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A restaurant that fully reflects Japanese “Bath House Culture” opens

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By Elli Sekine

In San Francisco where the restaurant business is becoming more and more diversified, a restaurant facility called “Onsen” that combines a bath house and a restaurant made its debut at the end of last year. This restaurant that took 3 years to build, replicating and beautifully modernizing the traditional Japanese bath house (sentoh), unifying a bar and a restaurant, is the talk of the town for its unique and unprecedented concept in the US.

Sunny Simmons and Caroline Smith, the owners of this restaurant facility are a married couple who love Japan very much. Among many Japanese cultures, they have been particularly charmed by hot springs and bath houses. They wanted to spread the “Japanese bath house culture”, the true essence of relaxation, to the US, and opened this facility. The place looks like nothing but a restaurant if you only look at the entrance, but as you go deeper inside the space, a new world opens up. You can use their bath or the spa facility alone, or the bar and the restaurant space also individually. In San Francisco, where there are many people who love Japanese culture, people are talking highly about the experience that they can truly enjoy through having drinks and healthy Japanese dishes after soaking themselves in the Japanese bath.

The Tenderloin District in the west of downtown, where this facility is located, used to be unstable with public safety, and had a far from trendy image, but stylish bars and restaurants are slowly coming to the area in recent years. The Onsen’s sophisticated look has definitely refreshed the surrounding scenery. The owner/architecture designer Sunny explains why this location was chosen. “This redbrick building inspired my designer spirit to create an ideal facility.” The building is deep inside, and the space was suitable for building a bath house. It is not very close to the nearby train station, and there is not much foot traffic either, but it is close enough from the downtown area, so tourists come by Uber from hotels, and many neighboring people also come. A parking lot is also available across the street. For the Americans who love to experience Japanese culture, this is an innovative facility where they can enjoy having meals while visiting a spa or a yoga studio-like place instead of going to equivalent facilities in hotels.

Its modern Japanese-flavored interior space designed by Sunny draws your attention immediately after entering. The artistic space themed with an old Japanese-style house is full of old household tools such as an old fire place and an accompanying hanging hook, a tea ceremony set, a traditional iron kettle, etc. You can sense his love of Japan. When you walk deeper into the space, you reach the entrance of the “Sentoh (bath house)”, his masterpiece.

There is a long quaint corridor, and you see a massage service room, a tatami banquet room, and a locker room on the way to the entrance door. You find comfortable cotton robes made in Japan in the locker room for you to change into to go to the bath house. The sophisticated looking elegant bath house has a high ceiling from where the sunlight comes in, a lot of green plants cascading from the walls, and is creating a beautiful contrast with the settling red bricks. You can spend very relaxed happy moments going into the steam room, dry sauna, etc. in the facility equipped with a shower room and TOTO-brand toilets.

The dining room is rather small with a counter bar, 4 tables and 16 seats, but they have an extensive drink menu with cocktails, beers, wine, and sake. For health-conscious customers, there is a rich collection of teas including konbu tea, herb tea, Pu-erh tea, matcha, and even gyokuro tea. Their new-age Japanese dishes are created by Chef George Meza who has worked at high-end Japanese restaurants like “Ame” and “Terra”. His dishes are creative using Californian ingredients while retaining the standard skills, lightly-flavored, yet satisfyingly rich. The beautiful presentation of the dishes using herbs is highly acclaimed as well.

The popular dishes include “Mushroom dumplings” ($16) cooked in dried bonito-base dashi, citrus, and oil, served with beautifully decorated local vegetables, 5 kinds of juicy yakitori with vegetable skewers, and ginger-base dashi udon noodles with spicy miso ($13). Each dish is made small in quantity suitable to accompany sake and beer drinking.

There are plenty of spas in San Francisco, and as the pioneers of Japanese style bath houses out of highend hotels, there are “Kabuki Spa”, etc. However, “Onsen” is the only place that is combined with a restaurant, and started to attract the attention of curious restaurant side clientele who don’t know what the bath house is. On the other hand, at American homes, installing of Japanese style bath tubs and washlets are slowly but steadily increasing. I hope that the Japanese bath culture that provides ultimate relaxation will spread, triggered by this debut of “Onsen” restaurant.


日本食レストランの多様化が進むサンフランシスコで、「Onsen」という名前のお風呂+レストラン施設が去年の暮れ登場した。3 年の工事期間を経てオープンした同店は、日本の伝統文化である“ 銭湯” を美しくモダンに再現し、バーとレストランを融合させた全米でも類を見ない新しいコンセプトで話題を呼んでいる。



店内に入った瞬間惹きつけられるインテリアは、サニー 氏がデザインしたモダンな和テイスト空間。古民家を意識した空間美術は、囲炉裏に付随する火棚吊り棒や茶道具、伝統的な鉄瓶などの古民具が散りばめられ、彼のセンスと日本への愛情が感じられる。奥に進むと彼のマスターピースとなる“ 銭湯” への入り口がある。そのドアまで続く風情がある長い廊下には、鍼やマッサージのサービスが受けれる個室、宴会ができる畳の個室がある。風呂場の前にあるロッカールームには、着心地の良い日本製の綿浴衣が常備され、それを着て風呂場に入る。洗練された優雅な雰囲気の風呂場は、高い天井から陽光が差し込み、緑が滝のように垂れ、落ちついた赤煉瓦とのコントラストが美しい。スティームルーム、ドライサウナの他、シャワールーム、TOTO製トイレが設備され、快適でリラックスした至福の時が過ごせる。

ダイニングルームはカウンターバー7席と 4テーブル14 席とこじんまりしている。しかしドリンクメニューは、カクテル、ビール、ワイン、酒と健康志向のメニューにはコンブ茶、ハーブティーからプアティー、抹茶、玉露までを揃えている。新感覚の日本食を担うのは、元高級日本食レストラン「Ame」や「Terra」での経験を持つシェフ、ジョージ・メザ氏。彼の独創的な料理は、基本を保ちながらもカリフォルニアの食材を用いライトなのに味がしっかりして食べ応えがある。緑のハーブを添えた美しいプレゼンも定評がある。人気は、鰹節でとった出汁に酸味やオイルを加え、地元の野菜を彩りよく添えたマッシュルームダンプリング($16)、野菜を含めた5種類のジューシーな焼き鳥、ジンジャー出汁のうどん辛味噌添え($13)など。お酒やビールに合う小さなメニュー構成だ。

サンフランシスコには現在スパ施設は多いが、高級ホテル外で、日本的な風呂施設の先駆けとして「Kabuki Spa」などがある。しかしレストランを併設する「Onsen」は随一で、風呂を知らない人もレストランを訪れた際興味を持ち始めている。「Onsen」の登場が引き金となり究極の安らぎを与える風呂文化の普及に期待したい。

466 Eddy St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 441-4987

Mon, Wed 3:30pm-10:00pm
Thu 11:00am-10:00pm
Fri 12:00pm-11:00pm
Sat, Sun 10:30 am-11:00pm

Wed-Thur 5:30pm-9:30pm
Fri-Sun 5:30pm-10:00pm
Mon-Tue closed
#Japanese #alljapannews #bath #onsen #sanfrancisco #spa

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New taste of mom’s cooking you can enjoy in a home-made café

New taste of mo... New taste of mo... New taste of mo... New taste of mo... New taste of mo... New taste of mo...
by Eri Shimizu Editing: Elli Sekine

Lately, the Mission District is gathering a lot of attention as a typical fashionable back street of San Francisco, and also as an icon of street arts and gourmet foods. The area used to be lacking inpublic safety, but now has transformed into an area where many young Silicon Valley Tech people and artists like to live, and trendy people are attracted to. As for the dining scene of the area, organic restaurants, high-end sushi restaurants, Mexican restaurants, unique bars, etc., are mingled together in the area, creating the epitome of San Francisco as the multi-cultural city. “Bon Nene” opened its door in this hot area last year with an appearance of a typical back street café of Paris. Its homey appearance with a warm woodsy feel is filled with the passion of the owner. The name, Bon Nene (meaning cute Nene in French), was taken from her beloved dog, Nene, with the hopes that the restaurant would be loved by the local people.

The owner, Ms. Yumi Furuta had a dream of serving the kinds of foods she wants to eat herself, which led her to open this restaurant. The restaurant has an appearance like a French bistro or a café, but on the menu, there are Japanese home-cooking style dishes such as “Hijiki Salad“, ($12), “Natto Gohan” ($8), P-man Itame (pan-fried green pepper)” ($13), etc. The concept of this restaurant is “simple home-cooking”. The “Nene Potstickers”, hand-made signature dishes (original $9, vegetarian $8) which contain ground pork and nappa cabbage or various types of mushrooms in the vegetarian version, have an aromatic crispy layer on top called ha-ne. Ms Furuta says, “Gyoza (potstickeres) is my favorite repertoire, and I like customers to experience the good taste of hand-made home cooking.” The regulars love the “Champignon Pasta” ($13) which consists of thick noodles and nori (cut dried seaweed) as the topping. This sentimental tasting Japanese style pasta dish somewhat reminds you of home. The “Beef Curry” ($13.50) is a typical Japanese home-made curry with big chunks of potatoes and carrots inside. You rarely see restaurants who serve such home cooking in the Bay Area, and it seems that young foodies who are interested in and understand traditional Japanese cuisine find a rarity value in this restaurant.
The weekend-only menu, “Japanese Chosyoku Breakfast”, which started in May was realized by the request from the regulars. This is a typical Japanese ichiju-sansei style (one soup and three vegetable dishes) set breakfast menu that consists of broiled fish, eggs, small vegetable dishes, home-made pickles, and miso soup. There is another typical Japanese style breakfast item (known as the “Morning set” amongst Japanese) which consists of a thick-cut slice of toast served with red bean jam, a sunny-side up egg, and salad. The popular drink is the home-made ginger ale ($4.50). This home-made drink with fresh ginger and spices has a mature taste. The only Japanese sake they carry is the non-filtered unpasteurised Kakeya Junmai ginjo in a stylish bottle. As for the selection of beers, there are the following: Frozen Beer that creates very fine bubbles ($7), Sapporo Draft ($7), and Kawabe wheat and amber bottled beers ($9).

Ms. Furuta told me that she had an eye on this area for her own restaurant for a while. She used to come to this favorite area on her days off often to visit nearby restaurants and cafés. During that time, she came across a space for the current restaurant. The small space of about 1,000 sqft seemed ideal to create a homey ambience. Everything from the interior, dishes, to the menu book is well-crafted. She made curtains and cloth napkins herself, and the uniquely shaped menu book was made by an architect friend from carved wood. Originally, Ms. Furuta came to the US to enter a school of photography. She is using the interior walls as the exhibition spaces, and changes the artwork every 2 weeks to support young artists.

I asked Ms. Furuta which area she found most difficult as a first-time restaurateur. She said that the training for the kitchen staff was the most challenging part. Most of the staff had near-zero experience in working for Japanese restaurants, and they were not familiar with Japanese cuisine. She had to teach them the real basics such as how to make dashi, how to prepare rice for cooking, etc. To replicate the Japanese tastes we are so familiar with was entirely a first experience for them. Even now, she still cooks hijiki for the Hijiki Salad herself. However, the number of customers is gradually increasing. She says, “I would like to keep evolving the menu to respond to the growing customers’ needs.” I truly wish for the success of the future growth of this restaurant, and hope that Japanese home-cooking will take root in the US food culture.


近年おしゃれな裏通りの代表、ストリートアート、グルメのアイコンとして注目されるミッション地区。以前は治安が悪いエリアだったが、現在ではシリコンバレーのテック企業に勤める若者やアーティストなどが多く住み、流行に敏感な人々を惹きつける地域へと変貌を遂げた。ダイニングシーンにおいても、オーガニックレストランや高級寿司店、メキシカンレストラン、個性的なバーなどが混在し、まさに多文化シティサンフランシスコの縮図のようなエリアだ。そのホットなエリアに去年登場したのがパリの路地裏カフェを思わせる店構えの「Bon nene」だ。木の温もりを感じるアットホームな店にはオーナーのこだわりが詰まっている。店名の「Bon」はフランス語で「可愛い」という意味。「nene」はオーナーの愛犬の名前。地元に愛される店にしたいとの思いで付けられた。

オーナーの古田みゆ氏は長年サンフランシスコのフレンチビストロでフロアマネージャーを務めていたが、自分が食べたい料理を出したいという夢を抱き、この店をオープンした。一見、フレンチビストロかカフェのようだが、メニューには「hijiki salad」($12) や「nattogohan 」($8)、「p-man itame」($13) など日本の家庭の味が並ぶ。同店のコンセプトは「シンプルな母の味」。看板料理の焼き餃子「nene potsticker」(original$9, vegetarian $8) は手作りで、豚ひき肉と白菜、ベジタリアンメニューでは数種のきのこを使っており、パリパリとした「羽根」が香ばしい。「餃子は得意料理なので、手作りの美味しさを楽しんで欲しい」と古田氏。常連客に人気なのは椎茸やしめじ、エノキなどをたっぷり使った「champignion pasta」($13)で、太めの麺に海苔がトッピングされた、どこか懐かしい味わいの和風パスタだ。

「beef curry」($13.5) は大きめにカットされたジャガイモや人参が入ったホームスタイルカレーだ。ベイエリアでこのような家庭料理を出す店は少なく、伝統的な和食への興味と理解を持つフーディーな若者が同店の希少価値を見出しているようだ。

5 月から始めた週末のみの和朝食「japanese chosyoku breakfast」は、常連客からのリクエストにより実現した。朝ごはんの定番、焼き魚に卵、野菜小鉢、自家製の漬物に味噌汁の一汁三菜がセットになっている。他には厚切りトーストに小豆ジャム、目玉焼きやサラダなどがワンプレートになった日本の「モーニング」の定番がある。ドリンクで人気なのは自家製のジンジャーエール($4.5)。フレッシュの生姜にスパイスが効いた大人の味だ。日本酒はスタイリッシュなボトルの無濾過生原酒KAKEYA 純米吟醸一種のみ。ビールはきめ細かい泡のフローズンビアー($7) やサッポロドラフト($7)、ボトルではKawabe Beer のWheat とAmber($9) を揃えている。

古田氏は自分の店を出すならこのエリアとまず決めていたという。近隣のレストランやカフェが好きで休日にはよく通っていた。そんな中、出会ったのが現在の物件だ。1,000 スクエアフィートほどの小さなスペースは家庭的な雰囲気を出すには理想的だった。インテリアから器、メニューブックまでクラフト感溢れる。カーテンや布ナプキンは自ら手作りし、ユニークな形のメニューブックは友人の建築家に頼んで木材削って作ってもらった。もともと古田氏の渡米のきっかけが写真学校への留学だった経歴から、店内の壁を展示スペースとして提供し、2週間ごとに異なるアート作品を展示し若手アーティストを支援している。


Bon nene
2850 21st street, san francisco, california
(415) 872-9332
Lunch:Tuesday – Friday 11:30am– 2:00pm
Saturday – Sunday 10am – 2:30pm
Dinner :Tuesday – Saturday 6:00pm – 9:30pm
#Japanese #alljapannews #bobnene #cafe #curry #morning #sanfrancisco

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New challenge of Long-lasting restaurant, "Sushi Ran", borderless cuisine between Californian and Japanese makes a debut in SF!

New challenge of Long-lasting ... New challenge of Long-lasting ... New challenge of Long-lasting ... New challenge of Long-lasting ... New challenge of Long-lasting ... New challenge of Long-lasting ... New challenge of Long-lasting ...
By Eri Shimizu / Editing Elli Sekine

Mr. Yoshimori Tomé, the owner of a long-lasting sushi restaurant called “Sushi Ran”, who established the base of the high-end Japanese cuisine in Sausalito, began a new challenge this time in the Castro district where unique concept bars and restaurants are gathered. “Nomica” which opened last fall is completely different from any other Japanese restaurants, and is a borderless cuisine restaurant. Nomica” was named using the names of the local area (Noe Mission Castro), and intentionally or coincidently sounds like a Japanese word “Nomiya” which means a drinking place. Various types of Japanese liquor (awamori, sake, etc.)-based cocktails are served at the wide and deep bar counter, and at the tables, the unique dishes created by Hiroo Nagahara, the new and powerful executive chef, entertain taste buds of local foodies every night.

“Sushi Ran” has been running for more than 30 years in Sausalito, and highly claimed by various media such as San Francisco Chronicle and Wall Street Journal. Other top-class restaurants such as “Kusakabe” and “Ju-Ni” were opened later one by one by the chefs who worked for Sushi Ran, and people talk a lot about them because some even gained Michelin stars.

Mr. Tomé intentionally chose neither sushi nor Japanese cuisine as the concept for the second restaurant. It is because he wanted to convey the goodness of top-notch Japanese ingredients by changing the typical images for Japanese food which are still sushi and ramen. In front of the restaurant, a smooth natural stone sits like a symbol, and beautiful seasonal flowers arranged by the owner himself add more Japanese hospitality to the California like space with a lot of warm green trees. As you enter the space, on your immediate right you see a bar from where awamori and sake containers attract your attention, and a dining space on your left.

Although both of his parents are Japanese, Mr. Nagahara has been spending a half of every year in the United States ever since he was a child. He decided to become a cook while he was working part-time for a sushi restaurant when he was still going to school. He was involved in the launch of a Las Vegas restaurant under a celebrity chef called Charlie Trotter, and then brushed up his skills by working for several Michelin-star awarded restaurants including “Ishikawa” in Tokyo. He also has extensive experiences including working as restaurant consultant and running a food truck business. His dishes are creative using rich and delicious local ingredients, and enhanced by traditional Japanese condiments and chef’s experiences. “Shigoku Oysters” ($13) is a combination of fluffy high-quality oysters and kanzuri seaweed granité. Creamy oysters are enriched by deep umami sauce and fragrant granité. “Agedashi Tofu” ($17) which is house-made tofu made with soy beans from Japan, and wrapped with yuba has a good solid texture. “Seared Seabass” ($28) is perfectly seared, and leaves a strong impression with ikasumi, hijiki, and black shichimi sauce. Japanese ingredients are used brilliantly in the western techniques which accentuate texture and bring out spices and fragrance. Their signature dish since the opening is “Whole Chicken in Brioche” ($100), which is a whole chicken wrapped in a brioche, and baked. After marinating for 24 hours in shio koji, the chicken is cooked with low heat for 14 hours wrapped in miso butter. It is a unique dish which takes many steps and time to prepare. Another popular dish which customers order often is “Chicken & Waffle” ($24), in which southern fried chickens and waffles are interpreted in Nomica way.

At the bar, a cocktail specialist called a mixsologist makes creative drinks for you. There, you can enjoy Japanese style cocktails such as “Sutro’s Onsen” (martini arranged with hinoki-flavored gin, dry vermouth, olive oil), and “The Floating World” ($12) (awamori-based cocktail with chrysanthemum fragrance), as well as western style cocktails such as “Papa Nambu” ($12) (awamori-based arranged drinks with lemon and sage). There always carry more than 40 different brands of sake, and they are labeled with sweet, fragrant, vibrant, light, expressive, fresh, etc. to make it easy to understand for customers who are not familiar with sake.

For desserts, I want to recommend “Fuji Apple” ($12), which is shiso-flavored ice cream combined with fresh apple sorbet and apple chips, and “Coconut Parfait” ($12). I would like you to try this fresh coconut sorbet under light and fluffy café lime flavored foamy stuff.

The new challenge of the owner who has been leading San Francisco and Bay Area’s sushi scene for a long time has just begun. I cannot take my eyes off of the future of Nomica.

老舗「Sushi Ran」の新たな挑戦、カリフォルニアと和のボーダレス料理がSFに登場!



シェフ、長原氏は、両親ともに日本人ながら、子供の頃から一年の半分はアメリカで過ごしてきた。学生時代にアルバイトをしていた寿司店で料理人になることを決意する。セレブリティシェフ、チャーリー・トロッターの元でラスベガス店の立ち上げに関わり、その後は東京の「石かわ」を初め、数々のミシュラン星レストランで腕を磨いてきた。レストランコンサルやフードトラックビジネスにも関わるなど、ビジネスでの経験値も高い。メニューの特徴は、長原氏による地元の豊かな食材のおいしさを日本伝統の調味料とシェフの経験によって高めた創作料理。ふっくらとした至極オイスターにかんずりと海藻のグラニテを合わせた「Shigoku Oysters」($13)は、牡蠣のクリーミーさを深い旨みのソースと香りの良いグラニテが引き立てる。日本から取り寄せた大豆を使った自家製豆腐を湯葉で包んだ「Agedashi tofu」($17)は、豆腐にもしっかり食べ応えがある。うろこ付きのまま香ばしくソテーしたスズキ「seard seabass」($28)は絶妙な火の通し加減で、イカスミやひじき、黒七味のソースが印象的。和食材を使いながらも食感のアクセントのつけ方やスパイスと香りを引き立てる西洋テクニックが光る。シグニチャーは、開店当初からの名物料理は丸鶏をブリオブリオッシュで包んで焼き上げた「whole chicken in brioch」($100)。鶏を塩麹で24時間マリネしたのち、14時間低温で調理、味噌バターを詰めて包み焼きにするという、独創的かつ手間のかかる一品だ。また多くの客が注文するのは南部のフライドチキンとワッフルをNomica風に解釈した「chickne & waffle」($24)も人気。

一方、バーでではミクソロジストと呼ばれるカクテルのスペシャリストが独創的なドリンクを提供する。マティーニをアレンジした「sutro’s onsen」(ヒノキが香るジンやドライベルムース、オリーブオイルのカクテル)や「the floating world」($12)(菊の香りを移した泡盛ベースのカクテル)など、和の香りのカクテルから、泡盛をベースにレモンやセージなどを組み合わせた「papa nambu」($12)など洋のフレーバーのカクテルなどが楽しめる。常時40種類近く揃える日本酒は、sweet, fragrant, vibrant や、light, expressive, fresh など説明付きのリストで、日本酒に馴染みのない客にもわかりやすい。

デザートは紫蘇の香りのアイスクリームに爽やかなりんごのソルベやりんごのチップを合わせた「fuji apple」($12)と「coconut parfet」($12)がおすすめ。軽やかで爽やか、ふわっとしたカフェライム風味の泡の下にココナッツソルベは是非試していただきたい一品。


2223 Market Street, San Francisco, CA
Monday - Saturday 5:30 - 11pm
Happy Hour in the lounge 5:30pm - 7pm (rotating drink specials)
#alljapannews #nomica #oysters #sanfrancisco #sushi #yuba

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True Japanese style curry found in a hide-out like place

True Japanese style curry fou... True Japanese style curry fou... True Japanese style curry fou... True Japanese style curry fou... True Japanese style curry fou... True Japanese style curry fou... True Japanese style curry fou...
By Elli Sekine

If you walk through the fashionable Mission District where young people gather, and further through the south big street, you arrive at a low-key district where residential and commercial buildings are mixed together. On one such small street, I found a Japanese restaurant which did not really stand out. The sign says “Japanese curry, ramen, and sushi”, and the menu covers everything you can think of. I almost passed by without stopping because the exterior did not look very appealing; however, I felt something genuine about the “Japanese curry” part, and decided to check it out. There is no consistency in the menu which is filled with various sushi and ramen dishes, but the curry section has 15 different kinds from the regular type to black curry, teppan (iron grill) curry, etc. I did not see any Japanese staff in the front area or in the kitchen, but the curry delivered to my table surprised me with its authentic homemade taste. I felt like I had just found a treasure on an island. In such a quiet looking restaurant in such an isolated area far from the city center, you can still find passion for curry making.

The chef who is in charge of the curry menu is the co-owner/manager, Max Wang, but the recipe is provided by Fumi, a Japanese woman, just as I thought.

Although Fumi-san was the recipe provider and the partner, she does not work at the restaurant. Mr. Wang does everything from running the kitchen to managing the front. I wondered why a Chinese man was able to make true Japanese curry.

Mr. Wang worked at a Japanese restaurant while he was still going to school, and slowly learned the skill of making sushi. He met Fumi-san when he was working at a Hawaiian Japanese restaurant, “Chin’s Sushi Bar” in the financial district.

He tasted Fumi’s curry for the first time then, and became a big fan of delicious Japanese curry. He wanted to learn how to make Japanese curry badly, so he always helped her prepare her curry. During those times, an opportunity to open a restaurant came to him. However, the theme of the restaurant was not curry, but “Sushi” which is easy to appeal to Americans. He took it, and worked as the owner/sushi chef of “Crazy Sushi” for 10 years. After he sold the restaurant, he set his goal for opening that unforgettable Japanese curry restaurant with Fumi. He tried Japanese curry dishes of the Bay area for his research. “Most of them are served either at delis or take-out places. I wanted to open a place where people can enjoy home-style delicious curry in a more relaxed setting,” said Mr. Wang. However, Japanese curry was not well known amongst Americans, and the business did not go well. Until Americans learn to know the true appeal of Japanese curry, he thought it would be better to include sushi and ramen on the menu. They even offered a delivery service. That gave American customers a chance to try curry, and they liked it. One such customer is San Francisco journalist, Chris Kohler. He recommended “Fumi Curry” as his favorite curry restaurant in the Japanese “GQ” magazine.

Their signature curry menu section makes Japanese curry fans excited with its rich contents. Popular items are pork cutlet curry, chicken cutlet curry, and beef curry. Other items include black curry using squid ink, and teppan curry which has eggs on the bottom on an iron plate, then rice, then cutlet and fried shrimp, etc. on top, and curry is poured on top so you eat while everything is still hot. The original recipe of the curry uses spices such as turmeric, cumin, cardamom, chili, and ginger to cook potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables for a long time until all the vegetables no longer hold their shape. In addition, there are other items created by Mr. Wang, with which make this restaurant different, and more unique than other curry restaurants, such as nugget-shaped grated gobo vegan topping, fried crab teppan curry, etc. The curry is well-balanced with the perfect combination of sweetness and sourness, and tastes like home-cooking with richness and umami, yet with a professional quality you cannot easily replicate at home.

Existence of B-class gourmet restaurants are important for San Francisco where the commodity prices are the highest in the nation. The Mission district is only 2 blocks away, and prices are still rising. This restaurant is a hidden gem where you can eat Japanese comfort foods at reasonable prices. The Bernal Heights where “Fumi Curry” is located used to be an area where residents and businesses were mixed together, and a town far from trendy stuff, but it is now changing with an influence of the increase of residents in the IT industry. The old buildings are being modernized, and some tenants are turning them into cafés.

Even in San Francisco, the gourmet city, the typical Japanese foods still mean sushi and ramen, and the main-stream curry is Thai or Indian. The Japanese curry made mainly with vegetables with relatively less oil and spices is lighter and easier to eat, and well-accepted by first-time American curry eaters. Needless to say, curry ranks at the top in home-cooking in Japan. I expect that the number of curry fans will surely rise in the US from now on.



カレーを担当するシェフは、共同経営者兼マネージャーのMax Wang氏。レシピはやはり日本人女性のフミさんによるものだった。しかしフミさんは、レシピ提供者で経営パートナーでありながら店には出ていない。Wang氏がキッチンからフロントまで切り盛りしている。なぜ中国人の同氏が日本カレーを作れるのだろうと疑問に思った。彼は学生時代から日本食レストランで働きながら、少しずつ寿司を握る技術を身につけていった。彼が金融街にあったハワイアンジャパニーズレストラン「Chinʼs Sushi bar」で働いている時にFumiさんに出会った。

その時、彼女が作るカレーをはじめて食し、その美味しさにジャパニーズカレーの大ファンになったという。フミさんのカレーの作り方を覚えたくていつも仕込みを手伝っていた。そのうちレストランをオープンする機会が舞い込んできたが、テーマはカレーではなくアメリカ人にわかりやすい「寿司」。「Crazy Sushi」のオーナー、寿司シェフとして10年経営を続けた。その店舗売却後、あの忘れなれないジャパニーズカレーの出店をフミさんと目指すことになる。ベイエリアのジャパニーズカレーを食べ歩き研究をした。「ほとんどはデリかテイクアウトなので、家庭的な美味しいカレーをゆっくり食べれる店を出したかった」とWang氏。しかし、ジャパニーズカレーはまだアメリカ人には知名度が低く、経営困難をきたした。

「アメリカ人がカレーの魅力を知るまでは」と寿司やラーメンをメニューに追加し、デリバリーも始めた。ラーメンの客がカレーも試す機会もあり、食べたアメリカ人からは好評で少しずつリピーターも増えた。その一人であるサンフランシスコのジャーナリスト、Chiris Kohler氏は、日本の「GQ」マガジンで、一番のお気に入りのカレー店としてFumi Curry」を紹介している。


全米一の物価高といわれるSFでB級グルメは貴重な存在。しかも2ブロック先のミッション地区では値段が高騰しているだけに、ここは日本のコンフォートフードがリーズナブルな料金で食べられる穴場的存在だ。「Fumi Curry」があるバーナルハイツは、トレンドとは程遠い雑居地区だったが、最近IT 関係の住居者が増えている影響で、古い建物がモダンに改装されたり、ビルのテナントがカフェになったり街の様相が変わりつつある。


FUMI Japanese curry
3303 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 757-0901
#Japanese #alljapannews #curry #fumi #sanfrancisco

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Fresh air of Japan Town! Uncompromising “Dashi Ramen”

Fresh air of Ja... Fresh air of Ja... Fresh air of Ja... Fresh air of Ja... Fresh air of Ja... Fresh air of Ja... Fresh air of Ja...
By Elli Sekine

In November of last year, a new style of “wafu” (Japanese) ramen appeared in San Francisco’s Japan Town which is known for the area as one of the hottest battle grounds for the ramen business. Lately, in Japan Town, due to the continuing generation change, the appearance of the town is slowly changing to “Asian-style” rather than Japanese. In such an environment, a long-hoped wish, a strong ambition “to spread traditional Japanese dashi taste to the world”, of the owner, Ikuto Kurihara, came alive. Mr. Kurihara is the fourth CEO of “Sasala” Group, a long-established Japanese restaurant chain, and runs 4 restaurants in Hasuda city, Saitama prefecture. He chose San Francisco as the first overseas branch, the fifth restaurant chain, “Hinodeya”. Their wafu-dashi ramen which may replace the current tonkotsu–base ramen boom has been heating up since the opening. This fourth CEO is like a samurai who challenges the U.S restaurant market with the traditional Japanese taste on the front banner he holds.

Born into a long-established Japanese restaurant environment, Mr. Kurihara went into the cooking world when he was a teenager. He inherited the family business sometime after the year 2000. Since then, he has expanded the business to 4 different themed restaurants, soba, Japanese food, etc. The fourth one, “The Fourth Generation Hinodeya” which served the dashi ramen in the hopes of taking it to the United States, won “The Best Ramen 2014”. The very settled and well-thought concept, rather than an idea of the moment, is bearing fruit in San Francisco.

The signature menu, “Hinodeya Ramen” is the ultimate Japanese taste which Mr. Kurihara created by working so hard on it. I asked him why he chose ramen as the means of spreading the traditional dashi taste, and he answered, “The most familiar Japanese food to Americans currently is ramen. Most of the other ramen shops serve mainly tonkotsu-base soup, but I wanted to serve the Japanese taste I have been acquiring in the form of ramen”. As for the reason for choosing San Francisco as the first overseas location, he said, “I recognize that the melting pot that sends information of the latest trend in foods is here in San Francisco. I believe that cuisine approved in this town shall be approved all over the United States, and eventually by the whole world.” His strategy already depicts 10 years from now.

What does the “Dashi Ramen” taste like? In short, it is delicate and tender with a fragrance of fresh bonito and kombu flavors. This is the ramen of concentrated umami. Unlike the current main-stream ramen flavors that are dominant in the ramen boom such as rich tonkotsu, spice-added, or stimulating flavors with karaage or tonkatsu toppings, it is light with a hint of sweetness. The men (noodles) to match the dashi soup is also different. It is medium-thick like between ramen and udon, and soft, and moist, with a lipid and chewy texture. It is very delicate. The toppings are thinly sliced chashu pork, light-taste boiled egg, etc., which go well with the soup, and also mix easily with the men. Crispy julienne Tokyo negi (leek) accentuates the soup. The spacious counter is decorated with sake bottles, and used as a space for waiting customers.

Chef Shibata from “Sasala” Japanese restaurant in Japan was displaying his skills as the opening chef here. He told me his impression about the ramen boom in the United States; “Preparation starts in the early morning. There is no difference between a ramen restaurant and a Japanese food restaurant. I would like to express true Japanese taste by riding on the same lucky wave of this ramen boom”. In their menu, you see the kind of a-la-carte dishes you find in a long-established Japanese restaurant besides ramen. ”Crispy Fried Yam” ($8) in the Okazu menu, for instance, is slightly crispy in the center, but the surface is fluffy, and the thin skin is still attached. The Chinese yam is fried for a very short time to retain the texture, and served with a fragrant house sesame sauce. A popular dish from the side dish menu is the “Cheese Royal” ($5), which was named after Kiko, Princess Akishino, who loved the marinated cheese dish in the menu when they had a chance to serve the Royal family. There are more original dishes, which the long-established restaurant boasts of, such as tender tebasaki chicken cooked in dashi ($8), nori konnyaku (seaweed yam cake), cooked young bamboo shoot, etc. You can also order omakase-style meals if reserved in advance.

It is almost a miracle that the proud family dashi recipe which has been kept a secret for more than 130 years came to the United States. The beautiful exterior which stands out in the decrepit mall, and the sophisticated interior are designed by specialists. Things of Japanese atmosphere scattered in the interior space, the table ware, and the service produce Japanese style hospitality. This is a restaurant where you can truly feel the spirit of the fourth CEO who hopes to spread “Japanese cuisine”, a chosen intangible cultural heritage, to the world.


ラーメンの激戦区、SF日本町に去年11月、「和風」ラーメンの新星が登場した。近年、日本町では世代交代が相次ぎ、町の様相も“アジア系” に変わりつつある。そんな中、「日本伝統の出汁味を世界に広げたい」という高い志を持つ経営者、栗原生人氏の長年の構想が始動している。栗原氏は、老舗和食店4代目、「彩々楽」(ササラ)グループ代表取締役で、埼玉県蓮田市で4件のレストランを経営している。今回、5件目のオープンが海外1号店が和風ラーメン「Hinodeya」だ。この新店舗は、米国に広がる豚骨中心の中心のブームを一世風靡するような和風出汁味。その新しい味を体験しようと、去年11月のソフトオープンからヒートアップしている。4代目は日本の伝統の味を提げ米国外食市場に挑むサムライのような存在だ。

和食老舗店に生まれた栗原氏は、 10代の頃から料理界に入り、稼業を継いだのは2000年に入ってから。現在まで蕎麦屋から和食店など各テーマを持つ4店舗に拡大している。4店舗目の「四代目ひのでや」は、米国への進出を見込んで出汁ラーメンを提供したところ、「埼玉ベストラーメン2014」を受賞した。単なる思い付きではない、腰を据えての構想は今サンフランシスコで実を結んでいる。
 看板メニュー、「Hinodeya Ramen」は、栗原氏が切磋琢磨して創り上げた和風の極みだ。ラーメンという手段を選んだ理由について、「現在アメリカ人に一番親しまれている日本食がラーメンだった。でも見渡せばほとんどの店は豚骨スープで、私が培った和風味をラーメンという形で賞味して欲しいという思いです」と栗原氏。そして海外1店舗目にサンフランシスコを選んだ理由について、「食トレンドの最新情報発信基地がここにあると認識しました。ここで認められた料理は全米、やがて世界に通用するという展望です」と答えた。その戦略はすでに10年先の構想が描かれている。


オープニングの料理長には、日本の「彩々楽」(ささら)和食店から柴田シェフが腕をふるっていた。アメリカのラーメンブームの印象を同氏は、「このブームにあやかり、本当の和風の味を表現したいと思っています」と答えてくれた。仕込みは早朝から始まる。ラーメン店でありながら和食店と変わりはない。メニューはラーメン以外にも老舗和食店ならではの一品料理が並ぶ。例えばOkazu から「Crispy Fried Yam」($8)は、微妙な食感を中心に残しながらも周りはホクホクして薄い皮もそのまま、柔らかく食感を残す長芋をサッと揚げたものに香ばしい自家製セサミソース付きやおつまみから人気なのは「Cheese Royal」($5)。メニュー名の由来は、食事を天皇家族にお出しした際、紀子様が漬けチーズを非常にお気に召した事から付けられたとか。その他、柔らかく出汁で煮込んだ手羽先($8)や海苔こんにゃく、若竹煮込みなども老舗が誇るオリジナルだ。予約によってはオマカセメニューも用意している。


1737 Buchanan St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 757-0552

Wed-Non 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Sat,Sun 11:30 am - 2:30 pm
Closed on Tuesday
#alljapannews #hinodeya #ramen #sanfrancisco

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Delage Delage Delage Delage Delage Delage
Kappo Omakase-style California fusion restaurant

By Elli Sekine 

In the past few years, the food culture of the Auckland area has been changing dramatically. Along with the rising popularity of the farmer’s market in Jack London Square, the awareness of local production for local consumption is growing, and the chefs from “Chez Panisse” in the neighbor town, Berkeley, where California cuisine was born, started to open restaurants in Auckland one after another. People in the area now talk about gourmet foods all the time, and such a food-business-friendly environment has made young food business entrepreneurs very diverse in their businesses from casual and unique eateries, to food trucks and catering. You can catch a glimpse of the trend in the food culture everywhere in town. The market/food court, “SWAN” was renewed 4 years ago, and became a casual dining food court where some well-known chefs participated in serving their food there, which gathered much attention. It has become one of Auckland’s hot spots nowadays. “Delage” in SWAN is the second restaurant of “AS B-Dama” which has been there since the opening. Although it still has tenant status in the food court, “Delage” opened as an individual restaurant in April of 2016, and is gaining popularity as a casual omakase style restaurant.

The concept by the owner/chef Tsutomu Ono, “Quality & Casual”, has finely seized the local fans. After gaining the experience of working as a chef in the South Bay area for a long time in a Japanese restaurant, Mr. Ono launched a small place for bento and a-la-carte dishes in Auckland called “Geta”.

Later, he achieved success with a bento dine-in place called “B-Dama”, which led to becoming a tenant in “SWAN”, and changed the name to “AS B-Dama”.

Supported by passionate local fans, “Delage” was opened within the same property as an individual restaurant this time. It is the first omakase-style Japanese restaurant run by Japanese in Auckland. The opening of this restaurant which aims for “high-end with the casual ambience of Auckland” attracted a lot of attention with the attendance of Masaki Sasaki who has led two restaurants to their Michelin-star ranks. Moreover, the reasonable pricing at $65 for an upscale 8-course meal cannot be seen anywhere else.

The wood-based interior feels warm and relaxed, and the displayed old vinyl records, cassette tape players, etc. creates a nostalgic ambience. Including some which are rare finds among collectors, a hand-crafted warm feeling in an independent restaurant is presented.

The menu is unique with added Californian and French techniques. The dishes for the day started and continued with California style organic cherry tomato salad, Miyazaki wagyu beef on a salt block, smoked salmon, omakase nigiri-sushi, chilled cauliflower soup, and warm vegetables with sesame-ponzu sauce. The presentation of Californian kappo with the combination of vegetables, duck, other meat, and sushi on the stylish ceramic ware evokes excitement. The concept of local production for local consumption is enforced by the way they buy the food ingredients, from the fish and farmer’s markets by the owner himself as well as for “AS B-Dama”.

“Delage” is now in its second phase. Kaoru Ishii, the sushi chef, and Mikiko Ando, the kitchen chef have succeeded Mr. Sasaki, the opening chef. Mr. Ishii is a veteran chef with 42-years of experience. He has worked in an Italian restaurant, and a robata grill restaurant in Japan, “Matsuhisa” in LA, and “Sushi Ran” in Sausalito. Ms. Ando has worked in San Francisco area restaurants as a sushi chef at “Sushi Chardonnay”, “Yuzu”, and “Delica”. She passionately said that she would love to keep offering a creative menu using a lot of local vegetables.

As for the drink menu, they offer a wide variety of beer, wine, and sake. There is an extensive list of Japanese local sake brands, which makes for a popular paring with the food. For the beer selection, in addition to some brands, a draft beer is poured from installed barrels imported from Japan. In the summer time, you can enjoy drinks in the outdoor garden setting.

Compared to San Francisco, there are fewer Michelin class high-end restaurants in Auckland. However, casual gourmet style is settled in, and people in the East Bay are very picky in taste and value consciousness. “Delage” is well liked in such an environment as a restaurant where people can experience high-end Japanese cuisine in a casual manner.


ここ数年、オークランドの外食シーンが大きく変化している。Jack London Squareのファーマーズマーケットの人気と共に地産地消の意識が広がり、“リアルフード”を求める人口が増えている。さらに隣町、バークレーのカリフォルニア料理発祥の店、「シェ・パニーズ」出身のシェフ達が続々オークランドに店舗を持ち始め、グルメの話題が尽きない。また、食ビジネスが起業しやすい市による環境作りで、若い食起業家によるカジュアルで個性的な店やフードトラック、ケータリングなどビジネスも多様化し、街の至る所で食のトレンドを垣間見る事ができる。4年前、リニューアルされた食マーケット&フードコート「SWAN」は、有名シェフも参加するB級グルメのフードコートで話題を呼び、今ではオークランドのホットスポットになっている。「Delage」は、同テナントとしてオープニングから出店していた「AS B-Dama」に続く第2号店となる。2016年4月の開店以来、カジュアルなオマカセ店として人気を集めている。

オーナーシェフの小野力氏が持つコンセプト、“クオリティ&カッジュアル”は見事に地元のファンを掴んだ。同氏は、長年サウスベイで日本食レストランにシェフとして勤めた後、オークランドで小さな惣菜と弁当の「Geta」を起業、 その後、弁当を中心としたイートイン、「B−Dama 」の成功で、「SWAN」にテナントとし移動し、「As B-Dama 」に改名。今回、地元の熱い声援に応え、同じ敷地内、独立店舗として「Delage」のオープンに至った。オークランドで日本人経営者によるオマカセ専門店は初めて。「オークランドの気さくな雰囲気を取り入れたハイエンド」を目指した同店の立ち上げには、2軒のレストランをミシュラン星に導いた佐々木正樹氏が加わり話題を集めた。しかも、グレードアップした8コースが$65と他店では見られない良心的な料金設定だ。


メニューはカリフォルニアとフレンチ技術が加わった独特のスタイル。その日のメニューは、カリフォルニア風オーガニックのチェリートマトサラダ、塩ブロックの上に盛り付けた宮崎ビーフと軽く燻製されたサーモン、オマカセ握り寿司、カリフラワー冷静スープ、温野菜の胡麻ポン酢和えと続く。このように野菜、鴨、肉、魚、野菜、寿司を組み合わせたカリフォルニア風割烹とデザインされた陶器とのプレゼンテーションはワクワクする内容だ。食材は「AS B−Dama」と同様、魚市場やファーマーズマーケットにオーナー自ら出向くなど極力地産地消を心がけている。

「Delage」は、現在2期目を迎えている。オープニングシェフの佐々木氏からバトンを受け取ったのは、寿司シェフの石井薫氏とキッチンシェフの安藤美樹子氏だ。石井氏はシェフ歴42年のベテランで、日本ではイタリアンや炉端店、米国では、Los Angeles の「Matsuhisa」, Sausalitoの「Sushi Ran」 でシェフを務めた。

一方、安藤氏は、サンフランシスコ地区で「Sushi Chardonnay」、「Yuzu」、「Delica」 での寿司シェフを勤めている。安藤氏は、「地元の野菜をたっぷり使った創造的なメニューを作りたい」と意気込んでいた。


オークランドのレストランは、サンフランシスコと比較すると高級店は少ないが、カジュアルグルメが浸透しており、イーストベイの客は味にうるさくとバリューに敏感だ。 そんな中「Delage」は、ハイエンドな日本食が気軽に体験できるレストランとして地域に愛されてる。

536 9th St.
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 823-2050
Tues.-Thurs./ 5:30pm-9:30pm
#alljapannews #delage #fusion #japanese #restaurant #sanfrancisco

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Their first store in the U.S. ----The Japanese home cooking style set menu restaurant chain

Their first store in the U.S. --... Their first store in the U.S. --... Their first store in the U.S. --... Their first store in the U.S. --... Their first store in the U.S. --...
By Elli Sekine

“Yayoiken”, a set menu chain that has over 300 stores all over Japan finally came to the United States this spring. Their English name is “YAYOI”, and the first store is in Palo Alto, Silicon Valley. On the way there, my curiosity grew. I was wondering what kind of challenge this Japanese style family restaurant was facing, and how they were received in America, which is the restaurant industry powerhouse. This restaurant is located in Downtown on University Avenue. Its elegant façade stands out, and inside is bright, casual, and practical looking. They have a pretty innovative ordering system. An iPad is installed at each table through which orders are placed. The rich menu that contains both Japanese and Western dishes is very well accepted for the good quality and the pricing. The high-quality Japanese restaurant chain, Yayoiken, has started its smooth sailing in America.

In Japan, there is a saying, “IchijuSansai” (one soup, three side dishes), which is the traditional ideal of a well-balanced eating habit. Generally, it means a meal with rice as a main food with 2 side dishes and a bowl of miso soup. For a long time, since the Meiji Restoration, “Western style meals” transported from the foreign countries have been rearranged, evolved, and settled into home cooking and the restaurant industry in Japan. For instance, karaage, croquet, curry, etc, are now recognized as a part of Japanese cuisine overseas. Until some decades ago, the image of a set meal restaurant was a small eatery, but nowadays, it is more like one of the stores of nation-wide restaurant chains that is a rapidly growing business in Japan. This fast-growing industry is even expanding to overseas.

Plenus Co. Ltd,. the headquarters of “Yayoiken”, was originated from a bento chain which held sway over the minds of the people in the seventies called “Hokkahokka-tei”. They are now separated from the original maker, and run as a different company. From 2008, they started a bento chain called HottoMotto, and grew to be a mammoth chain that holds 2,600 stores nationwide. “Yayoiken” is their restaurant department in the affiliated company, and is the fastest growing chain in the restaurant industry,

There are already a total of over 130 “Yayoiken” in Asia and Australia. Following the Palo Alto store, the second one in the U.S. opened in Cupertino. You may think that the American customers might be confused about the unfamiliar term, “set menu”. However, the reality is that there is no such thing. The local resident chief manager, Mr. Teramoto, says that the customer can order whatever they like with no problem. Without a doubt, the reason is the big menu book with descriptions and large full-color photos of all the dishes. It is so easy to see what you want. In addition, the innovative iPad ordering system reduces the number of servers, and provides speedy service to deliver orders to customers’ table quickly without making them wait for a long time. Transparent billing with pre-included tips can also contribute to better rotations.

The history of set meals, special brand rice, etc. are explained on the menu, and help customers become familiarized with Japanese culture. Some of the popular dishes from over 30 set meal choices are “Yayoi Gozen”, a gorgeous set with pork cutlet salmon and sukiyaki ($24), “Nanban Teishoku” ($15), and “Hitsumabushi” (BBQ eel over rice served with a side of dashi broth, Nagoya style) which is a rare dish in the States. The wide variety of Japanese and Western dishes on the menu can cover every group and its diversified eating habits. There are also plenty of drink choices with over 20 different sake and draft beer brands.

“Yayoi” is particular about rice, dashi, and sauce, which are the base of Japanese cuisine. Those base ingredients are imported from Japan to all of the overseas stores. Kinmemai rice is polished in-house to make sure of the freshness. The rice for the stores is also cooked with soft water filtered in a huge water filtering system because it is believed that rice grown in soft water tastes better if cooked also in soft water. The rice looks like regular polished white rice, but it is polished in a particular way so aleurone layer (that includes carbohydrates which produce sweetness and umami) and a portion of embryo buds will remain on the rice to keep brown rice–like characteristics for a fluffy and shiny cooked product. In the Bay Area where people are very health conscious and think brown rice is healthier, this delicious and highly nutritious rice might revolutionize such thinking. The dashi and sauce, which are the core of “unchangeable deliciousness”, are pre-measured accurately and shipped swiftly from the central kitchen in Japan to keep the same taste worldwide.

Each overseas store has a resident store manager and a head chef from Japan to lead the staff. To manage the operations, each Japanese head chef candidate is intensely trained for 3 months overseas before the assignment, and the rest of the staff members are locally hired.

Among the ever-growing IT ventures in Silicon Valley, “Bento box” is getting very popular for lunch. There are not nearly enough Japanese food catering businesses to accommodate the needs. If a mammoth bento chain, “HottoMotto” comes to America following “Yayoi”, more opportunity may arise. The challenge of Plenus Co. Ltd to the restaurant industry in the U.S. seems to have just begun.


日本全国に300店舗を構える定食チェーンの「弥生軒」がついにこの春、米国進出を果たした。その記念すべき英語名、「YAYOI」の第1号店がシリコンバレー、パラアルト店だ。 ファミリー外食産業大国のアメリカで、日本の“ファミレス”がどのようにチャレンジし受け入れられているのか興味津々で店に向かった。ダウンタウンのUniversity Avenue に位置する同店はひときわ目立つ上品な構えだが、中はカジュアルで機能的なレイアウト。 各テーブルごとにiPadが設置され、オーダーは全てコンピュータで行うという画期的なシステムだ。和洋が織りなす豊富なメニューは良質で低価格と評判が良い。日本の優良外食チェーン店「弥生軒」は米国でも順風満々なスタートを切っていた。


「弥生軒」の本部、プレナス社 は、もともと70年代に一世風靡をした弁当チエーン、「ほっかほっか亭」がルーツである。現在はこのメーカーとは別経営となり、2008年より「ほっともっと」弁当チェーンとして、現在全国に2600店舗のマンモスチェーンに成長した。そして同系列のレストラン部門が、「弥生軒」。その成長スピードは外食業界でトップだ。

「弥生軒」は、海外ではすでにアジア、オーストラリアに130店舗以上展開しており、米国は同店に続き2号店が11月にクパチーノにオープンした。「定食」というまだアメリカでは聞きなれない和食スタイルに客が戸惑うのではと思いきや、現地常駐のチーフマネージャー、寺本氏は、全く問題なく皆好きなものを注文するのだと答えてくれた。それもそのはず、大きなフルカラーのメニューブックには、一つ一つのおかずが大きな写真付きで説明してあり、一目見ただけで好みを見分けられるようだ。また、iPad の改革的なオーダーシステムは、従業員の人数が省けるだけでなく、お客を待たすことなくスピーディーに注文の品が運ばれ、チップを含んだ明朗会計が回転率を良くしている。





403 University Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 494-4437

Lunch Mon-Fir 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sat -Sun 11:00 am -3:00 pm
Dinner Mon-Sun 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
#alljapannews #japanese #sanfrancisco #yayoi

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“Food Art”, world-famous Chefs’ plates you can experience

“Food Art”, wor... “Food Art”, wor... “Food Art”, wor...

By Elli Sekine

In the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art which re-opened this spring after a huge three-year long renovation, a unique restaurant débuted that can totally overturn the conventional image. The restaurant, “In Situ”, is like an edible museum where you can experience not only the dishes by the world’s Michelin star awarded restaurants and chefs, but also a modern interior, a collection of paintings and artistic food plates by the first-class architects, artists, and designers.

Due to the recent big article in the NY Times, this place is catching a great deal of attention from all over the U.S.

Mr. Corey Lee, the owner/chef of the Michelin 3-star restaurants, “Benu” and “Monsieur Benjamin” in San Francisco, oversees this tremendous project. He is a very talented Korean-American chef who learned how to cook in top-rated restaurants in Europe, and worked as the Chef de Cuisine for “The French Laundry” in Napa Valley, which helped him gain the top rank in the chef’s world.

The “Benu”, which he opened after becoming independent, is highly acclaimed for its cutting-edge menu using worldwide ingredients and techniques beyond the range of French-American cuisine. The worldwide restaurants and creators of all kinds of cuisines Mr. Lee has ever encountered with in his career have inspired and polished his excellent taste in his cooking skills. He is collaborating with over 80 chefs here, and the menu shows many items by the recipes of the famous chefs and places including “Noma” of Copenhagen, the pioneer of “Gastronomy”, Mr. Bottura of “Osteria” in Italy (#1 in 2016 World’s Best 50 Restaurants), Mr. Adoria of “Ticket” in Spain, which is another top ranking restaurant in the list, and Mr. Arzak of “Arzak” also in Spain. Then from the San Francisco area, Ms. Waters of “Chez Panisse”, and Mr. Keller of “French Laundry”

The menu always consists of 15 items from the world’s gastronomy list that includes “Japanese cuisine”, one of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. The number of Japanese menu items is a result of Mr. Lee being very inspired by Kyoto Kaiseki and Kappo style cooking, and the second most featured on the menu next to American dishes. The menu shows the names of the top chefs such as Mr. Nakahigashi of “Miyama-So” in Kyoto, Mr. Sasaki of “Gion Sasaki” also in Kyoto, and Mr. Yamamoto of “Ryugin” in Tokyo.

I chose the “Umami Soup” ($38) from the daily menu, which is the recipe by Chef Nakahigashi. It was served in a beautiful Japanese ceramic bowl, and looked more like a gorgeous meat udon than a bowl of soup. The menu name suggests a large umami-filled soup dish, but it’s a simple dish of very light dashi broth with Inaniwa udon and A5 wagyu slices. The beef is so thinly sliced and overpowered by the acidity of the soup, so I could not taste the true Umami of high-quality beef.

The Inaniwa udon is soft and translucent, and easy to swallow. Overall, the volume is too small to satisfy your appetite as a main dish. I also ordered “Carrot Sour Curd” (New York, $18), and “Shrimp Grits”, (Denmark, $14) as appetizers.

Both were nicely flavored, and represented the concept well. The servers were knowledgeable, and explained the menu well, but I wonder how well they and other staff really understand Japanese cuisine. The kitchen staff of about 20 work busily, but maybe merely to complete the process of each given recipe precisely.
On the drink menu, the wine list includes famous European and Californian brands, and in addition, craft beers, and both Yamahai and sparkling sake for pairing.

“In Situ” has a dreamy concept that allows you to experience worldwide famous restaurant menu, but there is a dilemma. The dish creator chef’s spirit can be carried over behind the scenes, but it is not possible to recreate and represent the dish perfectly elsewhere. I wonder how the customers perceive this “World House of Gastronomy”. I am looking forward to hearing the future reviews of this place.


今春3年かけての大改装の末、リニューアルオープンしたサンフランシスコ近代美術館内に前代未聞のレストランが登場した。世界のミシュラン星レストランや有名シェフのメニューが賞味できる「イン ストゥー」は、メニューだけではなく一流の建築士、アーティスト、デザイナー達が手がけたモダンインテリアと絵画のコレクション、プレートに至るまで芸術を統合した“食べられる美術館”だ。最近ニューヨークタイムス に大体的に取り上げられ、全米で注目を浴びている。

この壮大なプロジェクトを統監するのは、サンフランシスコのミシュラン3ツ星レストラン、「BENU」と「ムッシュ・ベンジャミン」のオーナーシェフ、コーリー・リー氏。コリアン・アメリカンのリー氏は、これまでヨーロッパの一流レストランで修行し、ナパバレーの「フレンチランドリー」の料理長(Chef de Cuisine)を経て料理会のトップに上り詰めた天才シェフ。 独立後オープンした「BENU」は、フレンチアメリカンの枠を超え、世界の食材やテクニックを取り込んだ先駆的なメニューが高く評価されている。そんな彼の料理のセンスを磨き上げてきたのが、今まで関わった世界のレストランと料理クリエーター達だ。ここで彼がコラボするシェフの数は80人を超えており、メニューには、「ガストロのミー」の先駆者、コペンハーゲンの「ノマ」、「世界ベストレストラン50」(2016)ランキング1位の「オステリア」(イタリア)のボチュラ氏、同じく上位の「チケット」(スペイン)のアドリア氏、「アーザック」のアーザック氏(スペイン)など、そして地元からは「シェ・パニーズ」のウォーターズ氏、「フレンチランドリー」のケラー氏のレシピが目を引く。


本日のメニューから中東シェフのレシピ、「Umami Soup 」($38)を頂いた。日本製の美しい陶器の椀に盛られた一品は、実際「スープ」というより、豪華な「肉うどん」だった。メニュー名から旨味とボリュームたっぷりというイメージだが、ブロスはあっさりした出汁味と稲庭うどんで具はA5和牛といったシンプルな一品。高級食材ながら肉が薄切りなのとブロスの酸味で本来のジューシーな肉の旨さは得られなかった。稲庭うどんは、透明感があり柔らかくゆであげ舌触り、喉越しも良い。しかし量は少なめなのでメインとしては物足りない。同じく注文したアペタイザーのCarot Sour Curd(ニューヨーク、 $18) やShirimp Grits (デンマーク、$14)は味付けも良くコンセプトに沿った内容だった。サーバー達はメニューを熟知し説明にも問題はないが、彼らを含め、どれだけの従業員が和食を理解しているかは不明だ。厨房で忙しそうに手を動かす訓練を受けた約 20 人の料理人 達はレシピに忠実に仕上げているのが伝わってくる。ドリンクメニュ−は、ヨーロッパ各地の有名なワインとカリフォルニアを組み合わせたワインリストに加え、クラフトビール、日本酒も山廃とスパークリングをペアリングとして揃えている。

「イン ストゥー」は、世界の有名レストランのメニューが体験できる夢のようなコンセプトなのだが、その舞台裏でシェフの精神は受け継いでも作者なき作品は完璧に仕上がるのだろうか。そして客はどのようにこの高価な美食館"を受け入れるのか、これからの評価が楽しみだ。

In Situ
151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Lunch: Monday through Sunday. 11:00 - 16:00
Dinner: Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, 17:00 - 21:00
Tel: (415) 941-6050
#alljapannews #foodart #french #moma #sanfrancisco

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High-end restaurant opened where first-class food and service are offered

High-end restaurant opened w... High-end restaurant opened w... High-end restaurant opened w... High-end restaurant opened w... High-end restaurant opened w...
By Elli Sekine

In the May, an anticipated and well talked-about true authentic Japanese restaurant called “Hashiri” opened in downtown San Francisco. Mr. Ikuo Hayashi, the CEO of an IT enterprise, “Digital Garage, Inc.”, and also the owner of “Hashiri” of Daikanyama, Tokyo, had an idea of having a first-rated authentic Japanese restaurant in San Francisco which could become the center location of his business expansion, and started this joint venture with Mr.Ryuichi Terayama and Mr. Yasuyuki Rokuyata. The menu displays only omakase-style courses of kaiseki and sushi prepared with unified Japanese and Californian ingredients. The average food cost per customer is $450, which is as high-end as other Michelin 3-star San Francisco restaurants. This “Hashiri” in S.F. is their first overseas restaurant with a new concept where the owners’ careers have been reflected, and demonstrated everywhere.

The first thing that draws your attention is its innovative appearance. The modern CA/Japan cross-cultural art by LA resident modernism designer, Yutaka Tamura, sweeps away everybody’s image of Japanese restaurants. Abstract modern art on the walls create a metropolitan pop culture-like ambience, and as a good contrast, the sushi bar is decorated with very quiet and Japan-like designs. The Japanese calligraphic letters that spell “Hashiri” are lighted up to create an impressive image. Projected on the ceiling of the dining room area are 4 seasons of Japanese scenery created by Hiroyuki Nakano, a Japanese film writer, on a very high-tech looking projector screen which gives you the feel of every season at the table.

Every department, from the reception to the kitchen, consists of a strong team of professionals who are well experienced in working for Japanese restaurants both in Japan and the U.S. The executive chef is Mr. Takashi Saito who used to be the head chef of “Yunoki”, the kaiseki chef is Mr. Shinichi Aoki who used to be the head chef of “Keigetsu” (no longer in business), and the sushi chef at the counter is Mr. Tokunori Makari from “Hashiri” Daikanyama.

“Hashiri”’s theme is the presentation of seasonal freshness. Each dish expresses the first crops, in-season produce, and ending-season produce of each seasonal period. Mr. Saito wants the customers to taste the season with all 5 senses because season is the secret ingredient of the traditional Japanese cuisine.

Californian produce must be organic, and he visits the local farmer’s market to acquire it directly from the farmers. The fresh fish is sent directly from Tsukiji by air. The omakase course created by the soul of the chef is prepared with the fresh crops of the season (hashiri) of both Japan and California, each artistically arranged in beautiful Japanese pottery imported from various regions of Japan.

The course with 12 dishes starts with the appetizer of Japanese mustard spinach which is the hashiri of spring or summer, steamed shrimp dumpling in a starchy sauce, young sweetfish karaage, etc. which are artfully arranged on a plate. The soup dish called “oan” is pike congera sea eel in broth lightly flavored with yuzu. The next is “otsukuri” (sashimi) accentuated by lotus stem and myoga ginger followed by “hachi no mono” (in a bowl) which contains eggplant topped with elegant sea urchin, then, nenrin daikon (steamed ground meat and daikon layered roll), and well-seasoned jellied meat and vegetable dish. The main dish is top-grade Kagoshima wagyu grilled on Bincho charcoal, and black-throat sea perch. The generous portion of side vegetables are also very tastefully seasoned. After that are the three sushi plates soulfully prepared by chef Makari. It takes 3 hours to finish the course all the way to the dessert, but it is a very relaxed and very worthy time spent.

The manager, Kenichiro Matsuura offers first-class service with his rich experience working in various high-end Japanese restaurants, and his language skill. The spirit of hospitality can be felt everywhere, in welcoming of the customers, immaculately clean appearance, service at the table, etc., all the way to seeing off the customers to make every customer feel special.

The drink menu is the hot target for the restaurant. In order to accommodate businessmen who like Japanese food and local foodies as well, their attractive menu includes California wines, close to 200 kinds of French wines carefully selected by the sommelier, as well as sake, shochu, spirits, Japanese whiskey, beer, etc. The restaurant is located in the middle of downtown, but despite of such a location, the area is also for the local residents to come and relax with the surrounding trees and installed benches. In order to connect with the community, and take advantage of such a location, they started to run an outdoor drink garden lounge where people can drop by for a drink after work or a convention.

You can make a reservation for three different courses; Hashiri "Omakase" at Table ($250), Hashiri "Omakase" at Sushi Bar ($300), and Hashiri " Omakase" at Chef's Table ($500) (The reservation has to be made at least 2 weeks in advance.) The private dining for up to 8 people can be reserved, and you can request for sushi-making right at the table. “Hashiri” is the one and only high-end Japanese restaurant in San Francisco, where you can enjoy beautiful traditional seasonal Japanese course meals with all of your 5 senses.


5月中旬、サンフランシスコ ダウンタウンに、予々前評判で噂になっていた本格的和食レストラン、「Hashiri」がオープンした。IT 企業「デジタルガラージ」の代表取締役社長で代官山の寿司店「はしり」のオーナーである、林 都 氏がビジネス拠点となるサンフランシスコに「日本の「はしり」のコンセプトをそのままSFに」と考案し、寺山隆一氏、六彌太 恭行氏との共同経営で始動した。メニューの特徴は、日本とカリフォルニアの食材を融合させた会席と寿司のおまかせコース。客単価は一人平均$450とサンフランシスコのミシュラン三ツ星店と並ぶ高級店だ。今回海外初店舗となる「Hashiri」は、経営者達のキャリアを活かした斬新なアイディアが随所に見られる。

まず注目されるのは、洗練されたインテリアデザイン。ニューヨーク在住“モダニズム”デザイナー、滝浦 浩氏が手がけたカリフォルニアと日本の”クロスカルチャー”をイメージしたモダンアートは今までの和食レストランのイメージを一世風靡する内容。壁には抽象近代美術や肖像写真が都会的でポップなイメージを創り、一方メインの寿司カウンターは、静粛で和風。毛筆で書かれた「はしり」の文字がライトアップされ聡明な印象だ。また、ダイニングの天井には、日本の映像作家、中野裕之氏による美しい日本の四季折々の風景がハイテク技術を搭載したプロジェクターパネルに映し出され、テーブルに居ながら「季節」を感じることができる。


「Hashiri」のテーマは季節の旬を創作する事。それぞれの季節の「はしり」(季節に初めて出回るもの)、「旬」(出盛りのもの)、「なごり」(そろそろ終わりだなという時期)への繋がりが一つ一つの器に表現されている。「日本の伝統料理の極意である季節を五感で味わってほしい」と 斎藤氏は、カリフォルニア食材はオーガニックにこだわり、仕入先も地元のファーマーズマーケットに出向き農家から直接調達している。良質で新鮮な魚は築地からの空輸。まさに日本とカリフォルニア食材が融合したおまかせ料理は、日本各地から取り寄せた美しい陶器に、シェフの職人魂が込められた「はしり」独特の季節の料理が盛られる。

12品のコースの内容は、春、夏のはしりである小松菜、豆腐、海老しんじょう、稚鮎の唐揚げなどがアートのように盛られた前菜から始まる。「おわん」は、はしり牡丹鱧が優しい旬のブロスと柚子がほのかに香る一品。蓮の茎やミョウガを添えた「お造り」に続き「鉢のもの」は、翡翠茄子の上にバフン雲丹をあしらい、年輪大根、風味を閉じ込めたうまだしゼリーのお膳。メインの焼き物には、Aグレード, 鹿児島和牛の備長炭焼、ノドグロ、それを取り巻く旬の野菜も絶妙な炊き加減でボリュームはあるが上品な味付けだ。その後、銘苅氏が腕を奮う握りが3コース続く。デザートまで約3時間を要するディナーだが、ゆったりとした上質な時が流れる。

マネージャーの 松浦顕一郎氏は、これまで各高級和食レストランに勤めた経験と語学力を活かし一流のサービスを手がけている。店の清掃、予約客の“お迎え”から接客、“お見送り”に至るまでで、“おもてなし”の精神は、店全体に行き渡り訪れる客を特別な気持ちにさせている。


4 Mint Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94103

first seating begins at 5:00 pm and second seating time starts at 8:00 pm.
#alljapannews #hashiri #japanesefood #sanfrancisco #sushi

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Super catering company in San Francisco

Super catering company in Sa... Super catering company in Sa... Super catering company in Sa... Super catering company in Sa... Super catering company in Sa... Super catering company in Sa... Super catering company in Sa...
A super catering company leading the culinary industry

By Elli Sekine
Catering company “Kawashima’s Kitchen,” serving an average of 750 meals a day with approximately 1,200 contracted corporate clients, prepares food without rest from early morning to evening.

We visited the kitchen that receives orders for over 1,000 meals on a busy day. The staff were surprisingly calm, with each person handling their areas of responsibility dutifully. Sixth year since the company opened, the catering company does not bend to the pressures of various tasks and long hours, but has an efficient flow in their work from purchasing to the disposal process where. Kenichi Kawashima, Executive Chef and Manager of “Kawashima’s Kitchen” manages a trendy restaurant serving Japanese-Western cuisines. Despite the restaurant’s growing popularity, Kawashima was drawn to
the catering business that was started concurrently, and changed directions.

At the same time, the catering market in the Bay Area was rapidly expanding.
Kawashima’s turning point in his business and the timing for the market expanding matched. Most of the clients of “Kawashima’s kitchen” were IT companies. The food service that was started to improve the performance of staff members, was now diversified to service meetings and parties, while the catering services also started concurrently.

When interviewing Kawashima, a method to practice his “own style of management” that was easier to control, compared to running a restaurant, became more apparent.

JRN: What made you decide to start a catering business?

Kawashima: In the beginning, we took our stock pot to the kitchens of businesses to provide our catering services. It was at a time when the ramen boom had just started, and noone was catering ramen yet. Our ramen was well received for having exceeded our customers’ expectations. I personally think that if we draw the line and decide that achieving a performance level of approximately 60 percent is acceptable for the catering business, we could run it more efficiently.

JRN: The menu lists selections such as Bibimbap, however, how is this dish prepared and served on site?

Kawashima: Initially, we separate the food ingredients. I think this turning point in our thinking led us in the right direction. Cut them separately with each dish prepared individually on site. Since there are no set rules on “how it must be served,” some customers arrange the food ingredients separately in the dish. However, the dish is well-received, and this makes creating our menu selections fun.

JRN: What is attractive about the catering business compared to the restaurant industry?

Kawashima: It’s because it’s easy to control, first and foremost. My personality is also suited for this work. When I was running a restaurant, my worries were endless. For example, if one server doesn’t come in for a shift, that impacts the entire shift, and we have no clue how many customers will come that day. But now, if one staff can’t come in, I can step in. Also, we purchase our food ingredients according to the number of customers we’ll have. Since I know which days we’re busy, the greatest advantage is that I can eliminate food waste and unnecessary manpower too.

JRN: How did your business gain popularity?

Kawashima: I believe our job is more than merely transporting and serving food to customers, but our ‘performance’ is also part of our service.
Since employees of IT corporations sit in front of a computer all day, they look forward to their lunch hour. So for example, I created a menu titled, “Build Your Own Ramen,” where the noodles are boiled on site, and customers select their choices of food ingredients. On days that we serve sushi, we prepare our sushi by hand directly in the cafeteria of client companies, and I believe that is our job.

JRN: What part of the menu are you especially fastidious about?

Kawashima: More than the menu itself, I’m more concerned about satisfying the customers individually. I started to learn what customers were wanting by communicating with the floor manager in charge of our lunch service. Of course, we have our recommended menu selections. However, our service is also unique for proposing the
catering menu according to the preferences of each customer.

JRN: I’ve learned you practice an ecofriendly management style. In what areas do you apply this practice?

Kawashima: I have a policy of basically using up our food ingredients and trying our best to eliminate waste. When I come across other corporate lunches, I see mounds of food ingredients go to waste, or a large pile of trash after the large service is over. I can say
the same about the boxed “bento” business too. From the perspective if higher efficiency, it makes sense to deliver the food in a large container, then dividing them into smaller portions, which also is an eco-friendly practice. We are creative with our food ingredients, like taking vegetable stems usually thrown away, and prepare them as pickled vegetables, or marinate them in “koji” (rice malt) to create another side dish. To serve a quality dish, it’s also important to not add too many food ingredients. Recently, I hear that Uber is being implemented into the delivery system. I think another way to eliminate waste is to rely on (delivery) experts.

Kawashima’s “own style of management” consists of one important factor, to “have control.” By applying flexibility, developing a unique menu becomes fun. Also, since catering service is background work behind the front lines, where customer feedback is received on-site, I receive great motivation as a chef. Kawashima proved that catering service is a food business with tremendous potential for the future.

1日平均750 食、約1200社の契約企業を持つケータリング会社、「Kawashima’ s Kitchen」では、早朝から夕方まで休む暇なく料理を作っている。多い時は1000食を超える注文を受けるそのキッチンを訪ねてみると、従業員達は意外と落ち着いて、各持ち場を淡々とこなしていた。同ケータリング会社は起業して今年で6年目。日々時間に追われる業務内容にも屈せず、仕入れから廃棄処理までの一連の流れに無駄がないように思えた。「Kawashima’skitchen」の経営者で料理長の川嶋研一氏は以前、和洋食を扱うトレンディなレストランを経営していた。人気は上昇していたにも関わらず、並行して始めたケータリングビジネスの方に魅力を感じ方向転換した。同時期、ベイエリアのケータリング市場はうなぎのぼり。まさに川島氏の転換期と市場拡大の時期が合致したようだ。

「Kawashima’s kitchen」の顧客はほとんどがIT企業だ。従業員のパフォーマンス向上の為に始まった食事サービスは、今ではその用途も会議やパーティーまでと多様化し、それに伴いケータリングも進化している。川嶋氏に話を伺うと、レストランに比べ、コントロールがしやすい「自分らしい経営」の手法が見えてきた。








川嶋:ただ食を運ぶだけではなく、パフォーマンスも一つのサービスだと思っています。IT企業の従業員は皆一日中コンピュータの前に座っているので、ランチを楽しみにしているのです。例えば、「BUILD YOUR OWN RAMEN BAR」というメニューを作り、現場で麺を茹で、好きな具を選んで頂きます。寿司の日は、顧客企業のカフェテリアで寿司を握り、楽しんでいただくのも私達の役割です。





川嶋氏の“自分らしい経営” には、“コントロールができる” という大きな要素がある。柔軟性を持たせ、ユニークなメニュー開発の楽しみもある。それに現場で人々のフィードバックも伺える最前線の裏方なので、モチベーションも上がるようだ。ケータリングは将来的にも多大な可能性を秘めた食ビジネスであることを同氏が証明してくれた。

Kawashima’s Kitchen
(415) 238-4447
Serving San Francisco and surrounding area
open hour: 24h

#alljapannews #catering #sanfrancisco

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