All photos (1)Kisaku Japanese Restaurant

Kisaku Japanese Restaurant

8.05 reviews
££££
Asian/Pacific, Japanese, Sushi
Ranked #33 in San Mateo restaurants
Popular with:
  • 9.8
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  • 8.6
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47 E 4th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401-4004
(650) 347-4121
https://www.facebook.com/kisakujapanese/
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Member Reviews(5)

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San Francisco
Community Manager

This is one of my all time favorite Japanese staples! Most people make the mistake of coming here and eating bento box meals, which don't get me wrong are good, but not the best that this place has to offer. As a true Japanese restaurant, it's best to order dishes a la carte. They have great nigiri (sashimi on rice) too if you want to order from the sushi chef.

Some of my favorite dishes are the salted grilled duck, beef tongue (which I won't eat anywhere else), hamachi kama, oshitashi (marinated spinach), amaebi (sweet shrimp), grilled eggplant, and the list goes on! If you need more food suggestions, look at Chris T's review. I usually eat what he eats since I go with their family.

One of the great things about this place is that they are really consistent. My bf even told me that after he got back from Japan, he was afraid that his taste buds had been too spoiled while he was out there and worried that now that he was back home, all Japanese food would be uncomperable. But Kisaku didn't let him down. I think that says something!!

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Local from Santa Clara

The food here is better than I have expected. Granted Kisaku didn't really swiped me off my feet, it is a place I wouldn't mind going back. I prefer Kisaku to the more popular Japanese restaurants like Hotaru or Joy Sushi in the vicinity.

First of all, this is a very authentic place ran by Japanese people. You can find appetizers (Izakaya) dishes, the usual kitchen dinner entrees, traditional nigiri/sashimi and some western style rolls on their menu. Not a very extensive selection but it shouldn't be hard to find something you are in mood for.

The Chawan Mushi that many recommended was indeed excellent. There is nothing fancy about their version of this simple steamed egg dish. Just a very cozy homecooked style with silky smooth texture. Although it is listed at the appetizers section, the preparation time is significantly longer than other dishes. If you plan to get this, don't be too surprised if it's served at the end of your dinner.

The Yanagawa Modoki was tasty but a bit too sweet.

Special Chirishi is quite reasonably priced and the quality of the fish is decent given the price range. Unfortunately, the sushi rice was not soft enough and the uni sashimi could really be fresher. The highlight was probably the real crab meat. Wish the selection of fish could be more 'special'.

Their western style rolls were better than expected. Ordered the Rainbow Roll and the Yum Yum Roll. Both maki were nicely presented with a clean subtle flavor.

Not a bad place to get a nice sit down Japanese meal if you want to avoid those crazy long lines at other places.

Recommended for:Family Travellers
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There seems to be a gazillion Japanese restaurants in downtown area of San Mateo.

Sadly less than a handful are really worth the bother.

The rest are overun to the ground by Chinese or Korean folks, offering the generics as best as possible. Yeah there's a lot of competition, but it seems to be more like a monopoly of mediocrity. Cough cough Sushi Bistro, Maru Maru, Finding Ni-Mo, Joy Sushi, Tenka etc.

Folks in the know flock to the overrated $u$hi $am'$. Don't get me wrong, me love Sam's sushi long time since 1996 (although me love his cooked side dishes more last time, or his jive ass handrolls, more than the fu$n nigiri), but prices are not coming down anytime soon.

Hotaru is a much cheaper alternative for generic Japanese, but their quality seems to be hit and miss (ditto for Izakaya Mai minus the champon ramen).

Kisaku looks like it has been there over 20+ years. It reminds me of a cross between Gombei San Jose in the layout, where you have tables and chairs, and 7 counter seats facing the kitchen and grill (and in addition, a 6 seater sushi bar, which Gombei does not have), and sports a menu layout somewhat similar (but smaller in variety) to Takara in San Francisco (when Takara was still owned by Sho Chiku Bai).

The good thing is that they also have a long white board of daily specials near the left end of the counter, in Japanese and English. If anything those items there seem to be the best ones to get for something less generic. Unfortunately my memory is not so good this time, only remembering inawa udon ($12), toro sushi, and various grilled, stewed, type dishes on that white board.

Nigiri here is simple and very decent portion wise with a nice sour accent on the vinegared sushi rice. Yep it produces the lethal sushi burp gas, which is like a sign of authenticity.

More expensive that Hotaru, but better quality (and thus better value than Sushi Sam's).

Very decent saba, and while ikura was shio (not shoyu marination), the egg sacs were nice and round, and you could even pick them up individually. They were not clumped together and I haven't seen near perfect looking ikura like that in a while!

Also a plus was that the ikura was not overly salted. Even the salmon skin inside out roll with cucumber and kaiware (with toasted sesame seeds sprinkled outside) tasted good, though a little overgrilled for the fish and skin.

The chicken udon here was also very decent, with a very enjoyable broth where you can tell they put in effort to make it. If you dare, try the udon at Sushi Bistro (who the f**k adds carrots and broccoli to udon?!) or Ni-Mo, and you will learn to love Kisaku's version (where they absolutely do not screw it up).

One mild disagreement here.....they have saba battera sushi, which I would have tried given how nice their saba was, but HELL NO, NOT FOR $17!!!

Hopefully one day I will try their gyu tan shio, oden, and a few other appetizer dishes.

I can see why Japanese expats like it here. I can taste the authentic Japanese flavor here, even though it isn't anything unique, but at least they do the simple stuff way better than the competition (or monopoly).

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Local from San Jose

I heart Kisaku!

Haven't been here in a while but I do know that my first time was fulfilling and memorable. Given all the good food in the area this was some really good sushi. The acquaintance that brought me here swears it's some of the best tempura but I digress the sushi is where it's at. I like the fact that it's no frills and simply about the food....don't get me wrong the staff takes care of you without all the hype and neon radiation that other venues may try to bait and switch you with - sacrificing good food for aesthetics.

Watch out for parking though and remember how to bring coins unless you're lucky enough to find parking some where around there.

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Local from San Mateo

Good food friendly at reasonable price.

Recommended for:Family TravellersFoodies
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Kisaku Japanese Restaurant

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