Daisy Bateman

San Mateo: The Quest For Tempura

As you may know, I recently moved to San Mateo, California. It is a fine place, if somewhat heavy on the yuppie factor, and short of quality bakeries. What it does have, though, is a lot of Japanese restaurants; approximately five hundred in the downtown area, by my estimate. This is good, because I like Japanese food. I particularly like tempura, if it is good, but that is the problem. Lately, it seems, most of the tempura I have had has not been very good, but thick and greasy and over-battered. But it is my belief that good tempura does exist and I only have to find it, which is why I have devised a plan:
Every Thursday, from now until I get bored or move, I am going to go to a different Japanese restaurant in downtown San Mateo and order their tempura (if possible, in a combo dinner). I will eat it, judge it, and report back here, with pictures.

And so it begins:

Kisaku Restaurant
47 E. 4th Ave
San Mateo, CA

General: Fairly busy for a Thursday, about thirty percent full when I got there with more coming in as I left. Service prompt and reasonably attentive. Damp towel sealed in plastic at each setting, for cleaning hands before eating (I think). Chopsticks only.

Food: $17 for a combination dinner of tempura and sashimi, with pickled vegetables, soup and rice. Tempura was representative of the problems with the dish: tasty and crisp when first served, soggy when it cooled. Sashimi (tuna) was very good. Possibly a better place for sushi than cooked food.

Tempura grade: 5/10
Overall grade: 7/10

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