Which means I might not have said hello to silky, shitake-studded chawanmushi or met one of my new favorite bowls of garlic ramen. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Does anyone else use their garage for storage (and not for parking a car?) Ok yes, I happen to be one those people. So this story begins when MFM bought a new car, and after we cleaned it out, started parking his car in the garage when he visited.
However, we soon discovered that the opening and closing of the old, antiquated garage door was causing a huge, disturbing clatter. Enter family friend Pat-strami, who generously offered to help install a new Home Depot-bought garage door opener, which saved me from plunking down almost $700 to hire someone.
So as a thank you, we took Pat-strami to dinner. He chose Miki, a tiny Japanese restaurant in the outer Richmond. I don’t know why I’ve never been here before! It’s tiny – holding 8-10 tables at most – but its compact kitchen churned out some of the tastiest, most reasonable, and authentic-tasting Japanese food that I’ve had in a long, long time.
The aforementioned garlic ramen was rich, hearty and toothsome, topped with tender pork belly and a potent punch of garlic – and was probably one of two or three bowls I’ve had in San Francisco that I’d go back for again and again.
Our appetizers of agedashi tofu, a spicy scallop roll, and seaweed salad were among the best I’ve tasted, and the karage curry delivered the deep-fried, spicy kick it's supposed to. But our table was probably most impressed with the chawanmushi, a smooth, silky dashi-flavored custard that was studded with shitake mushrooms.
Which was special, as it’s a dish you don’t see everyday. Also unique – they serve natto – a sticky, slippery dish of fermented soybeans – if that’s your cup of tea.
We ended the meal with a yummy dessert of fried mochi, red bean and green tea ice cream. It was one of the best meals I’d had in a while, and I’ll happily go back. And by the way, just in case you’re wondering – my new garage door opener, the Chamberlain Whisper Drive, is really, really awesome. I'd recommend that too.