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Dinner Specials at Mikaku

July 21, 2007

Whew, it sure has been a long time since a post! Sorry folks, real life has caught up with us recently, but we promise to get going again soon, back to more regular programming. We figured a new post was especially appropriate for today, because this weekend, our blogging platform WordPress is hosting the entertaining, informative, and pretty-darn-geeky WordCamp conference in San Francisco. Short Exact is right now sitting in the antique Swedish-American Hall on Market Street (which, sadly, doesn’t have nearly enough outlets for laptops!), blogging from WordCamp about… the dinner specials at the Mikaku restaurant, which have absolutely nothing to do with WordCamp!

In an earlier post about Mikaku (a Japanese restaurant located right next to the Chinatown gate), we mentioned the chirashi, slices of fish carefully layered atop sushi rice. On a recent visit, we had the opportunity to try a couple of the dinner specials written on the white board located just east of the sushi bar; the restaurant really shines in its preparation of these specials.

At dinnertime only, Mikaku offers house-made soba (buckwheat) noodles. The noodles, which are served cold in the form of zaru soba,

tb_zaru_soba_mikaku.jpg

had a nice bounce and texture, easily superior to the soba noodles offered at many of the more popular noodle houses in Japantown. The noodles are served with the tsuyu dipping sauce, a refreshing and light yet robust combination of soy sauce, dashi, and the sweet rice wine mirin. Perhaps best of all, Mikaku also serves the traditional sobayu,

tb_sobayu_mikaku.jpg

which is the water in which the soba noodles were just boiled. Pouring the sobayu into the cup containing the leftover tsuyu dipping sauce makes for a delicious drink and is an excellent way to cap off a plate of soba noodles.

We also sampled the chawanmushi,

tb_chawanmushi_mikaku.jpg

a traditional savory Japanese egg custard with surprise fish, meat and vegetables inside the custard that are to be unearthed. The chawanmushi we had at Mikaku, which included crab and chicken, was a delight, with a clean egg flavor that was a good complement to the other ingredients. Mikaku’s rendition of this dish is quite nice.

At a standard dinner, Mikaku offers at least a dozen specials. Recently, in addition to the soba noodles and chawanmushi mentioned here, we’ve seen daikon soup, dishes involving yam and kabocha (“Japanese pumpkin”), different preparations of clams, and hirame usuzukuri, which are paper thin slices of fluke sashimi dressed in a very light ponzu sauce. Although Mikaku’s menu has all the standard tempura, teriyaki, and sushi roll combination deals that Americans have come to expect from Japanese restaurants, the skill of both the sushi chef and the kitchen are most clearly displayed in these authentic specialties, and we’re glad to have gotten the chance to sample Mikaku’s versions of these dishes. “Averaging” this with our previous visits to Mikaku, an upgrade of Mikaku’s rating is definitely in order:

RATING:

COST:

Please scroll to the bottom of our original review for the restaurant hours and contact information.

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7 comments

  1. Hey E – Good to see you back at it. I wish I could attend WordCamp it looks like a blast.


  2. Hey Doug, thanks for dropping by. WordCamp was indeed a blast. There were some really interesting talks, and it’s always fun to hang out with geeks. 🙂


  3. totally. I have a hard time finding people to talk with about such things (and if I do, they end up getting bored).


  4. Bored? Is that possible? 🙂


  5. MMMM Mikakulicious.


  6. what in the world is wordcamp? probably should have paid attention… The soba looks delicious. I love Mikaku, used to go there all the time when I worked with a Japanese vendor. They would go for prolonged after work eating/drinking events in the manner of true salarymen. Haven’t been there in years, but your post has reminded me it’s been too long!


  7. WordCamp is a lot of fun! It’s a blogging conference setup by WordPress. Lots of geeks in a room = endless fun.

    I hope you enjoy your next visit to Mikaku… and thanks for reminding me that I really need to get another post up on here.



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