Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On the Bridge

News alert: Japanese food isn't just about sushi and tempura. This was a fascinating fact I learned when I visited On the Bridge in San Francisco's Japantown. On the Bridge is a little Japanese restaurant in the Japantown Mall. The restaurant specializes in Yoshuko Cuisine which is the Japanese take on Western Cuisine such as Okonomiyaki Pizza and Mentaiko Spaghetti.

The food at On the Bridge is hands-down delicious. Every item we ordered was divine, even if our mouths were on fire. On the Bridge offers 20 different kinds of Japanese curry. You can have it mild, medium, spicy, x-spicy, xx-spicy, and xxx-spicy. I ordered the medium curry; I don't think I had a taste bud left on my tongue after I finished. I imagine the xxx-spicy to be on a Man Vs. Food on the Food Network. It has to hurt.

Besides the delicious and creative food, the decor in the restaurant brought a smile to my face. The owner put it perfectly when he described it as, "Anime/Jazzy Design Atmosphere." The walls are plastered with Anime posters and the shelves full of plush dolls and other trinkets. We had the pleasure of sitting at the long counter that spans the length of the restaurant. From that vantage point we could inspect all the toys behind the counter, as well as chat it up with the owner and daughter. This is truly a mom-and-pop establishment as the mom said to us when we finished eating, "You ordered too much food, but you ate it all. Good. Good." I felt as if my own mom was giving me a pat on the back.

If you are looking for a culinary adventure and you find yourself in Japantown, look no further than On the Bridge. It was a delicious meal and a fun experience (and I learned a bit about Japanese cuisine).

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sichuan Home

We stumbled upon this unassuming restaurant last Thursday and were extremely happy with that decision. The restaurant was full with tables of mostly young Asian twenty-somethings. The moment we walked in, the entire restaurant went silent and stared at us (clue #1 we are in a good place). The server quickly cleaned off a table and sat us near the door. At first glance of the menu, we realized we had actually found an authentic Sichuan restaurant. A moment of euphoria took over as I remembered the mouthwatering dishes of Sichuan province that I sampled a few years back. I had been looking for spicy chicken just like the little hole-in-the wall restaurant in Chengdu and I finally had found it. I also had my brother with me who has been living in China for the past seven years and fancies himself somewhat of a Sichuan expert.

Between the three of us, we ordered MaPo DouFu, Spicy Chicken (bone-in), Beef with Vegetables, potstickers, and egg rolls. I was blown away with the authenticity of the MaPo DouFu and the Spicy Chicken. My mouth was numb with the familiar burn of Sichuan chili oil and I loved it. The only disappointing dish was the beef with vegetables. My husband ordered it because he is a Mongolian Beef kind of guy and loves American-Chinese food. The vegetables were horribly disappointing as they were the frozen pea and carrot mix that once graced cafeterias across the United States.

The bill was $40 for three people for all the food we ordered. You should definitely head to this little restaurant in the Outer Richmond. You will not be disappointed with its authentic flavors; however, your mouth will be on fire from the chili oil. Yum!