115 De Anza Blvd.
San Mateo, CA 94402
Wakuriya is a Michelin Starred Restaurant in a San Mateo strip mall. They’ve been around for several years and have established themselves as one of the finest Japanese restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. The owner and chef Katsuhiro Yamasaki used to work at Kaygetsu (a now closed Japanese Fine dining restaurant). His wife also helps to run this tiny restaurant. You need to book roughly one month in advance as this restaurant only has 4 tables and a small counter.
Wakuriya blends traditional Japanese food with Modern innovation. They focus on the best ingredients throughout the nine course prix fixe meal. Due to the set menu and small number of diners, the chef can be very consistent.
It was about time that we dined at this legendary restaurant.
Why did we dine here? – Michelin Star as well as stellar reputation.
Summary – Wakuriya is definitely one of the finest Japanese restaurants in the Bay Area. It is worth a trip if you love Japanese food and haven’t tried this type of cuisine. Although portion size is on the small side, all 9 courses ended up making us quite full.
Insider Tip – Book one month in advance.
Cuisine – Modern Japanese
Chef – Katsuhiro Yamasaki
Location – San Mateo Crystal Springs Shopping Center
Opened – 2008
Decor, Vibe – Wakuriya is a tiny restaurant with minimalist Japanese decor.
Wakuriya’s Menu changes monthly
Signature Dishes – American Kobe Beef, Sashimi
Full Wakuriya image set
August 2012 Menu ($90)
mini “hiyashi somen”(cold Japanese angel pasta) with “ika to toumorokoshi no kaki-age”(squid and corn fritter) – A cold soba dish that was light, delicate but small.
Zensai (Appetizers) assorted appetizers
Snake River Farms American Kobe beef chilled “shabu shabu”, “nama-yuba” (fresh tofu skin) , “uni” (sea urchin) and okra with fresh tomato extract clear gelée, “dashi-maki” (rolled egg omelet) with “eda-mame” (green soy bean).
Three tiny bites. The beef really shined with its medium rare, thin, delicate flavors. The other two were okay.
On mono (Hot dish)
“kamo to natsu-yasai no konabe-jitate” Maple Leaf Farms duck and summer vegetables slow-cooked in tiny clay pot – This dish was okay a bit on the robust side.
today’s chef’s choice “tosa-shoyu” (bonito soy sauce)
Three kinds of excellent raw fish from different parts of the world. The Japanese tuna was particularly good. A small bundle of very good tempura with a thin and light coating.
Age mono (Deep fried dish)
“ebi shinjo no nasu hasami-age” deep-fried shrimp cake sandwiched between sliced Japanese eggplant
Manganji “tougarashi” (pepper) “shiso” (Japanese basil) salt.
Fresh tomato sorbet with black sesame – A weird palaette that felt out of place.
Yaki mono (Broiled dish)
“gyokai no yama-imo au gratin” seafood (Alaskan black cod and Hokkaido scallop) and
Sun smiling valley farms mushrooms (King-oh and shimeji) grilled with Japanese mountain potato sauce in petit casserole.
This chawan mushi style dish came in a cast iron pot and showed off the chef’s talents.
Gohan mono (Rice dish)
“kani to abura-age no tamago-toji donburi” (red crab and deep-fried bean curd omelet over rice) – Possessed very complex flavors, very bold and interesting.
“tai chazuke” (tai snapper sashimi mixed with sesame paste over rice in hot dashi broth) – More of a soup with very tender fish and smokey flavors. We would pick the other rice dish.
Yellow peach panna cotta “shoga” (ginger) honey sauce.
Was very smooth with lots of strong ginger flavor.
Service – Wakuriya is a tiny restaurant making service pretty intimate and very good.
Value – Wakuriya is not cheap but this unique experience is priced in line with other restaurants in this class.
Alternatives – Restaurants similar to Wakuriya, Kiss Seafood is about as close as we can get.
Verdict – Wakuriya is a must visit for Japanese food fans. This unique restaurant serves up excellent cuisine in a cozy environment.