days there. Then before you knew it, they were ready for regular hours. I actually visited them several months back and decided not to write anything until now. Now that everything seems to be falling into place for them.

I’ll focus on my latest visit for this write up.

I sat at the bar and ordered the omakase for $39 USD. Yep, you are reading that correctly, for under $40 USD you get 8 pieces of nigiri and a castella tomago. It’s a great deal especially when you consider level of quality. And don’t worry, when that may not feel like enough, you can always order more. They have daily specials that seem to rotate based on the kinds of seafood brought in. I am going to order off that menu more often.

Sitting at the bar, the chef was very attentive. He made sure I was well informed on each piece and I can tell he took great pride over his creations. This was great. Very different from the first chef I interacted with which seemed less personable. I wish I got the name of this one, the one I enjoyed, both in company and in his creations. There’s some growing pains, like forgetting my miso soup which was so good the first time around (the one with the clams!). But I’m sure they’ll iron that out with the wait staff. The whole meal was great and the fish was so good, I had decided to order a chirashi bowl. I hope they took no offense, because I was completely happy and left wobbling out the door. It was all worth it.


279 Baldwin Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
+1 (650) 315-2945

Verdict: Give it a few more months and I’d so recommend this place.

Seared A5 Wagyu Carpaccio

We didn't taste the sear in this one, but it was cut very finely. Maybe this was as seared as it could get or maybe the sauce got the upper hand this round. Not sure. We still enjoyed it.

$22 USD

Ox Impressions: 


Kicking off the omakase was sea bream with a brush of nikiri covering a little shiso leaf. That fresh kick of shiso is always a delight.

Ox Impressions: 


Torched barracuda topped with sea salt. It's good. But maybe the notoriety was starting to wear off on me. It was very exciting the first time I had it.

Ox Impressions: 


This was a first. Having cooked abalone nigiri. I usually have itraw and in sashimi form. This was interesting and I'd put it right by anago. Good, but just not something I'd order specifically.

Ox Impressions: 


As I probably mentioned before, horse mackerel is my favorite of all the mackerels for sushi. This was prepared just right.

Ox Impressions: 


My favorite of the night. Not only am I a fan of golden eye snapper. But here it's torched and seasoned with a little citrus salt. I want to say yuzu salt, but it was very subtle. Nicely done.

Ox Impressions: 


I'll always say it. It's not always easy to find this fish served outside Japan. And I'm very happy to see it as part of the omakase here.

Ox Impressions: 


This was interesting, slightly seared amberjack topped with miso. Not sure how I feel about it partially cooked when I'm such a fan of it raw. Maybe this stayed under the heat a bit too long. Still, it was good and unique with the miso.

Ox Impressions: 

Anago and Castella Tamago

Final round was the freshwater eel and the sweet castella egg cake. Yeah, eight pieces should have been good enough for me. But since the fish was really good today, it was time to order one more thing.

Ox Impressions: 

Mini Hokkaido Don

Seeing this on the special for today, I had to try it, a rice bowl of salmon, scallop, ikura, and crab. All was good though I wasn't expecting the crab to be in mayo form. Oh well, what a way to top off my meal. I was a happy little ox by the end of the night.

$28 USD

Ox Impressions: 

The OxPosted January 25, 2018 by the hungry ox

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