Another S&A recommendation! I have to say, it definitely kicks a** to have friends who eat out 3-5 times a week (they both work lots and don’t really cook). Being an elite yelper (with over 600 reviews), A always has “new” places for our dinner dates~
She brought up this place about 6 mths ago but we always ended up eating someplace else. To be honest, when she mentioned yakitori to me, I was prepared to be underwhelmed. I mean, how exciting can meat on sticks be? And at an average $4/stick? really? But…. at the end of the night I have to say, I was SOLD!
Sumika is located in a plaza in Los Gatos (kinda odd neighbourhood, very dark and quiet).
Oh, and most of the food pics are of A’s iphone camera (which takes better pics than my camera. sad but true).
When we walked in, you can see right into their small kitchen and two chefs flipping meats on the charcoal grill.
I liked that the restaurant was brightly lit and had a nice casual vibe. I was worried about smelling like grilled meats when we left, but it actually wasn’t too bad.
The menu is fairly extensive, about 5 pages long and a separate dessert menu.
I started with a nice cold beer (you got to have beer with grilled meats. :))
Asahi medium draft $6
We ordered a good number of items:
Sumika Salad (large) $9.50
Chicken breasts, cabbage, mizuna leaves, cherry tomato, wontons with peanut oil dressing
I have to say – this is more a coleslaw than a traditional green “salad”. The dressing was extremely nutty and had a nice wasabi kick to it. Crowd favourite salad, which is great feat because all 4 of us don’t like our vegetables.
Oyako Don $12
2 orders of Chicken thigh & egg over rice. 1 per couple which was just the perfect amount. It is not very big a serving for $12 but man… this was TASTY!
The chicken chunks were smoky, juicy; and the egg was barely cooked and runny. Over rice, with some extra sauce. Best dish of the night. I would pay $12 for this anytime anyday.
(avoid if you are queasy about eating egg whites that still look raw/clear and very very runny)
Kurage Sashimi $6
I ordered this out of pure curiousity. I was expected a slimy jellyfish (like the type that you find dead on beaches) but this was more crunchy and very similar to chewing chicken cartilage (I only say this because we did order chicken cartilage).
Meep said it tasted like soap, I found it just a tad perfume-y yet tasteless (don’t ask me how)
Kawa $3.80 (bottom of pic)
3 orders of chicken skin. I found this kinda odd, it was crispy at the edges but very very chewy in the middle AND even chewier the cooler it got. Personally, not a fan but A loves them.
3 orders of Chicken cartilage on the top – I kept teasing A about this being the most expensive cartilage a person could order. It honestly doesn’t taste like anything (not even smoky like the other sticks).
2 orders of Pork cheek (aka Pig Face to S) – One of the best “meat on sticks”, I have tasted. The pork was surprisingly tender, fatty and full of flavour. I would say almost as better as chinese roast pork because it is more “pure” tasting.
Momo (spicy) $3.50
8 orders of the chicken thigh. When A was ordering, I thought she was crazy when she said 8! But after eating one, and another, and another; I realised what a smart woman she is.
We got our spicy mayo on the side (because we forgot to ask for the spicy version while ordering). S kept saying this was so good, and I didn’t know what to expect. When I took my first bite, S is right on the money; it IS good!
I don’t think chicken thighs on a stick could taste that good (esp when it is so simply prepared). Perfectly cooked and the smokiness from the grill made it even better.
Yaki Onigiri $4
I just took a bite of this – I have not much to say since it is just a rice ball~
Total damage $148 (including drinks, tax & tip)
Personal rating – 4.25 out of 5 (Great!)
^o^ If I tried more items, I might be rate it higher but overall; in terms of food and service it was a solid 4.
The servers were quite inefficient. Even with empty tables, we waiting for a while before we got seated and a number of the tables remained un-bussed. After we sat down, we had a good 10 – 15 minutes to chat over the menu before anyone came and got our drink orders. That being said, the food came out pretty fast AND they provide nice hot towels before the meal – nice touch
Food was definitely above average, some items were awesome and some I would say, depends on an individual’s “personal taste”.
As for value for money: for what we paid – we got 16 skewers, 2 rice bowls, 1 huge salad, 2 cokes and a beer – I would say this place costs a little more than the average yakitori restaurant BUT it is well worth it.
Definitely worth repeat visits. I got to try the seafood yakitoris and desserts for a more “complete” review.
Revisited review here.
236 Central Plaza
Los Altos, CA 94022
(650) 917 1822