There are certain US cities that do well overall in re-creating the authenticity. There are also too many restaurants in the US that have Americanized the cuisine for acceptance or cost reasons. And that changes the experience if you really want that type of cuisine. Sure, there are time you want Americanized Chinese food or Japanese sushi rolls. But for the most part, I look for the real stuff in hopes of re-living my food travel experiences.
Japanese yakitori and izakaya are meals I can have as often as Spanish tapas - which I can eat every day. It's all about taking your time to eat and drink with a variety of food.
I found my new favorite restaurant, which actually opened back in 2008, in the San Francisco Peninsula, and it's as authentic and vibrant as any yakitori restaurant in Japan. And it's just in Los Altos - a town that is predominantly Caucasian, where I grew up occasionally dining on overpriced Americanized Chinese and Japanese meals with my high school friends.
Sumika is a Japanese grill specializing in yakitori. Why trust this place? Because of their reputation. They are also the owners of the ever busy Orenchi Ramen in Santa Clara, and now San Francisco as well. Orenchi's ramen is also on par to some of Japan's better bowls.
In the course of our 5 week stay in the Bay Area, we dined at Sumika at least twice a week. We tried almost everything on the lunch and dinner menus, and it was consistent every time. Aside from their grilled selections, the donburis are also so comforting and remarkable. Plus, they have a good selection of sakes and sochus, as well as draft beers to make the night of eating even more fun.
Just writing about this and looking back at the pictures makes me excited for my next Bay Area visit.
|Fried chicken cartilage|
|Momo (thigh) with spicy sauce|
Braised pork belly
Organic chicken cooked in a special sauce covered by runny eggs over rice
Ground chicken oyako don