There are once in a lifetime dining experiences then, there are the places you just fall in love with that you want to return to time and time again.
State Bird Provisions in San Francisco is, exactly that restaurant for me. They serve dishes dim sum style: changes daily, on trays, and there is a sense of urgency. “Hurry and grab it or they might sell out!” And before I know it, I am racking up dish after dish after dish. Which in any other establishment would be a chore to finish but at State Bird, not only are they cooking next level food, I taste the passion and curiosity in every single bite and it’s the best thing ever.
Granted, not every dish works but I would go there over and over and over again and order the same exact way.
In Japan, Kotaro in Shibuya has quickly become that establishment for me.
Kotaro-san is trained in traditional Japanese haute cuisine and has his fundamentals DOWN. His dashi and familiar dishes are out of the world delicious. But what makes him stand out (aside from being over 6 feet tall and an overall friendly guy) is he isn’t afraid to experiment.
I would’ve never thought ume with a buta (pork) shabu shabu and cabbage hot pot would delight my senses in a new sort of umami bomb sensation I’ve never experienced before. Beyond the hot pot, there are many signature dishes (potato salad with smoked egg, minced katsu <— AMAZING) and lots more.
He prepares everything in his cluttered open kitchen jam packed with pots, pans, dishes and for what he is known for: his curated sakes.
Kotaro may not be everyone’s thing (especially the Michelin chasing, chef groupie types) but it is easily, one of my favorite places in Tokyo I will proudly bring anyone and everyone.
Bookings are a tad tricky — just show up.
He’s open until 1am M – Saturday
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