Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dining Out: Kiji

Lately we've taken to exploring our neighborhood on date night, specifically the corner of 23rd and Guerrero. First, it was Beast and the Hare. Recently, Kiji.
Another find at Guerrero and 22nd: Kiji #seafood
Kiji reminds me a lot of my favorite sushi spot in San Francisco: Sushi Zone. There are marked differences:
  • Seating: Sushi Zone seats 16 intimately; Kiji more.
  • Reservations: Sushi Zone is first come, first serve; Kiji takes reservations--perfect for those with babysitters.
  • Menu: Sushi Zone offers Baked Sea Bass with Mango and Baked Mushrooms stuffed with Salmon and Mango for appetizers and rolls with Mango and Papaya; Kiji does not. Kiji offers an array of carpaccios and tatakis; Sushi Zone does not.
For our first dinner at Kiji, we decided to start with Gyoza and then order a mix of fresh fish nigiri: Toro, Walu (Butterfish), Ankimo (Monkfish Liver), and Uni (Sea Urchin) and some house specialties: Live Scallops, Aji Tataki (Horse Mackerel), and New Albacore Tataki.
Kiji offers a choice of filling with the Gyoza; we opted for Shrimp. It was nice and light, a perfect start to the meal. The wrapper was thin and didn't overwhelm the taste of the delicate Shrimp.
Next up was the Live Scallops, which were served in two parts. First the crudo: great texture and slightly sweet flavor. This ties for the best dish of our meal. Second, the stomachs of the Scallops. I'm sure this is a delicacy and I'm glad I tried it, but it's something I could skip in the future. The dish was gritty and had a strong taste of the ocean.
Our third dish was the New Albacore Tataki; this was my other tie for the best dish of our meal. I loved the balance of sweet and spicy flavors in the onion, spicy daikon, and ponzu.
Next up was our nigiri. The fish was really fresh. We finished up our meal with the Aji Tataki. It was another course served in two parts. I was a little wary when our server said she'd be taking the bones and frying them up. After taking a tentative bite, both of us wolfed down the fried goodness. Definitely a dish we'd order again.
Kiji has a broad menu with lots of options. There's guaranteed to be something for everyone. We'll be coming back multiple times. It'll be a challenge not to get early favorites and get in a rut.
What's your favorite sushi?
Have you ever made it at home?
Bon Appetit!
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.