Yakitori Koko

We took a chance coming to Yakitori Kokko without reservations. It’s usually filled with people waiting outside. But today, we got out of work early. So we headed there right when they opened to see if they had any seats. Luckily they did. And I have to stress that lucky part. They already had a long list of people for 5pm. Fortunately, it was only the two of us and there was a small table in a narrow area in the back of the restaurant.

There was a catch though. We had the table for an hour. Kinda tough if you wanted to enjoy the izakaya experience. But still doable.

Even though we weren’t seated in the main area, service was quick and attentive. Several of the wait staff were always coming by and making sure our beers were topped and our appetites were satisfied. As soon as we realized it was one skewer per order, we started piling on seconds and thirds. It’s actually a great way to sample their selection and it’s wasn’t too heavy on the wallet being just over two dollars a skewer. We were pigging out and kept the kitchen busy. Probably why they let us stay an extra half an hour beyond our limit. Thanks team Kokko!

Yakitori Kokko
509 2nd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
+1 (650) 401-7008

Verdict: In the mood for yakitori, pay this place a visit. Just make sure to make reservations.


Lunch at Akiko’s Restaurant

What’s for lunch after yesterday’s amazing sushi dinner? Sushi. Yes. It’s sushi time again. However, it’s at another well known establishment, Akiko’s Restaurant. Not to be mistaken for Akiko’s Sushi Bar on Mason. My friends made that mistake and I hear it happens quite often. The Akiko’s I’m talking about sits on Bush near Grant. There’s no sign and occupies a small portion of the corner. Very incognito. You would probably walk right past it if you didn’t happen to peak inside.

The sushi bar is pretty small and there are a handful of tables in the front section of the restaurant. The back however, has a good number. That’s where we were seated. And even though my friends we half an hour late, there was no rush from the staff. My friend and I sat at a table for four and watched the lunch groups come in.

Once everyone arrived and looked over the menu, we ordered. I got the nigiri and tonkatsu set for $20USD while my friends ordered a la carte. I did add an extra helping of the chu-toro to help me decide if I should come back for dinner. I’d say that was the deciding factor for “Yes, I’ll be back.” Overall, food was good and the service was great. It does rank in the better sushi restaurants around town. Now I’ll have to come back and see the chef’s more specialized creations.

Akiko’s Restaurant
431 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108, United States
+1 415-397-3218

Verdict: I recommend it for straight up unadulterated sushi.


First Seating at Saru Sushi

You hear of good sushi places all the time. And if you’re like me, you have a bit of skepticism. But when it came to Saru Sushi, it wasn’t how many people said it was amazing, it was who, plenty of fellow skeptics and food snobs. And after coming here, I get it, it’s good. It’s real good. You have to appreciate the creations and flavors they put together and you’ll fall in love with this place.

We got the fifteen minutes before they opened and already a few people were there with the same idea. First seating. And this was a Tuesday.

Once they opened we were seated right away. They had a couple seats outside and next to the window, but we chose the bar. Meeting the sushi chefs would be a good idea for future visits. The pair next to us already made that connection. And from what I saw, their nigiri omakase set included some very unique courses. As you may have guessed, I’ll have to come back to do the same. Not to say our set wasn’t great. It was and included some unique fish I haven’t had, wild and young. Yeah, we’re still talking about sushi here.

Although each of us got the nigiri tasting, $60USD for 12 kinds, we added a couple of other dishes we read about, the tasting spoons and the himachi truffle. With that and one more round of nigiri, I left fulfilled. I should note that I was starving before dinner and I ate more than I normally do. Not bad filling your belly with high quality food. Great job chefs. Ill see you soon for the advanced course.

Saru Sushi
3856 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
+1 415-400-4510

Verdict: You want to taste some fine sushi, come here and have their sushi omakase.


Double-Take Divisadero

We went back to my old neighborhood when we found out Brenda’s opened a new restaurant. Her famous soul food was no longer just in the Tenderloin, but out on Divisadero with all the other new shops. Man the area sure changed in a year. My only complaint would be why this didn’t happen when I was living around here. Oh wait a minute. My rent would have doubled. Gotta love and hate this living crisis. But onto dinner.

Brenda’s had a fresh new place. Pretty open and I environment. They didn’t try to cram as many tables as possible. Pretty good feeling while we dined. No one was like right next to us. No one to rolled their eyes as I took pictures. That’s good in my book! Even though the place was relatively new, the staff had their act together. They explained the daily specials which we up on the board. I got up to check it out and came back with my selection. Vicky had already got her order together before we even arrived. Ordered and soon our food came out. Pretty good stuff. I wasn’t too happy experimenting and going with the pork chop, but hey, I can’t order the same stuff all the time. And yes, I’ve been to Brenda’s before.

Afterwards we went down the street to Bi Rite, which opened up a couple years ago when I still lived in the area. It’s an organic grocery store which was also popular for it’s ice cream. That’s also the only thing I associate it too. Ice cream. *drool* And great ice cream too. They may not be edgy like Humphrey Slocombe, but they have friggin good flavor combinations. And just so you know, it was cold, in the fifties, and I still enjoyed their ice cream. Does that say enough? I hope so.

Brenda’s Meat & Three
919 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
+1 (415) 926-8657

Verdict: Yes. So glad they have another location. Though I didn’t check if they had their famous beignets.

Bi Rite
550 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
+1 (415) 551-7900

Verdict: Definitely. And one day I’ll buy groceries there.


Swan Oyster Depot

We thought we would be clever to hit Swan Oyster Depot on Monday, a holiday, and right when it opens, at 10:30am. Well, there were plenty of people who thought the same. Preparation got us parked and in line by 10:15, misfortune placed the cut off line for first seating right at us. That sucked. But it only took half an hour before people finished and freed up seats. The run shop quite efficiently here. It’s small inside and looked like a seafood grocer more than a restaurant. In fact, people came by to get their daily morning cuts of fish as we stood there at the door.

Once we got seated, the people there were attentive. You practically get one person tending your meal as they shuffled about behind the counter. What seemed like chaos was actually years of running the place. A unique experience that makes it what it’s famous for, which follows their wonderfully fresh seafood.

Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
+1 (415) 673-1101

Verdict: I do like this place more than the ones in the wharf. It’s small but you’re up close and personal with the people there.

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