Merry Christmas!! I am writing this post in advance so that it gets published right on Christmas eve. Meep and I had our Christmas dinner early (really early) a couple weeks ago at Wakuriya. I have always wanted to dine at Wakuriya but never got the chance (once it was because the reservations we got clashed with our trip to Vancouver, then another time it was a random weekday and I was not up for it – I like nice long dinners to be over the weekend rather than yawn mid way through dinner). Long story short, it has been almost a full year since I have heard of Wakuriya before we finally went.
Although Meep felt pretty good about taking me here as part of my Christmas present, I got to give full credit to SK & A. SK got reservations but A was too sick to dine out and enjoy her birthday dinner so being the awesome friend that she is – she pinged me to see if we were interested in taking their spot. The restaurant only feeds 12 guests per evening, split into two seating so getting reservations can be quite challenging. It involves calling exactly a month in advance and leaving a message, then almost like waiting for results from a raffle – you get a phone call if you got a spot!
The restaurant is really small and fits a dozen diners at a time. I liked how simple and cozy the decor is.
Menu; the menu changes every so often featuring all the seasonal ingredients. There is no ala carte options and the only menu offered ranges from $90 – $95 per person each night.
The meal started off with a nice complimentary refreshing, lightly sweet Asian Pear sake, which I ended up drinking for both of us.
Saisuke- Goma-dofu no an-kake
This was an interesting one, the tofu did not have the safe texture as any store bought soft tofu. It was a tad more gelatinous and had a subtle sesame flavour. The dashi sauce was packful of umami goodness topped with an extremely fresh piece of sea urchin. Almost as good as the best sea urchin we have ever had in San Diego. The urchin was sweet, creamy and firm with a hint of brininess.
Zensai – Assorted appetizers
I am not the largest fan of lotus root but this was delish. I appreciate how each dish was different enough to give us a nice range of flavours as an appetizer.
The salad was delicious! Got us excited for the rest of the dishes. Lightly seasoned with a vinaigrette of some sort that is very citrusy and cut through nicely for this fatty fish. I was not very graceful when I tried to incorporate all the flavours in my dish but noted that each individual element was as good on its own as well as when mixed as a “salad”.
I was impressed with how tender and delicate this duck sushi was. Not the least bit gamey and just a nice tasty bite of duck with a sweet fruity reduction on the top with ginger and spring onions giving it a little bite~
Mushi mono - Snake River Farms American Wagyu chiri mushi
I am not sure I am the largest fan of shabu shabu styled kobe style beef. Everything about the dish was prepared very well and the ponzu sauce was nice with the meat and vegetables. However I would have liked the beef prepared differently. With that said, the preparation was still excellent.
Tsukuri - Chef’s choice sashimi
I love it when they come and tell us what the fish and their origin is (eventhough I am not a 100% but I am pretty sure the red snapper is from Spain and the rest is from Japan). Everything on the plate was extremely fresh but my top contenders were the Otoro and Hotate. I have not had scallops so fresh and seasoned so nicely that it brought out a nice sweetness without any brininess. The otoro was just fatty, meaty and melt in your mouth. How can one not love so much richness.
The tai was ok, not as crisps as I would like but still good. Toro was delicious even for a non tuna lover like myself.
On mono – Alaska gindara no kasu jiru jitate
This is one of Meep’s favourite dishes. The black cod was very soft and literally disintegrated in our mouths. I loved the soup, which was really light yet rich and so flavourful. I found the chewy rice cakes to be strange but Meep liked them. The taro was soft and delicious while the vege added a nice texture to the dish as a whole..
Simple refreshing palate cleanser that definitely did its job. Citrusy and tangy.
Yaki mono/Broiled dish – Lobster no saikyo-miso yaki
One of my favourite dish of the night. Not because I am a huge lobster fan but I appreciate how the dish was prepared. Each diner received half a lobster (including the claw that is shelled and stuffed back into the head), topped with a couple variety of Japanese mushrooms and Japanese miso – grilled to give it a nice char flavour. The miso sauce was creamy, sweet and salty – balancing out the sweet lobster (which was grilled really well). It was a generous dish and I loved it!
Gohan mono/Rice Dish (There are are choices for these and we picked one each so we could try them both).
Bincho maguro donburi
Tuna was really fresh and was great and I appreciate the freshly grated wasabi. The rice was way overcooked and a little mushy but that didn’t bother us much.
The snapper is lightly cooked from the hot dashi broth that is light but delicious – with hints of kelp and fish. The pickled vegetables on the side was a nice contrast to the flavourful soup.
Dessert was pretty good. The creme brulee was more like a pudding since it is more liquid. I did enjoy the matcha puff candy but though the dried persimmon and mascarpone a tad disappointing. Not the best way to end a meal but not to shabby either.
Yuzu Omoi $7 – Citrus Sake
Kome Kome Shu $7 – Riesling Style Rice Sake
All the sakes that I tried were refreshing, fruity but not too sweet. I am not a huge fan of sake but I do like fruity alcohol (Rieslings, Ciders and Cocktails). They offer a flight of the sweeter fruity sakes, which I didn’t think of trying but should have because it is a great deal. The other two I ordered and the complimentary sake was great with our meal and can be quite dangerous because they tasted so good I drank more than I usually do during out dinners.
Total Damage: $274 (including tax and tip)
Personal Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Excellent)
I can’t believe we were kind of hesitant to take the reservations (and only did because the husband realised he didn’t think about getting me a gift this Christmas and decided to see if he could get away with taking me to a nice dinner instead). I guess it doesn’t matter how it happened but the fact is that – we loved our dining experience at Wakuriya.
The food was excellent. There were a couple dishes I was not crazy about, but even those were tasty (just a matter of personal taste). Quality was definitely top notched and the ingredients shone in all the dishes we tried. Although pricey, I felt like it was worth every penny.
Service was excellent. The only server, Mayumi (wife of the chef – Katsuhiro) was great! Very gracious and made sure our every need was met. She constantly checked back to see if I was cold (our seats were next to the door). I appreciate that every dish served included a nice description of what we were eating eventhough we had a copy of the menu on our table.
All in all – great Christmas dinner and an excellent spot for nice dates or celebrations. Note that dinner takes over 2.5 hours so make sure you have good company~ Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
115 De Anza Bvd
San Mateo, CA