Calamari – Oyster & Chop

Calamari - Oyster & Chop
Furikake crumb, togarashi sprinkle, yuzu mayo. $19 NZD
Oyster & Chop, Auckland NZ

Wow, this was probably one of the best calamari dishes I’ve had! The  squid was super tender, the breading was delicious, and it was perfectly fried. Combine that with the Japanese flavors and you have a winning plate!


Hamachi crudo – 1760

Hamachi crudo - 1760
Bulgogi vinaigrette, ‘siracha’, celery, yuzu, satsuma. $17
1760, San Francisco CA

Hmm, this was a pretty new and inventive dish for me, but did it really work? I’d say no for several reasons. I don’t think all the flavors worked in harmony. The bulgogi flavor with citrus from the satsuma and yuzu along with sriracha and creeping rosemary really didn’t do it for me. There was too many strong, competing flavors so it each bite was confusing. There was also very little hamachi on the plate. The rosemary and and celery ribs were also stringy and unpleasant to chew through. (And they misspelled ‘siracha’ on their menu.)

Yerba Buena Park
Yerba Buena Park.

Yuzu shio ramen – Ken Ken Ramen

Yuzu shio ramen - Ken Ken Ramen
Clean and refreshing. Salt base ramen with Japanese yuzu citrus pepper, mizuna greens, pork and chicken stock. A slow cooked traditional Japanese style ramen. Topped with beautifully braised pork (cha-shu), nori, “onsen” soft boiled egg and assorted veggies. Home style noodles with imported flour from Hokkaido. $11
Ken Ken Ramen, San Francisco CA

Um, I’m not sure that I liked this. I always equate ramen with dark, rich, warm, savory, comforting flavors. The yuzu and mizuna gave this soup such a bright citrusy-y flavor that it seemed odd to me for ramen.

Purple bougainvillea flowers (Nyctaginaceae), 24th Street
Purple bougainvillea flowers (Nyctaginaceae), 24th Street. This is a popular garden plant in San Francisco! We even have a large one in our back yard.

El Topo roll – SUSHISAMBA

El Topo roll - SUSHISAMBA
Salmon, jalapeno, shiso leaf, fresh melted mozzarella, crispy onion. $14

El Topo roll - SUSHISAMBA
This was a fun sushi roll with lots of textures. I’ve never had a roll with melted fresh mozzarella before so that was different. It was warm and creamy and the fried onions gave it more flavor and crunch. I think the sauce was sriracha based and spicy. Very good!

Soy sauce - SUSHISAMBA
Soy sauce.

Hakata cocktail – SUSHISAMBA

Hakata cocktail - SUSHISAMBA

A Samba signature cocktail – Svedka clementine vodka, yuzu juice, simple syrup, grenadine, sugared rim, lemon slice. $12

I liked the flavor of this cocktail and I thought that the chipped ice was fun, but there is WAY too much sugar on that rim! It made the drink way too sweet and difficult to taste anything else. Sweet lady bartender though!

Chorizo stuffed calamari – Eos Restaurant

Chorizo stuffed calamari Eos Restaurant

Savory squid with a delicous chorizo filling, Allstar Organics wax beans, yuzu vinaigrette and lemon.
Eos Restaurant & Wine Bar, San Francisco

Whenever I see chorizo on a menu, I immediately assume that the dish will be heavy and greasy.  Not so! This dish was so light and refreshing from the yuzu vinaigrette and lemon.  The bicolored wax beans also added brightness, and the chorizo filling wasn’t at all dense or heavy.  This dish is a winner in my book!