Wakuriya - Michelin One Star - Worth the trouble of making reservation?

Yesterday, I had my second visit to Wakuriya, the one michelin start kaiseki restaurant in San Mateo. This restaurant has a reputation of difficult to make reservations as they only accept reservations by phone while they are constantly fully booked.

To answer the question: “Is it worth the trouble?”. My short answer is "No."

It’s still a quality meal with reasonable price, given we are in the bay area. However, I can easily think of better easy-to-book kaiseki options around here, not to mention if you are willing to take a quick trip to LA, which has much better quality and quantity of japanese restaurants.

Here are the reasons in details:

  1. Food

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Snake River farms USA “wagyu” Kobe beef with soft-steam egg, mushroom and “karashi shoyu” (mustard soy sauce)

Why on earth would anyone serve wagyu, lobster or any other delicacy with a hot cocotte…that is no better than having a medium rare steak on a cast iron sizzling plate…both beef and egg are way over cooked

See replies for the picture. Can’t post the picture because i’m a new user.
Hiyashi somen to tempra (New Caledonian blue shrimp and okra)

Had this dish from last time as well. I like the somen texture and perfect seasoning of the stock. However, the somen is not house-made and you can find at Japanses market such as Nijiya. And the tempra is nothing special. Maybe a little better than the deep fried oil-soaked stuff you get from a $12 bento.

See replies for the picture. Can’t post the picture because i’m a new user.
Unagi no goma-chazuke, grilled ell and rice in sesame-dashi soup along with picked vegetable

End up being the best dish of the night…But come on, how can you mess up a chazuke. I can make similar ones with my zojirushi rice cooker at home…

  1. Drinks

See replies for the picture.
I love the second bottle that we picked up… but in general…VERY LIMITED SELECTION…they can do better

  1. Service

They do have the quality of traditional kaiseki service, but they are way too under-stuffed. You can’t expect one person to top-off your water, cha, drinks while serving multiple dishes for 20+ guests at the same time…The result is the super long waiting time between dishes and hot dishes tend to be over cooked by the time they serve you, since it has been sitting on the counter for up to 10mins.

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Hiyashi somen to tempra (New Caledonian blue shrimp and okra)

Had this dish from last time as well. I like the somen texture and perfect seasoning of the stock. However, the somen is not house-made and you can find at Japanses market such as Nijiya. And the tempra is nothing special. Maybe a little better than the deep fried oil-soaked stuff you get from a $12 bento.

IMG_7436
Unagi no goma-chazuke, grilled ell and rice in sesame-dashi soup along with picked vegetable

End up being the best dish of the night…But come on, how can you mess up a chazuke. I can make similar ones with my zojirushi rice cooker at home…

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DEWAZAKURA YUKIMANMAN ‘SNOW COUNTRY’ DAIGINJO
Has the complex aroma and flavor from aging five years in snow. Loved it!