Where’s the Beef At Gozu? It’s In Practically Everything

At the new Gozu -- dining is like theater with the kitchen its stage.
At the new Gozu — dining is like theater with the kitchen its stage.

Much like you wouldn’t expect to a half chicken set before you at a yakitori restaurant, don’t come to the new Gozu in San Francisco craving a brontosaurus-sized steak.

Nope, you won’t find that here.

Unlike so many Wagyu-focused restaurants of late in the Bay Area, this one doesn’t focus solely on the primo primal cuts. Instead, Chef-Owner Marc Zimmerman employs a nose-to-tail philosophy here, making use of far more parts of the Japanese specialty-breed, heavily marbled cow than a typical steakhouse ever would.

You’ll find him burning the bones as charcoal, rendering the fat to make sauces and to preserve vegetables, and using lean cuts to even make a house-made version of shoyu.

Charcoal-grilled skewer of the flat-iron of Hokkaido A5 Wagyu Snow Beef.
Charcoal-grilled skewer of the flat-iron of Hokkaido A5 Wagyu Snow Beef.

Zimmerman got the idea for this unique restaurant about five years ago when he was the chef at Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco. He would regularly travel to Japan to source Wagyu from farmers there. But back then, he was only buying the loins, which prompted the farmers to question when he would buy the entire animal. After all, a farmer can’t make a living by only selling part of a cow. The only way to maintain a sustainable business is to make use of every bit of what you’re raising.

It got Zimmerman thinking, and agreeing that it only made sense to buy the entire animal.

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Behind the Doors of Hiroshi in Los Altos

A5 Wagyu sando at Hiroshi in Los Altos.
A5 Wagyu sando at Hiroshi in Los Altos.

It’s a good bet that not many ordinary mortals have dined at Hiroshi in downtown Los Altos.

After all, when it opened its doors two years ago, it was easily staked a claim to being the most expensive and most exclusive restaurant in the Bay Area. That’s because the Japanese restaurant, which essentially acts as your own private restaurant, serves only eight diners per night — at $400 per person on up, excluding tax, tip and beverages. What’s more, whether you were a party of six, four or two, you had to pay the full price of eight diners.

Hand-cut Japanese crystal known as Edokiriko.
Hand-cut Japanese crystal known as Edokiriko.

But Hiroshi recently changed that policy, making the restaurant more accessible and affordable. Well, sort of. The 10-course dinner now starts at $575 per person, exclusive of tax, tip, and beverages. But you need only a minimum of four diners to make a reservation now.

Owned by Chef Hiroshi Kimura and Japanese businessman Iwata Tsuyoshi, the restaurant has hosted the likes of Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, as well as other tech titans.

Chef Hiroshi Kimura.
Chef Hiroshi Kimua.

This summer, the chef hosted an intimate group of six food writers, including yours truly, to experience his traditional Japanese cuisine served against a backdrop of dazzling art and plateware in a serene dining room dominated by 16-foot raw-edge table, fashioned from an 800-year-old zelkova tree, the same type of wood used to construct Japanese temples.

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Radicchio Dumplings For A Taste of the Italian Alps

Easy bread dumplings that taste like Thanksgiving stuffing.
Easy bread dumplings that taste like Thanksgiving stuffing.

With winter just around the corner, you crave comfort food that will fill you up with true warmth.

The recipes in the new “Alpine Cooking: Recipes and Stories from Europe’s Grand Mountaintops” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, do exactly that because, after all, they highlight the hearty foods of Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France.

It’s by Meredith Erickson, a veteran cookbook author, who splits her time between Montreal and Milan.

The book is a a travelogue of the picture-perfect, snow-capped Italian and Swiss alps. You just want to step inside the photos to go for a hike or schuss down the slopes.

The 80 recipes hit the spot, too, after a day of invigorating mountaineering. Think schnitzels and strudels, with plenty of cheese thrown in for good measure. Enjoy everything from “Veal Carbonnade with Polenta” and “Venison Ragout” to “Hangover Soup with Cheese Dumplings” and “Chartreuse Souffle.”

“Radicchio Dumplings” is like Thanksgiving stuffing meets matzo balls, which makes them especially appropriate to enjoy at this time of year with the holiday nearly upon us.

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A Sneak Taste of Mentone

Michelin three-starred Chef David Kinch awaits the opening of his new Aptos restaurant.
Michelin three-starred Chef David Kinch awaits the opening of his new Aptos restaurant.

Although a 2019 opening was expected for Chef David Kinch’s newest restaurant, Mentone in Aptos, eager diners will have to wait a little longer.

Like most under-construction restaurants these days, permit approvals have taken longer than expected. So, Mentone will likely open in the first half of January 2020 instead.

That’s what Kinch confirmed last week, while hosting a pop-up at Manresa Bread in Campbell, where he debuted some of the lusty, soulful food he’ll be serving at Mentone, the first Italian restaurant by this Michelin three-starred chef.

A few pastries remaining in the case at the start of the pop-up.
A few pastries remaining in the case at the start of the pop-up.
The dining room at Manresa Bread in Campbell set with more tables for the Mentone pop-up.
The dining room at Manresa Bread in Campbell set with more tables for the Mentone pop-up.

“People think I’m purposely delaying the opening to build more suspense,” he says with a laugh. “But that’s not true. It’s out of my hands.”

Yes, after conquering the highest echelons of fine-dining with Manresa, artisan bread-baking with Manresa Bread (Los Gatos, Los Altos, and Campbell), and the spirit of the Big Easy with the Bywater in Los Gatos, Kinch is turning his attention to the cuisine of the Italian and French Riviera, from which Mentone gets its name. It’ll also be the first restaurant on the “other side of the hill” of Highway 17 for Kinch, who has called Santa Cruz home for decades.

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Autumn Was Made For Gingered Apple Pork Chops

Easy cooking, easy clean-up in one pan.
Easy cooking, easy clean-up in one pan.

Pork, apples and grapes are an unbeatable trio especially at this time of year.

Best yet, “Gingered Apple Pork Chops” can be prepared in just one skillet. It’s practically fast enough for a weeknight meal and impressive enough looking for company, too.

It’s from the new cookbook, “Half Baked Harvest Super Simple: More Than 125 Recipes for Instant, Overnight, Meal-Prepped, and Easy Comfort Foods” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by Colorado recipe developer Tieghan Gerard, creator of the blog, Half Baked Harvest.

Included are more than 125 recipes, most of which take 30 minutes or less to make. As the title implies, these are dishes that make use of organized prepping, streamlined techniques, a well-stocked pantry, and helpful gadgets at times.

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