Kiraku is one of the hidden gems in the east bay. I hardly ever see it on any best restaurant lists but it’s my favorite restaurant in the Bay Area. The food is creative modern Izakaya. It’s one of the few Bay Area restaurants that is consistently good. I’ve never had a less than stellar meal at Kiraku. The service is always warm, welcoming and complexly unpretentious.
We recently ate here with a visiting chef friend.
Here is what we ate:
TSUMAMI (starter) SAMPLER:
ABURI MENTAIKO Seared Spicy Cod Roe- complex zesty, salty, umami flavors. Excellent
Smoked pickles- perfectly pickled carrot and daikon. A light hint of smoke to enhances the sweetness of the pickles and elevates the dish.
TAKANA (mustard greens) PICKLES – very satisfying tangy bitter flavors. Addicting for a lover of mustard greens like me.
ROCK SHRIMP TEMPURA W/ MAYO Deep Fried Rock Shrimp w/ Mayonnaise. One of my favorite dishes here. A relatively simple dish is perfected and elevated. Easily the best shrimp tempura I have ever eaten.
10 piece Sashimi sampler special. Super fresh high quality sashimi. It’s worth coming here just for the sashimi.
GRILLED BEEF TONGUE skewers. very tender, full of flavor and perfectly grilled
Grilled Unagi skewer special. Served with Sansho powder. The Sansho they use is very high quality. Almost all the sansho I have purchased in the states has been meh. This dish reminded me how much high quality sansho can elevate a dish. The sweetness of the eel was elevated by the numbing Sansho. Out of this world.
Suzuki carpaccio- delicate slices of raw seabass elevated with a dressing of ginger, sesame oil, citrus and Shichimi pepper mix. Always excellent.
Spoons of uni, salmon roe over creamy Yuba skin. A dish that would fit in perfectly at a Michelin Stared restaurant. Easily the best bite in the Bay Area.
We ordered 3 of them.
HOMEMADE GRAPEFRUIT YOGURT ICE CREAM. This has always been my favorite dessert here. I love it. It’s completely unique. It has an interesting rustic texture-not ultra creamy, not super rich and it’s not overly sweet. Bits of grapefruit rind add a satisfying bitter edge. This is a dish that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. The flavors and textures mingle and come together in something unique and deeply satisfying.
Back sesame BLANC-MANGER. Our friend’s favorite of the desserts. Very good.
Frozen cheesecake with marmalade - Cubes of frozen cheesecake with citrus preserves. The cheesecake has a very interesting dry texture. Very unique dish.
The food paired perfectly with a bottle of Sake we ordered.