When I went to Japan I thought I knew what Japanese food was. Boy, was I ever wrong! Going to Kappa is much the same experience. In addition to the kimono-clad hostess, the menu written in Japanese and the virtually all Japanese clientele, the food is koryori style, a traditional small plate cuisine from Kyoto not found anywhere else in town. Sure most of the dishes are familiar, but if you order the prix fixe meal several of the items are quite out of the ordinary.
Lee has been wanting to go back to Kappa ever since we went two years ago for his birthday. Since the prix fixe meal is rather special that was his choice again for this year's birthday. As I mentioned the last time around, there is no sign in English for the restaurant and the wooden door slides open so you really don't know where you are going. Lost in Translation anyone?
The monkfish liver was one dish I remember from our last meal, creamy and mild yet firm almost like a Japanese foie gras.
I apologize for the poor photo. I am getting over a cold and struggling with a new camera, so bear with me...This course included meltingly tender octopus in red bean, duck, sea snail, uni served as sushi a chicken meatball, a tofu and fish melange and a refreshingly tangy, sweet and sour mountain berry.
Next a sashimi plate notable was the fresh real wasabi and the outstanding octopus, more delicate with none of the rubbery quality you often find. Lee thought the snapper was the best he'd ever had.
Mostly grilled items on this plate, grilled herring stuffed with a spicy red peppered roe, a perfectly crispy boneless fried skate wing, homemade unagi, this buttery sweet barbecue eel was my favorite, and grilled beef tongue. The texture was not like tongue I've had before, it was firmer, more like a thin steak.
Can't tell you much about the soup other than there were enoki mushrooms, a shrimp ball, some fresh mustard greens and bamboo shoot in it. The spinachy green pillow might have been some kind of mochi, I'm not sure.
Finally the end approaches! A red bean paste over sweet rice, black sesame filled mochi, fresh mango and pear.
And a perfect cup of green tea. Happy birthday Lee!
Kappa (go upstairs from the Denny's, then through the door that says "night club" and open the sliding door inside with no sign)
1700 Post St., Suite K
(415) 673-6004 - Call for reservations after 4:30pm
Mon - Fri: 6pm - 10pm
Saturday: 6pm - 9pm
FOOD + JAPANESE+SAN FRANCISCO