Rintaro: The Mission, San Francisco, CA, USA
I actually picked this place on one of my second dates because I saw that it had great ratings and figured if the date was going to go south, at least I could come away with hopefully a fully satisfied belly. I also love izakayas and frequent them quite a bit in NYC and Japan when I visited. Thankfully, I was able to make a reservation and requested the bar/chef’s counter. Not many people like smelling like smoke, but seeing the chef sear the meat, to see the busyness of the kitchen and sous chefs, it makes me appreciate my meal so much more.
One of the things that I love was the entryway: it was super quaint and well decorate – almost a modern country feel, topped with small tiny lights strung up overhead. It would make for a perfect night out with friends for a birthday dinner, especially on a relatively warm day or even a chill night with hot sake.
Things we tried:
– great thick round meat balls: they were not skimpy
– meat was well seasoned, very tender
– not overly drenched with sauce: one of the things I don’t like about izakayas is that they tend to put way too much sauce on their skewers
– slightly heavy-handed on the salt
– nice quantity for a small plate: definitely shareable between two or three people
– katsu was crispy, not soggy
– not super oily
– cheese was on the inside, came out nice and melting hot
– super tender, probably the most tender piece of chicken I’ve had
– not overly salty
– shareable but probably only between two people.
Gindara: black cod
– good flavor: nice char
– well cooked: melting in your mouth
– way too small for the price. I mean, these pieces were TINY. I wouldn’t get this again.
– much larger cut of meat, definitely more shareable between three people
– well seasoned (not overly salty)
– not overly greasy or dried out (overcooked)
– slightly more tough (but not in a bad way) compared to the chicken oyster
I’d definitely come back again. I haven’t had too many izakaya experiences in the Bay, but I would love to come back and host a dinner with friends outside and get more of that chicken oyster! In summary:
- beef meatballs: ***.65 (3.65 stars)
- cheese katsu: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
- chicken oyster: ***.85 (3.85 stars)
- gindara: ***.65 (3.65 stars)
- chicken shoulder: ***.65 (3.65 stars)
You can find them here in the Mission:82 14th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
b/t Folsom St & Trainor St
Let me know what you think!