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Category Archives: Japanese

by Morris

Ask anyone from the East Bay where you can get the best Japanese food in the area, and chances are Kirala will come to mind. It’s easy to walk past Kirala and not notice it since it doesn’t have a decent signboard and the entrance is rather concealed. Nonetheless, once you enter, you’ll most likely see a huge crowd of a mix of locals, some college students and many Japanese (this often makes me wonder where do they all come from). And truly, the telltale sign for good ethnic restaurant is people of the same ethnicity patronizing it. Here, you get quality service by Japanese waitresses who are quick to respond to your orders. A minimum spending of $10 on sushi will also get you sitting by the sushi bar where you get to admire the art of sushi making by Japanese chefs.

From tempura to sushi, authentic Japanese ryori can’t possibly go wrong here. The katsu don, which is not at all oily and has a hearty layer of fried onions on top of the rice, brings back traveling memories in Tokyo. The soba is excellent and refreshing as well. Though of course, no soba I’ve tried so far can better Shimbashi Soba in the basement of Orchard Paragon (I’ll leave this to Bobby to review).This review is actually pretty lacking in the actual review department but I’m lazy and so I shall let pictures speak for themselves.

Tempura with soba.

Katsu-don.

Seafood tempura combo.

Kirala, 2100 Ward Street, Berkeley

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by Bobby 

I am a huge fan of japanese food and nothing gets me going better than really fresh sashimi. Other than the distinct awful fishy smell that unfresh raw fish has, the non-biteable texture of the fish sets it apart from really fresh sashimi. In my opinion, good sashimi shd be served cold (of course!), almost tasteless in the mouth, and really easy to bite through. Once you start chewing on it, it should have an almost melt-in-the-mouth texture.

Anyway Matsuo Sushi, located off novena square, is a nice little japanese restaurant that has an authentic japanese decor to it. The restaurant sits about 30 people, 10 at the counter and 20 at the tables arranged with in the rather small but cosy interior.

Matsuo Sushi

I tried the sashimi set which cost $20 (works out to be around $24 after GST and service charges) at the recommendation of a friend who has been there before. And yes i wasn’t disappointed. The servings appeared small at first but i found out later that it was just enough to make me almost full, or rather nicely full.

The set consisted of an appetizer (potato salad with an interesting topping which i cant decide what it was. i shall go with mashed chestnuts), miso soup (in which were tofu dices, rather large yam bits that were deliciously half-mushy and a prawn head) and the sashimi dish which included thick slices of fresh salmon that was delightfully marbled, tuna, octopus and swordfish. mostly the usual deal u get at any other japanese restaurant. special note should be given to the fresh scallop that was included. It was sweet and succulent, and it left me wanting more of it.

Sashimi

Overall the restaurant gets a 3.5 out of 5 stars on my scale. The servings could have been more generous even though i was nicely satisfied after lunch and the service could have been better. I had to ask them twice to refill my tea. but in all, the food was definitely delicious.

Matsuo Sushi#01-07 1 Goldhill PlazaTel: 63562603