Koji Osakaya is, I’m told, a chain. My brother-in-law believes there are versions of this chain in Los Angeles and also in Japan. You can find web sites for this restaurant on the Internet, and search engines also turn up a location in Seattle Washington. The web site, though, only mentions restaurants in Oregon. It’s as if a regional portion of the chain has hijacked the website. Like most Japanese restaurants in Japantown, Osakaya has an extensive display of food in glass cases outside.
We came here on a day when finding a place for my mother-in-law to eat was paramount. She skipped a ton of restaurants and settled on this one. It was crowded. There was a line out the door. Most of the people wanting to eat here were Asian. Once we got inside, the tables were largely set up as booths. There were thin wooden dividers between the booths. Wait staff was divided between helping out customers and working a “take out” window. Walls were yellow and black and there was interesting calligraphy on the walls. The seating felt a little cramped to me, more a Japanese model of how space is used than something out of the American West.
We took a look at the menu and ordered. I had never had yakuniku before, so I ordered that. My wife ordered tempura, my mother-in-law ordered sashimi. The girls (my niece and my daughter) ordered curry. Depending on what people ordered, miso soup or salads would arrive early, so those tended to be shared. The dinner plates arrived last. Many of these came with chirashi sushi along with the entrée.
I enjoyed the yakuniku. My wife wasn’t entirely satisfied with her food; I don’t recall why currently. The sashimi was good. The chirashi sushi was decent, but surely wasn’t as nice as what I’ve had at, say, Bishoku. Overall it was decent, the kind of experience you might expect from a mid range chain from Japan whose purpose was to feed Japanese at a reasonable price.
Verdict: Externally, visually impressive. A little cramped, a little harried, but decent food, and mother-in-law approved. Recommended.
1737 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94115