I always have good food living in SF. However, I don’t often have amazing food that blows my mind and keeps me thinking about it the day after. That’s what I had last Friday at my friend Ryan’s Eatwith dinner. I have written about his Kamayan dinner previously, and I thought his cooking couldn’t get any better. But this far surpassed my expectations. Trying to collect my thoughts on his dinner was difficult because there were so many good things about it.
This dinner was called “Homeakase” which is a play on Omakase, the traditional Japanese meal that consists of selections by the chef. As you can probably guess from the name, this dinner revolved around Japanese cuisine. This got me pretty excited because I absolutely LOVE Japanese food. It took place at a beautiful house in the outer mission which gave the meal a homey feel. I especially love these types of dinners because it feels like close friends and family sitting around the dining table sharing a meal.
I likened the flow of this meal to a symphony. The intro was a scrumptious cucumber salad topped with salmon roe and smoked black cod. The balance of this dish was perfect. The smokey flavor of the fish really came through, and the vinegar gave the dish an extra kick. Ryan used a combination of different vinegars to achieve this flavor. I thought this was a great start because it was fresh and the flavors not overwhelming which is the hallmark of great Japanese food.
The dinner slowly crescendoed from there to a hearty ramen dish. We had a shoyu ramen which means the broth was flavored with soy sauce. The chicken-based broth was cooked for 6 hours. The long cooking time helps slowly coax flavor out of the chicken and dashi. It was topped with a soft boiled egg, sous vide pork, and scallions. I loved this dish. It was light which is not something I usually say about ramen. The ratio between the noodles, toppings, and broth was perfect. The only thing I would change is maybe add a little vegetable such as a bamboo shoot to give it more texture.
After the ramen course, the dinner entered its third movement. This part of the dinner was definitely my favorite. It consisted of 5 different pieces of nigiri served to us one at a time. As we only had 6 people at the dinner, Ryan was able to prepare each piece of nigiri in front of us. This added so much to the experience. Watching him masterfully craft each piece was like watching a violinist perform his solo, so beautiful and in the moment. We had nigiris topped with hamachi, sweet shrimp, seared salmon belly, scallops, and seared truffle steak respectively. My hands down favorite was the seared salmon belly. Watching him make it was incredible. The salmon had this sweet but smokey flavor, and it just melts in your mouth. I loved the idea of searing the salmon with a blow torch because it adds a little something extra that takes the nigiri from good to great.
The finale was a sweet green tea mochi ice cream which was the perfect ending to a great dinner. Throughout the meal, we were served sake from a Berkeley distillery called Takara Sake. I can’t believe I haven’t had this sake before as I have been living in the Bay Area for close to 8 years! It was smooth, fresh, and complimented the meal very well. I literally downed multiple cups of this stuff because it tasted so good!
There are no words to express how blown away I was by this meal. I would go back again and again. It is also very affordable at $57 per person. I pay way more for a meal half as good at a normal SF restaurant. I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the Bay Area or a local who is looking for a different type of food experience. You can go here to book. I promise you won’t regret it.