47 E 4th Avenue (Near El Camino Real)
San Mateo, CA 94401
Kisaku Restaurant is a Japanese Restaurant in downtown San Mateo. It is one of the better ones that actually has some Japanese folks cooking. They have the usual sushi items and rolls, as well as a white board with some Izayaka (Small plate) dishes. We tried to stick to more exotic items. Our last visit was in the Summer of 2015.
Decor, Vibe – Kisaku has classic Asian decor with a lowered wood beam ceiling and sushi bar up front. It was crowded with families, a mix of Asians and Caucasians eating.
Kisaku Menu Pictures (Click to zoom into any picture)
Pay attention to the Specials Boards
Grilled Duck ($7) was very good. Robata charcoal grilled, good quality duck, and lots of good texture.
Niku Jaga ($4) Marinated Beef and Potatoes with mung bean noodles. It had lots of potatoes in a robust broth, but not a lot of meat. Still a good dish.
Yakitori ($5 for 2) skewered chicken teriyaki style was very good. One of the better ones we had. Sauce was not to sweet.
Tofu Agedashi ($4) deep fried tofu was excellent. Very lightly fried, thin batter, very good sauce.
ChaWan Mushi ($7) requires ordering 2 sometimes, as they are freshly steamed for you. A fine mixture of egg, veggies, mushrooms, seafood steamed in tasty broth. Be patient, as it takes a while to arrive.
Shioyaki Saba Dinner ($10) with miso soup and rice was very good. The fish was grilled and came out very moist unlike most places. Salad was forgettable.
Inaniwa udon ($12) is a special extra thin udon. More delicate than normal ones.
Beef Udon ($9) had lots of thinly sliced beef with good flavors. Good heaping serving of Udon too.
Snapper in a pot ($13) was a mish mash soup with parts of fish leftover from sushi slicing, vegetables like napa cabbage, green onion, and rice noodles. A nice filling dish that is not too heavy.
Buta Kakuni ($6) is side pork with sweet soy sauce, sort of like stewed pork. It was not as fatty as we thought it might be. A nice tender meat with lots of sweet meaty flavor from the broth.
Miami Roll ($8.50) Mango, Salmon, Avocado w/soybean paper was an unusual looking roll. Yes, the name of this roll sounds like you should run away.
Lunch Box with Chicken Teriyaki ($9.50) hit the mark. Decent chicken teriyaki and a reasonable portion size.
Spicy Tuna don ($11) lets you carefully mix up the tuna and rice into a nice consistency. Not too hot.
Udon ($7) was pretty average. Portion size was on the small end.
Cold Soba was also pretty standard. Portion size was better than the udon though.
Duck Hot Pot ($13) sounded intriguing. Many slices of duck, which tasted like liver in a very hot broth filled with napa cabbage, scallions, clear noodles, and more.
Soy sauce ramen ($12), Miso Ramen ($11) – Visit nearby Santa Ramen instead. This is not their specialty. The miso broth tasted like miso soup.
Kisaku Restaurant has been knocked for bad service. Service was average with the servers running around constantly. Like many small restaurants, they only have enough servers for slow to medium times. On our last visit in 2013, the place was 60% full, so service was very good. They offer solid Japanese food. Limited wine menu, but a good selection of sakes. Hotaru and Sushi Sam are the other 2 standout Japanese restaurants in downtown San Mateo, which seems to have one on almost every block. Kisaku seems adept at putting out authentic Japanese dishes. We have to try the Oidon next time.