2942 S. Norfolk St.
San Mateo, CA 94403
By Henry Kwan
Why did we dine here? – Inshou recently opened in the Marina Plaza shopping center, just off Highway 101’s Hillsdale exit. We were shopping at Marina supermarket and decided to give this new place a try.
San Mateo is home to a large Japanese and Asian population making it ground zero for some excellent Japanese restaurants including Hotaru, Yakitori Kokko, and Sushi Sam. Our last visit was in November 2013
Insider Tip – Check out the specials board, order the specialties.
Cuisine – Japanese Izakaya
Location – Marina Plaza, San Mateo
Opened – December 2010
Service – Inshou was pretty busy and clearly overloaded. The servers did their best, but don’t look for greatness here.
Verdict – Inshou surprised us with very good Japanese food. We were not expecting much given how empty the place was, but can heartily recommend this restaurant. The waiter said they are owned by a seafood distributor, so they get fresh seafood all the time.
If you find yourself headed up 101 and see a huge traffic jam near Highway 92, turn off at the Hillsdale exit, stop here for a cold one and some small plates.
Signature Dishes – Hamachi Kama, tempura, grilled items Yakitori.
Inshou’s Menu features a wide variety of small plates from grilled items to sashimi to sushi to small plate specials. Well priced lunch specials are also available during lunch.
Full Inshou image set
Agedashi tofu ($4.50) or deep fried tofu was a huge dish filled with 3 big chunks of lightly fried tofu.
Sashimi Salad ($11.50) was recommended by the server and is definitely worth ordering. Lots of high quality fresh fish, sandwiched in a nice looking salad.
Pea Sprouts ($7.50) was a simple stir fried dish we ordered to balance out the meal. Fairly simple and well made.
Crayfish tempura ($8.50) was recommended by the waitress and on the specials board. A large serving of deep-fried fun that possessed they lot of stuck together items including some delicious crayfish and julienned vegetables.
Hama Kama ($8.50) or grilled yellow tail collar had 2 large pieces of salt and pepper encrusted fish, full of inside goodness.
Yaki Oni giri($3.50) is a worth while dish to get. Rice ball with salmon, plum, seaweed.
Plain Yaki onigiri ($3.50) is a plain version of the popular fried rice cake. Good size and nice crisp outside make it a hit.
Yu Tofu ($6.50) looked pristine but perhaps bland in water. It came with some spices on the side that added some much needed color.
Asari Saka Mushi ($7) were nicely steamed clams in sake broth. The soup is a perfect match for rice.
Oyster Mushrooms ($4) were sizable and meaty. Worthwhile for sure.
Butabara ($5) salt – Pork belly was fatty as expected. Rich, savory textures.
Nabeyaki Udon ($11) included a top-notch udon filled with chicken, veggies, fish cake, egg and a shrimp tempura. The broth was average.
Kurobuta Nabe ($9.50) is a Japanese hot broth with lots of tender pork, tofu, and Napa cabbage vegetables. Another large dish filled with a savory broth.
Kamo shio ($7.50) was a grill salted duck on the specials menu. Thin, peppery, salty and best eaten with some lemon.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Short Ribs ($7) salt were a bit fatty and medium rare but didn’t possess much flavor.
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)