Taste of Nihon in Berkeley

11 07 2008

It has been a while since LZ ( Lady Z) and I have gone out and had some fun or got to visit with friends. This Thursday we did both. The Tokyo Delegation was up own way so we decided to visit meet for dinner at Kirala Restaurant in Berkeley. LZ and I have been there before but it has been awhile. The Delegation had not been there. They had heard how good it is and also the owner is part of a Blasian couple like us. Additionally there is a Robata (Japanese grill ) there, not many here in CA.

LC and I arrived about 7pm , expecting it to be a line as always and no parking. We were surprised to find we got 1 of two street spaces right in front and no line. We thought maybe it was not open yet. I got out to check , it was open and pretty full. I spoke with the owner a bit in Japanese, she remember me once I spoke to her. She had me sign in and I said we were looking for our friends and it would be a few minutes. It would take a while for our table to be ready anyway she said.

I went back to the car for LZ, we hung out for some 10-15 min. The owner came out and got us, saying our table was ready, so we went in to sit. The Delegation we found out later was sitting on the Bay Bridge in traffic, pretty typical coming out of the City. So we ordered a drinks and appetizer whilst waiting. I had Lychee sake and LZ had Nihon no Beeru

Shortly afterward they arrived. Zu-san ordered Shochu. The waitress was not sure if they had it as not many Americans order that. However they did find some, but… served it with to much ice. Not Japanese style, but the second glass he explained how to do it and it was ok.

The food was excellent. We ordered a lot from the grill they were pleased with the deliciousness of the taste, just like Japan! Desho, I said. The owner came over after a while and I made introductions. We were a bit of celebrities as the table speaking Japanese. We chatted with a couple of the waitress one of who knew LZ from before. It was a good evening, we had a sense of being back in Japan.

Finally we finished dinner and most of the people were leaving, we were still chatting. We were the last of 3 tables still there. There was a Japanese fellow who had spoken with us earlier was leaving and he stopped by our table again. After a brief chat, he sits with us, and we have a very interesting conversation about Japan in the 60’s and 70’s. I’m glad he switched to English , because I was only getting about half of what he was saying in Japanese, I still have a long way t go to follow 100%. He told us of hanging out with a lot of GI ‘s, played music some, loved, rock, R&B, did acid ( back in the day) partied a lot. He told us of the Black & White Culture in Japan back in the VietNam era. Meanwhile the staff was putting everything away, counting receipts, etc. We were the only customers left. Sumimasen I said to the Lady owner, while on my way back from the Loo, she said, no problem, you’re enjoying yourselves.

We continued to chat with the guy for about 10 min or so. Now it is close to 11:ppm and he excused himself. We asked if he was the Sushi chief, he said no, I’m the owner.

We were shocked! We all thought that the lady was the sole owner, but then just figured he was a partner. No matter, so we felt less bad about staying late, hanging with an owner, sweet. Yeah Good times!




2 responses

19 07 2008

Lovely story and great food photos (I lurve food photos!)

Just getting back into blogworld again – missed ya, nice to back following your life story :o)

31 07 2008
Bookmarks about Zen

[…] – bookmarked by 2 members originally found by giotse on July 18, 2008 Taste of Nihon in Berkeley https://zensekai.wordpress.com/2008/07/11/taste-of-nihon-in-berkeley/ – bookmarked by 2 members […]

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