Preserving pure Japanese cuisine

Preserving pure Japanese cuis... Preserving pure Japanese cuis... Preserving pure Japanese cuis... Preserving pure Japanese cuis... Preserving pure Japanese cuis... Preserving pure Japanese cuis...
Preserving pure and unchanging Japanese cuisine
By Elli Sekine

“Kiss Seafood” is located in a corner of a building which is not very easy to spot from the main street of Japan Town. No sigh is up outside, so hardly anyone will notice there is a restaurant there. There are only ten seats, and the space looks more like a coffee shop. The interior is almost white, and is clean and bright. The seasonal fresh flowers and plants illuminated by the light from the high ceiling gives a comfortable dining ambience to the space. This small place is actually a pioneer of introducing Omakase-style menus in the San Francisco area, and has been a kind of hidden gem to the regular customers and business people over the last 16 years.

“Kiss” was opened 16 years ago by Mr. Takao Nakagawa, the owner/chef, who wanted to have a place where he could enjoy full control of operations. That was what I heard from him during my first interview with him 14 years ago. Before that, Mr. Nakagawa had worked for a long time in a Japanese restaurant, and reached the point where he wanted to open his own place to serve pure traditional Japanese cuisine. Back then, in S.F., Americanized sushi and rolls were being developed, and fusion Japanese cuisine was popular among the high-end customers. However, “Kiss” kept the traditional way. The dashi was made by konbu and katsuo, and complementary small appetizers, a-la-carte dishes, sushi, and an Omakase-style traditional Japanese menu was served. In recent years, the high-end Japanese restaurants where traditional Japanese cuisine is served are very popular. The word, Omakase (chef’s special menu), has become a Japanese American term, and is used widely. I asked Mr. Nakagawa how he felt about this phenomenon. He said, “I did not care at all about the trend back then. I was just offering the kind of menu that I, as a Japanese chef, was supposed to”. In the meantime, more and more Japanese food was introduced, and at the same time, the Americans developed their taste for it, which resulted in their recent appreciation for more traditional Japanese cuisine. “Kiss”, which once seemed un-trendy, was actually the pioneer for the modern world.

The place actually doesn’t feel small once you sit down at the counter. It is because Mr. Nakagawa who values communication with the customers has applied the ideal height and depth of the tables, lighting that makes food look pretty, etc. into his design for the place. This well thought-out comfortable distance between the guests and the chef results not only in good conversations, but conveys the chef’s craftsman spirit. Guests can see the ingredients and how they are cooked from where they sit. The number of dishes that are mainly fish in the menu is not a large amount, and10 seats/2 rotations a day, 20 meals in total allows him to manage to get the right amount of food ingredients daily. He is particular about the seasonality, and pre-orders seasonal fish ingredients. “Daily Special” menu I had included 5 selective fresh fish dishes, and tender octopus was used in the sashimi, and a nimomo dish with bamboo shoots. Every ingredient had the perfect texture, and you can really enjoy each flavor. Two Omakase menus (priced at $60 or $78) depend on the sushi or sashimi ingredients. Other popular dishes besides sushi and sashimi are “Hamachi-kama or Tai-snapper collar Misozuke and vegetable cooked in broth)” ($7.50), “Chawan Mushi (eggs, vegetables and seafood steamed in broth) ($6.50), etc. The a-la-carte dishes are cooked in the traditional Japanese style, and lightly flavored to effectively enhance the natural flavor of each ingredient. They also carry more than 40 different brands of premium sake for pairing with those wonderful traditional dishes. Some of those sake brands are from well-known very rare and small breweries.

In San Francisco, there has been a big spike of commodity prices and rents in the past several years due to the IT industry bubble burst, and the minimum wage has also increased all over California. Many of the restaurant owners in the area are heavily affected by it; however, this shop has not raised the prices of most of the dishes from 16 years ago. Most of the other places charge at least $100 for an Omakase menu, so it is rare to find a place where you can pay only $60 for an Omakase menu with 5 dishes. How can they not get affected by the spike? The answer is that it is a husband and wife only operation. They were able to purchase the property at the right time, and started the business at a minimal investment. Their unchanging tastes and business operating system have overcome the global financial crisis, and allowed them to maintain the stable operation until this day. Their way of operation is not the only thing that has not changed. They still take reservations only by phone whereas everybody else uses the internet. They believe that it helps to judge the characters of the customers by the voice. This way, they rarely experience cancellation without notice. Still no sign outside, and with no advertisement, this little place seems to have won a status of a rare secret hiding place for many of their customers.

Such an operation system where the owner can have full control in a small scale restaurant may be the ideal way. You cannot expect a huge profit, but on the other hand, can be more resilient to overcome the ever-changing economy. I asked him about his prospects and dreams for the future. He said, “I would like to continue until I reach the targeted age as long as I keep my health.” I felt warm feelings by watching him enjoying the conversations with the regular customers, explaining to them about the cooking over the counter.


ジャパンタウンのメインストリートから外れた目立たない建物の一角に「Kiss Seafood」はある。外に看板もなく一見レストランと気づく人は少ないだろう。たった10席の小さなカフェのようなサイズ。店内は明るく清潔で、白を基調とした壁飾られた季節の樹木や花が高い天井からの採光が受け、居心地の良いダイニングを作り上げている。実はこの小さな店、SFで「オマカセ」メニューを始めた先駆者的な存在で、16年間常連客やビジネス客を魅了している”隠れ家的”名店なのだ。


カウンターに座ると結構広々としている。この設計は、コミュミケーションを大切にしている中川氏が、客との目線やテーブルの高さや、深さ、食べ物が綺麗に見えるライティングなどを考慮しデザインした。客との対話以外にもシェフの職人スピリットが伝わって来るこの距離感が良い。食材や調理法が目の前で見える特等席だ。魚に特化した同店のメニューの品数は多くない。1日10席2回転、全20食分。ネタも予想がつくので丁度使いきれるくらいに調整できる。中川氏のこだわりは季節に敏感であること。旬な魚はプリオーダーで調達している。「今日のスペシャル」は新鮮で活きの良い魚のセレクト5品。今日は柔らかいタコを使った料理が刺身とタケノコと一緒に煮物に使われていた。どれも具材の柔らかさが完璧で、季節の風味をたっぷり味わえる一品だ。5、6品を組み合わせたオマカセは2種類($60、$78)で寿司や刺身のネタで値段が違う。人気メニューは刺身、寿司以外アラカルトでは、ハマチや鯛のカマ味噌漬け($7.50), 茶碗蒸し($6.50)など。一品料理はどれも割烹風で食材を活かした薄味。そんなメニューに合うプレミアムな日本酒も40種類以上揃えている。中には珍しい小さな酒蔵の銘酒もある。

SFではこの5、6年、ITバブルの影響で物価、家賃が急騰し、最低賃金はカリフォルニア全体で上がり、レストランオーナー達は悲鳴を上げている。しかし同店は驚いたことに16年前からメニューの値段をほとんどあげていない。最近では「Omakase」コースであればどこも$100以上取るレストランが多い中、同店のように$60で5コース食べられる店は探しても少ないはず。物価の影響を受けていないという事だろうか? 答えはご夫婦二人だけの家族経営にあった。良い時代に物件を確保し、最小限で店を始めた結果、それが功を生じている。変わらない味、変わらない経営体制は、リーマンショックにも耐え、今でも安定した経営を持続させている。変わらないのは経営だけではなく、デジタルの時代に予約も電話のみ。相手の声を聞く事で客層も把握でき、連絡なしのキャンセルもほとんどないとか。未だに広告も看板もないが、そんな店が今では”隠れ家的存在”として、希少価値を上げているようだ。


Kiss Seafood
1700 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94115, United States
Phone: +1 415-474-2866
Open 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm, Wed - Sat
#alljapannews #japaneserestaurant #seafood


Organic vegan Japanese restaurant

Organic vegan Japanese resta... Organic vegan Japanese resta... Organic vegan Japanese resta...
Organic vegan Japanese restaurant
Popularity has resulted in two L.A. locations

By Keiko Fukuda

“Shojin” located in a shopping mall in downtown Los Angeles is a vegan restaurant where only organic vegetables are used for their dishes, but you can still enjoy the taste of authentic and creative Japanese cuisine. This reputation has been attracting vegan and gluten-free food lovers not only from all over California, but even from overseas. In order to respond to the requests from the regular visitors, the second restaurant opened in Culver City in March of 2013.

The core of this restaurant is its concept that has 4 principles; organically grown chemical-free ingredients, natural ingredients with no additives for the concern of the health of the customers, body-pleasing macrobiotic cooking originated in Japan, and vegan food which means no meat, fish, eggs or milk.

The owner, Mr. Tsuguhiro Morishima is so particular about the ingredients. He says, “There are several different ranks of organic state. We check the contents, and select what is closest possible to their natural state, and make sure that there are no additives. The price won’t affect the selection. Our head chef is a skilled cook who studied the traditional way of how to add flavors in Japanese cuisine in Japan, and is able to utilize the natural energies of the ingredients that are organic vegetables, takes them and gives them a nice subtle flavor. He makes everything - even sauces and dressings from scratch. He selects the ingredients and cooks them as a mother cooks for her children at home, so to speak.”

However, as successful as they are now, the first 3 years from the opening of the first restaurant in 2008 was a struggle. “We managed to stay in business thanks to the regular customers who agreed with and supported our concept.”

Mr. Morishima analyzes the success as follows: While many other restaurants aim for better numbers in sales and lowering of cost, we rather strived for making healthy Japanese cuisine that would impress customers. The slow but steady efforts for that goal might have been well understood and conveyed to the outside through our regular customers, and resulted in bringing people even from overseas now. Another contributing factor is the characteristic of the city of Los Angeles where many people have a strong consciousness about health and love for animals, and those people, including celebrities, are naturally attracted to the concept.”

Through his career, Mr. Morishima worked for French and Japanese restaurants in Japan, and then became in charge of hiring, educating, and allocating the staff as the chief of the banquet room staff. Moreover, he has handled big banquets for as many as 2,000 people in hotel weddings, catering events, or cruising parties with VIP including royalty and government officials. The head chef, Mr. Jun Matoshiro who built his career in Japanese cuisine in Japan has been with this restaurant since 2011.

Lastly, I asked Mr. Morishima about his future goals. He said, “I remember what a well-known Michelin chef once said. He said that chefs who can create dishes that not only taste good, but also provide health to the customers will be the true chefs of the future. Many of Shojin’s customers have allergies or cannot eat certain foods. I strongly hope that we can help such customers enjoy the experience of eating out without worry. I know that some children cannot eat birthday cakes due to allergies, so they just blow out the candles. I would like to offer such children and even adults the cakes they can eat safely. In order to realize his hope, he will open a dessert shop “Pomegranate” in April with the same concept as Shojin; Organic, natural, vegan, and gluten-free.







最後に、森島さんに今後の目標を聞いた。「あるフランスの有名なミシュランシェフの言葉を覚えています。『これからの時代は、ただ美味しいだけではなく、お客様の健康を作り出せるシェフこそが本物のシェフである』と。SHOJINに来るお客様は、アレルギーがあったり、何か食べられない物があったりする方が中心です。そんなお客様が安全に安心して楽しく外食ができるようになれば、と強く願っています。また、誕生日にキャンドルを吹き消すだけでアレルギーが原因でケーキを口にできない子供がいます。そんな子供や大人たちに安心して食べられるケーキを提供したい。そこで、SHOJINと同じコンセプト、ORGANIC,NATURAL,VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREのデザートショップ「ポメグラネイトPOMEGRANATE」を4月にオープンさせます」

Little Tokyo Shopping Center 3F, 333 S Alameda St #310, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States

Monday - Friday
5:30 - 11:00 p.m. (L.C. 10:30 p.m.)
12 - 11:00 p.m. (L.C. 10:30 p.m.)
12 - 10:00 p.m. (L.C. 9:30 p.m.)

#alljapannews #japaneserestaurant #organic #vagan


Choosing the Right Japanese Sake

Choosing the Right Japanese Sake for Your Restaurant
By Yuji Matsumoto

In this issue, I would like to mention a few pointers regarding how to select Japanese sakes that match your store.

1. Is the price set to match the average customer's spending amount?
If customer spending is about $30, please check if the price is set at least at about $6 (20% of customer spending) per person. For a group of 2, check if you have a product (300ml - 500ml) that is about $12 to $15. For this example, it is necessary to have product selections that are reasonably priced.

2. Is the sake truly compatible with the food?
I went to a yakitori restaurant the other day but most of the Japanese sakes were famous brands that didn't go well with the yakitori. You're not offering sakes that go well with the yakitori and hard to sell due to the higher prices.

3. Offer domestic Japanese sakes at a great extent.
The U.S. made 1.8L house sake at most restaurants are used for hot sake, but in reality there are some that taste even better served chilled. Also, compatibility with dishes are broadened and feel it's a worth a try.

4. Offering sake at Happy Hour
Try selling as a set. If an appetizer is about $5, consider selling it as a set with chilled sake at about $12.

5. Reconfirm servers' training
Don't forget the steady efforts to offer Japanese sakes to the customer when you take the first drink order.

6. Use of the white board
Write down special sake(s) of the day, special food items of the day etc.
If you have an 'omakase', make sure to include Japanese sake or shochu.



1. 平均顧客単価に合った値段設定になっているか?

2. 料理との相性が本当にあっているか?

3. ドメスティックの日本酒を大いに活用する。
ほとんどのレストランでは、アメリカ産18L のハウス酒は、熱燗となっているが、実は、冷やして飲むと格段に美味しくなるものもある。また、料理との相性の幅も広がるので試してみる価値はある。

4. ハッピーアワーの活用

5. サーバートレーニングの再確認

6. ホワイトボードの活用
#alljapannews #japaneserestaurant #japanesesake


Sake Nation The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquak

Sake Nation The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake Vol 1
By Kosuke Kuji

On April 14th 9:26 pm this year, there was a very large earthquake of 6.5 magnitude centered in Kumamoto prefecture. As mentioned in many reports from the media there was extensive damage and casualties. As of April 30th today, 49 deaths, 17 deaths assumed as earthquake related, 1 person missing, and people evacuated amounting to 26,000.

They have measured over 1000 aftershocks since the earthquake happened 2 weeks ago, and there are many people that cannot be guaranteed safety to return to their homes.

We have heard there are also many people that are cleaning up their home during the daytime and staying at an evacuation site or in their vehicle at nighttime.

There has especially been an emergence of a new type of evacuation with evacuees staying in their cars for this earthquake and many people have been diagnosed with Economy Syndrome from living in a tight space car which has contibuted to many of the earthquake related deaths.

Damage from Tsunami was enormous for the Great East Japan Earthquake and there were many people that died from the Tsunami. I mentioned it is called the Kumamoto Earthquake, but I've heard there was massive damage in Yufuin area in Oita prefecture, and still the people in Kumamoto and Oita are doing the best they can recovering while there are still threats of aftershocks. This Kumamoto Earthquake had supplies not being delivered to the evacuation sites and various problems were revealed. Lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake were not of any help?

I've heard that there were very few earthquakes in Kumamoto prior to this. Since there was a large earthquake in such a place like Kumamoto, I can't help but realize that this could happen anywhere in Japan.

It happens that Kumamoto prefecture is also a very important place in the long history of Japanese sake.

In Kumamoto prefecture there is a brewery named "Kumamoto Prefecture Brewing Institute Co., LTD" that makes a sake named "Kouro."

This "Kouro" brewery is very famous where Kumamoto brewing yeast originated. Kumamoto brewing yeast #9 which established the first generation of Japanese sake, especially "Ginjo sake." What happened to this Kumamoto brewing yeast from this earthquake? ....

I would like to share the answer with you in the next "volume 2."

酒豪大陸「熊本大地震 その1」

日本でも大変有名な観光地となりました東京スカイツリー(TOKYO SKYTREE)。日本人観光客もたくさん訪れますが、近年、外国人観光客も大勢訪れて、大賑わいです。

東京スカイツリーは世界一高い電波塔(the world's tallest free-standing broadcasting tower)で、タワーの高さは634mにもなります。展望デッキなどもあり、グランドオープン時には大変な混雑と、予約制の展望デッキへの入場は、まさに抽選で当たった人だけのプラチナチケットでした。


そんなスカイツリーに隣接する「東京ソラマチ」(TOKYO Solamachi)という新しい商店街には、日本中の様々な専門店が入居していますが、ここに何と日本酒、焼酎など本物の日本の酒を販売する、地酒専門酒販店「はせがわ酒店」(Hasegawa Saketen)が入りました。

南部美人(Nanbu Bijin)をはじめ、日本中で手造りの、心を込めた地酒が、日本の今一番ホットなスポットで販売していただいております。



#alljapannews #japanesesake #kumamoto


Compatibility of Japanese Sake with Food

Judging Compatibility of Japanese Sake with Food
Where you can most likely predict the taste of wines from grape variety, vintage or production area, there is no standard to evaluate the taste of Japanese Sake.

There is an identification of Daiginjo, Ginjo, Junmai etc based on production method, but this is only the production method and doesn't indicate the compatibility with taste or dish. Also, if you look at the ingredients of rice or water, you can slightly distinguish the taste or aroma, but the taste will change depending on how you make it.
In addition, there are many Japanese sakes that do not indicate these information.

Regarding the compatibility with food, there is absolutely no way of seeing it from the label indication that is legally required as of today.

Then how can we evaluate Japanese sake and find good dishes they are compatible with. I would like to show you something from the label that may give you a hint even though it might be a slight amount.

I know I might be saying this again, but I want you to remember that this is strictly a reference that doesn't apply to all Japanese sakes.

Junmai: many can be enjoyed chilled or hot and goes well with a slight rich tasting dish or grilled item

Ginjo: most served chilled, has characteristic of splendid aroma and goes well with dishes that are topped with citrus items like yuzu or lemon ; for example, yakitori with lemon or ponzu with hamachi (young yellowtail) with ponzu etc.

Daiginjo: has considerable body and goes well with teriyaki or eel sauces or nikomi (hotpot with vegetables and/or meats/fishes). light body Daiginjyo goes well with dishes that use citrus items like Ginjo.

California made sakes: since it has slight acidity and body, it goes well with Mexican food.

Kimoto or Yamahai class sakes: goes extremely well with beef or pork dishes








キモトや山廃系(Kimoto or Yamahai):牛や豚肉料理との相性が抜群によい。

#alljapannews #japanesesake


Tokyo Skytree and Japanese Sake

Tokyo Skytree and Japanese Sake

Tokyo Skytree that has become a very popular tourist destination even in Japan.
Many Japanese tourists visit it but many foreign tourists are also visiting it these past few years and it is really bustling.

Tokyo Skytree is the world's tallest free-standing broadcasting tower and the height of the tower reaches 634 meters (2080 feet). It also has an observation deck and being extremely busy at grand opening, admission to the observation deck by reservation basis was just like for people only winning a platinum ticket by drawing.

This Skytree and Skytree Town is still extremely crowded these present days and they have become new showplaces for Tokyo and Japan.

Within the new shopping street of "Tokyo Solamachi" that is adjacent to this Skytree, there are many specialty shops from around Japan but to my surprise "Hasegawa Saketen" a local sake specialty store that sells shochu and quality Japanese sake moved in.

They are selling local sakes that are made from the heart starting with Nanbu Bijin and from all around Japan at this hottest spot in Japan.
You can do taste testing and there are resident professional staff that are knowledgable of sakes and shochus to make this also a pleasurable place to buy sakes.

If you come back to Japan for business or plan on sightseeing, I think it would be fun to tour the Tokyo Skytree and buy distinguished local sakes of Japan to bring home to the U.S. as souvenirs etc. at Solamachi.

I am most appreciated from my heart that Japanese sake is being sold naturally at leading sightseeing spots in Japan.


日本でも大変有名な観光地となりました東京スカイツリー(TOKYO SKYTREE)。日本人観光客もたくさん訪れますが、近年、外国人観光客も大勢訪れて、大賑わいです。

東京スカイツリーは世界一高い電波塔(the world's tallest free-standing broadcasting tower)で、タワーの高さは634mにもなります。展望デッキなどもあり、グランドオープン時には大変な混雑と、予約制の展望デッキへの入場は、まさに抽選で当たった人だけのプラチナチケットとなっています。


そんなスカイツリーに隣接する「東京ソラマチ」(TOKYO Solamachi)という新しい商店街には、日本中の様々な専門店が入居していますが、ここに何と日本酒、焼酎など本物の日本の酒を販売する、地酒専門酒販店「はせがわ酒店」(Hasegawa Saketen)が入りました。

南部美人(Nanbu Bijin)をはじめ、日本中で手造りの、心を込めた地酒が、日本の今一番ホットなスポットで販売していただいております。



#alljapannews #japanesesake


Western cuisine with Europe

Western cuisine with Europe Western cuisine with Europe Western cuisine with Europe Western cuisine with Europe Western cuisine with Europe
Western cuisine with Europe
By Keiko Fukuda

The featured restaurant, “Café Hiro” is located in a small shopping mall in the city of Cypress in Orange County, and is a bit away from the freeways. Despite the rather inconvenient location, this restaurant is always our first choice whenever I want to meet up for lunch with a friend who works in a Japanese company in the area. It is also the place to meet with a gourmet friend who lives in Irvine because it is located at the middle point between Irvine and South Bay where I live. The reason for us to choose this restaurant every time is that we know everything is guaranteed to be tasty. Basically, the dishes served there are Japanese-style Western dishes with a hint of European essence as described in the catch phrase of this restaurant: a collaboration of Japanese and French cuisine with a hint of Italian. Another pleasing factor is their reasonable pricing.

The owner/chef, Hiroto Ohiwa has 33-years of cooking experience. He grew up in the United States for a while because his father was assigned to work for the American division within a Japanese company. After going back to Japan, and turning 20 years old, he spent 4 years working in a Japanese restaurant in the Aichi Prefecture. After that, he attended a cooking school in London, England, and then spent the last few months in a school in Paris, France, which gave him a chance to serve his apprenticeship in a restaurant in Paris for the next 2 years.

After coming back to U.S., he worked in a various first-class restaurants including “Matsuhisa” and “Café Del Rey”. He was then assigned to be responsible to kick off a restaurant in West Los Angeles. Then, in 2002, he finally opened “Café Hiro” which holds part of his name.

Hiro’s such unique experiences in Japanese and French cooking show in his free-spirited and creative dishes. He says, “When I cook, I only think about making the customers who taste my dishes smile. Of course, I want to keep creating dishes that I, myself, think are tasty as well.”

So what kinds of dishes does Hiro remember as most delicious from his past? “First that comes to my mind is the sautéed shrimp topped with curry sauce that I had at Robuchon in Paris. Next one is the risotto- stuffed pig ear topped with sautéed halibut that I had also in Paris”, was his answer. He said that there are a lot more than he can remember.

The current richly diverse menu has been created by slowly adding dishes over the years to the original menu they had at the opening. Most of the customers are people who work or live in the area. The risottos with mushrooms and scallops are popular among Caucasian Americans whereas Asian Americans prefer the sea urchin spaghetti, hamburger steak, and pork cutlet. The curry dishes which are cooked with a lot of spices, vegetables, and fruits that taste better than the specialty stores, are paired with various ingredients such as pork or chicken cutlet, wild mushrooms, beef, chicken, or vegetables. The high ceiling provides a casual and open ambience, and you feel very comfortable inside the restaurant.

It has already been 14 years since the opening of Café Hiro. I asked Hiro what the secret of the long running success was. He said there was really nothing.
“When we first opened, we placed some ads in magazines, etc., but what really helped was word of mouth and repeat visits of the customers. Recently, thanks to Yelp, we don’t need to advertise. The customers spread the good word for us.”
In 2012, Café Hiro was ranked second best in OC Weekly’s “10 Great Japanese Restaurants in Orange County”. However, Hiro, being so carefree, did not even know about it until a while later.

I took his photo with the kitchen staff, Louis and Carlos, who both have been with the restaurant for over 12 years. When I asked Hiro the secret of keeping the employees so long, he said that he would never tell lies. That also must be the secret of the popularity of his dishes. Café Hiro’s dishes do not lie.







2012年にはOC Weeklyが選出した「10 Great Japanese Restaurant in Orange County」の2位にランクイン。それについても「実は取り上げられたことを後で知ったんです」とヒロさんはどこまでも自然体だ。


Café Hiro
10509 Valley View St
Cypress, CA 90630

Mon. Closed
#alljapannews #japaneserestaurant #westerncuisine


Super catering company in San Francisco

Super catering company in Sa... Super catering company in Sa... Super catering company in Sa... Super catering company in Sa... Super catering company in Sa... Super catering company in Sa... Super catering company in Sa...
A super catering company leading the culinary industry

By Elli Sekine
Catering company “Kawashima’s Kitchen,” serving an average of 750 meals a day with approximately 1,200 contracted corporate clients, prepares food without rest from early morning to evening.

We visited the kitchen that receives orders for over 1,000 meals on a busy day. The staff were surprisingly calm, with each person handling their areas of responsibility dutifully. Sixth year since the company opened, the catering company does not bend to the pressures of various tasks and long hours, but has an efficient flow in their work from purchasing to the disposal process where. Kenichi Kawashima, Executive Chef and Manager of “Kawashima’s Kitchen” manages a trendy restaurant serving Japanese-Western cuisines. Despite the restaurant’s growing popularity, Kawashima was drawn to
the catering business that was started concurrently, and changed directions.

At the same time, the catering market in the Bay Area was rapidly expanding.
Kawashima’s turning point in his business and the timing for the market expanding matched. Most of the clients of “Kawashima’s kitchen” were IT companies. The food service that was started to improve the performance of staff members, was now diversified to service meetings and parties, while the catering services also started concurrently.

When interviewing Kawashima, a method to practice his “own style of management” that was easier to control, compared to running a restaurant, became more apparent.

JRN: What made you decide to start a catering business?

Kawashima: In the beginning, we took our stock pot to the kitchens of businesses to provide our catering services. It was at a time when the ramen boom had just started, and noone was catering ramen yet. Our ramen was well received for having exceeded our customers’ expectations. I personally think that if we draw the line and decide that achieving a performance level of approximately 60 percent is acceptable for the catering business, we could run it more efficiently.

JRN: The menu lists selections such as Bibimbap, however, how is this dish prepared and served on site?

Kawashima: Initially, we separate the food ingredients. I think this turning point in our thinking led us in the right direction. Cut them separately with each dish prepared individually on site. Since there are no set rules on “how it must be served,” some customers arrange the food ingredients separately in the dish. However, the dish is well-received, and this makes creating our menu selections fun.

JRN: What is attractive about the catering business compared to the restaurant industry?

Kawashima: It’s because it’s easy to control, first and foremost. My personality is also suited for this work. When I was running a restaurant, my worries were endless. For example, if one server doesn’t come in for a shift, that impacts the entire shift, and we have no clue how many customers will come that day. But now, if one staff can’t come in, I can step in. Also, we purchase our food ingredients according to the number of customers we’ll have. Since I know which days we’re busy, the greatest advantage is that I can eliminate food waste and unnecessary manpower too.

JRN: How did your business gain popularity?

Kawashima: I believe our job is more than merely transporting and serving food to customers, but our ‘performance’ is also part of our service.
Since employees of IT corporations sit in front of a computer all day, they look forward to their lunch hour. So for example, I created a menu titled, “Build Your Own Ramen,” where the noodles are boiled on site, and customers select their choices of food ingredients. On days that we serve sushi, we prepare our sushi by hand directly in the cafeteria of client companies, and I believe that is our job.

JRN: What part of the menu are you especially fastidious about?

Kawashima: More than the menu itself, I’m more concerned about satisfying the customers individually. I started to learn what customers were wanting by communicating with the floor manager in charge of our lunch service. Of course, we have our recommended menu selections. However, our service is also unique for proposing the
catering menu according to the preferences of each customer.

JRN: I’ve learned you practice an ecofriendly management style. In what areas do you apply this practice?

Kawashima: I have a policy of basically using up our food ingredients and trying our best to eliminate waste. When I come across other corporate lunches, I see mounds of food ingredients go to waste, or a large pile of trash after the large service is over. I can say
the same about the boxed “bento” business too. From the perspective if higher efficiency, it makes sense to deliver the food in a large container, then dividing them into smaller portions, which also is an eco-friendly practice. We are creative with our food ingredients, like taking vegetable stems usually thrown away, and prepare them as pickled vegetables, or marinate them in “koji” (rice malt) to create another side dish. To serve a quality dish, it’s also important to not add too many food ingredients. Recently, I hear that Uber is being implemented into the delivery system. I think another way to eliminate waste is to rely on (delivery) experts.

Kawashima’s “own style of management” consists of one important factor, to “have control.” By applying flexibility, developing a unique menu becomes fun. Also, since catering service is background work behind the front lines, where customer feedback is received on-site, I receive great motivation as a chef. Kawashima proved that catering service is a food business with tremendous potential for the future.

1日平均750 食、約1200社の契約企業を持つケータリング会社、「Kawashima’ s Kitchen」では、早朝から夕方まで休む暇なく料理を作っている。多い時は1000食を超える注文を受けるそのキッチンを訪ねてみると、従業員達は意外と落ち着いて、各持ち場を淡々とこなしていた。同ケータリング会社は起業して今年で6年目。日々時間に追われる業務内容にも屈せず、仕入れから廃棄処理までの一連の流れに無駄がないように思えた。「Kawashima’skitchen」の経営者で料理長の川嶋研一氏は以前、和洋食を扱うトレンディなレストランを経営していた。人気は上昇していたにも関わらず、並行して始めたケータリングビジネスの方に魅力を感じ方向転換した。同時期、ベイエリアのケータリング市場はうなぎのぼり。まさに川島氏の転換期と市場拡大の時期が合致したようだ。

「Kawashima’s kitchen」の顧客はほとんどがIT企業だ。従業員のパフォーマンス向上の為に始まった食事サービスは、今ではその用途も会議やパーティーまでと多様化し、それに伴いケータリングも進化している。川嶋氏に話を伺うと、レストランに比べ、コントロールがしやすい「自分らしい経営」の手法が見えてきた。








川嶋:ただ食を運ぶだけではなく、パフォーマンスも一つのサービスだと思っています。IT企業の従業員は皆一日中コンピュータの前に座っているので、ランチを楽しみにしているのです。例えば、「BUILD YOUR OWN RAMEN BAR」というメニューを作り、現場で麺を茹で、好きな具を選んで頂きます。寿司の日は、顧客企業のカフェテリアで寿司を握り、楽しんでいただくのも私達の役割です。





川嶋氏の“自分らしい経営” には、“コントロールができる” という大きな要素がある。柔軟性を持たせ、ユニークなメニュー開発の楽しみもある。それに現場で人々のフィードバックも伺える最前線の裏方なので、モチベーションも上がるようだ。ケータリングは将来的にも多大な可能性を秘めた食ビジネスであることを同氏が証明してくれた。

Kawashima’s Kitchen
(415) 238-4447
Serving San Francisco and surrounding area
open hour: 24h

#alljapannews #catering #sanfrancisco


What is the secret of the $3.90 menus?

What is the secret of the $3.9... What is the secret of the $3.9... What is the secret of the $3.9... What is the secret of the $3.9... What is the secret of the $3.9... What is the secret of the $3.9...
Every menu item is $3.90! What is the secret for the success of running the reasonably-priced and delicious izakaya?

By Aya Ota
There is a restaurant which is rapidly becoming a topic of conversation. They offer every food and drink for one price of $3.90, and do not take tips. The name of the restaurant is “Thank You Sakaba Acchan”, which started just recently in February of this year in the midtown east district that is the center of the business district of Manhattan.

“Although the location is pretty close to the Grand Central Station, even one block away makes a difference in attracting customers. It is necessary to do something different so people would talk about it in order to be appealing to more customers,” says Mr. Taiki Wakayama, the President of the “W&E Hospitality Group” who runs about 15 restaurants in New York.

The W&E Group opened “Teriyaki Boy” in March, 2015, exactly one year ago, where you can take out bento bowls for lunch time, and becomes a standing-room-only drinking place after 5pm. The joint was doing well due to its casual atmosphere and excellent menu that includes yakitori made with selective jidori chickens, delicious izakaya style food items, and sake. However, the standing-room-only style bar was not quite welcomed by some customers, especially among Japanese business people in the area. After some trial-and error period, they made a big change. The place remained as “Teriyaki Boy” for lunch time, and renewed as “Thank You Sakaba Acchan” for the evening time. This new simple and reasonable “no tip, everything is priced at $3.90” concept with widely varied and delicious food items seems to be working well since its new start. Its fashionable interior may also be contributing to collecting many lady customers unexpectedly.

The reason for being able to keep the price low from the standing-room- only style bar period without compromising the quality or quantity of the food is as follows: first is the interior space and layout of only about 20 seats, which can be seen from the open kitchen for the staff to keep their eyes on the customers. There are only 3 employees working for the whole place. The labor cost is kept low by the cooks working as servers as well.

The menu is also very well thought to keep the cost low. The staff goes out and get the selective ingredients by themselves as much as possible. They also try to add menu items that can be cooked in short time for the efficiency of operation by effectively use the natural flavors of the ingredients in the dishes such as “One Pound Chicken Thigh”, “Addictive Salty Cabbage”, “Cold Tofu Tower”, and “Onion Salad” to the others that take time and more care to cook such as “Beef Intestine Stew”.

This better use of time does not affect the taste or quality. It is surprising that they still manage to offer over 30 different dishes plus 5 to 7 daily specials. Another reason for the efficiency is that they take cash only for the payment.

The open hours have been extended to 4 am., which resulted an increase of customers that includes people in the same industry who drop by on the way home. Right now they have 2 rotations with maximum capacity each time, but their goal is 4 rotations a day. It is a splendid operational tactic to fully take advantage of the location as the midtown where many people hang out 24 hours a day.

“W&E Hospitality Group” is currently running 15 casual Japanese restaurants with the concept of “An American eatery where 20 dollars is worth 100 dollars”. Mr. Taiki Wakayama succeeded his father, Kazuo to become the second President 4 years ago. After graduating a college, he was once employed by a stock trading company in Japan, but he wanted to go back to his original desire to run a restaurant someday by utilizing the background and experiences he had growing up. After building up the experience working as store manager for 3 years in the West Co., Ltd. In Japan, he came to the United States, and has been energetically running the 15 US restaurants. He also values relationships among the store managers, and works diversely by starting a study group for them, consulting them, etc.

The name, “Teriyaki Boy” was the name of a beloved bento shop closed 10 years ago, which was taken over by the W & E Hospitality Group, which Mr. Wakayama fondly remembers. He put a lot of special thoughts about this former shop in making the concept of, and how to run “Thank You Sakaba Acchan”.


食べもの・飲みもの全て3.9ドル 均一料金、しかも、チップなしで提供することで、急速に話題になっている店がある。マンハッタンのビジネス街中心地、ミッドタウンイースト地区で2016年2月にスタートしたばかりの『サンキュー酒場あっちゃん』だ。


同社では、ちょうど1年前の2015年3月に、昼食時には丼スタイル弁当のテイクアウトを提供、夜5時から立ち飲みバーとして営業する『テリヤキボーイ』を開店した。厳選した地鶏の焼き鳥をはじめとする居酒屋料理とお酒を気軽に楽しめる店として、評判になったが、日本人ビジネスマンも多い地域柄、“立ち飲み” というスタイルが馴染まなかったと言う。試行錯誤の末、昼食時は『TeriyakiBoy』のまま、夜は『サンキュー酒場あっちゃん』へと、大きくリニューアルしたのだ。「全品3.9ドルでチップなし」というコンセプトのお得さと分かりやすさ、そして、品数も豊富で料理も美味しいということで、新規開店後の評判は上々だと言う。店内の雰囲気がおしゃれなためか、女性客が多いというのも意外性がある。


もちろんメニューにも工夫をしている。食材はできるだけ自分たちで買い出しに行くことで、より厳選した原料をより安価に仕入れている。「モツ煮込み」や焼きものなど、手が込んで時間のかかる料理だけでなく、「鶏モモ一枚焼き」「塩キャベツ」「摩天楼 冷や奴」「オニオン・サラダ」など、素材の持ち味を生かし短時間で調理できるメニューを増やすことで、オペレーション面での効率化も図っているという。効率化は図っていても、決して味やクオリティに妥協していない。メニューは全体で30品以上、日替わりメニューも毎日5 ~ 7品提供しているというので驚かされる。値段を抑える工夫のひとつとしては、会計をキャッシュオンリーにしているのも挙げられる。


『W&Eホスピタリティグループ』では「20ドルで100ドルの価値を生み出したい」というコンセプトで、“アメリカの食堂” とも言えるような、カジュアルな日本食店を約15店舗運営している。若山大木氏は、父・和夫氏の跡を継いで二代目社長となって約4年。大学卒業後、いったんは日本で証券会社に就職したものの、育った環境や自分が培った経験を生かして「飲食店経営をしたい」という原点に立ち戻った。そして、日本の株式会社ウェストの飲食店で3年間店長を務め経験を積み、アメリカに戻って、15店舗の運営に奮闘する日々を送っている。飲食店経営者の横のつながりも大事にし、勉強会を立ち上げたり、コンサルティング業をこなしたり…と、業務は多岐にわたる。

『Teriyaki Boy』は同グループが惜しまれながらも10年前に閉店した弁当屋の名称を受け継いだもので、若山氏にとっても愛着がある。『サンキュー酒場あっちゃん』のコンセプト作りやマネジメントにも、格別な思い入れを持って取り組んでいる。

Thank You Sakaba Acchan
835 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 917-388-2039
Monday thru Saturday 5pm-4am
(They are open between 11:30 am and 2 pm as “Teriyaki Boy”.)
#alljapannews #izakaya #japaneserestaurant #teriyaki


New flavor added to taste of traditional

“Omakase Sushi”... “Omakase Sushi” is $28.99 including salad, pot steamed egg custard and dessert. Mr. Tani with 40-years of exp... Mr. Tani with 40-years of experience as a chef in the center with the current owner, Ms. Kobayashi (left) and the sushi chef, Ms. Obara “Irifune” is lo... “Irifune” is located in a mall in old downtown Torrance close to Honda Motors headquarters “Irifune Specia... “Irifune Special zen”, a set menu that includes Aradaki (simmered red snapper) and Sashimi
New flavor added to taste of traditional cuisine

Nowadays, you can taste all kinds of Japanese food including sushi, tempura, and ramen in the U.S. It seems like the Japanese food boom has peaked, and almost every type of Japanese food you can think of can be acquired now. On the other hand, however, the number of restaurants where genuinely authentic Japanese cooking - the kind of dishes that you can get at long established Japanese restaurants in Japan – is served, is still very limited.

I did not know about “Kappo Irifune,” which opened in a mall in Torrance, of the Los Angeles suburb in March of 2015 until early autumn of the same year. A few of my gourmet friends sent me the photo of the dishes they had at Irifune through LINE. I hate to say, but as far as I remember, none of the predecessors at that location had successfully kept their business for very long. I got very curious to know how good they really are since those friends of mine are trustworthy in judging the taste of food. I decided to try, and one day, visited Irifune. I ordered fried shrimp lunch combination dish. It was so good, and made me feel like trying other dishes. First of all, the miso soup prepared with solid dashi taste was impressive. The shrimp was light and crunchy, the rice was shiny, and the salad dressing tasted like an original. I felt like I had discovered rare genuine Japanese cooking that you can always rely on.

The current owner of Irifune, Ms. Tomoko Kobayashi told me at a later date that the restaurant was originally opened in last March by Mr. Teruhisa Tani who ran a Japanese food restaurant for 25 years in Kumamoto, Japan, and overall has 40-years of experience in cooking. He immigrated to the U.S. and opened this “Kappo Irifune” in Torrance because his daughter lives here. He faithfully replicated the authentic taste here in the States that he had developed in his 40-year career.

Unfortunately, he had to decide to go back to Japan due to health reasons, and was looking for someone who could succeed his business. Ms. Kobayashi who was a regular customer of Irifune then raised her hand. Ms. Kobayashi who had experience working in various service industries in Japan, came to the U.S., got trained and worked as a sushi chef in a sushi restaurant on Ventura Blvd where many people in the entertainment industry were the customers. After that, she worked as a coordinator in the film industry, and also a consultant for Japanese enterprises who wanted to start a business in the States. After that, she went back to the food and beverage industry as a consultant. When she was a regular customer at Irifune last year, she was working as a manager of a Japanese restaurant in Gardena. She really wanted to keep the taste of Irifune which had become her latest favorite. She learned the secret recipe from Mr. Tani, and kept everything else as well; the restaurant name, menu, and pricing in order to make a new start. Currently, Mr. Tani who will be leaving for Japan soon and a lady chef with over 10-years of experience, Ms. Miho Obara are taking care of the kitchen, and Ms. Kobayashi is taking care of the customers on the floor. Ms. Kobayashi who is also a restaurant consultant, is gathering data and researching on her own to find out what type of dishes are liked by what type of customers, and what type of customers tend to come back often, etc.

She said, “The most popular dish for lunch time is “Irifune Special Zen” with simmered red snapper. We cannot get many snappers with heads, therefore, we can serve only a limited number of 10 to 15. This menu sells out very quickly every day. Its sweet taste seems to be well liked, especially by Chinese customers.”

The “Irifune Special Zen” that includes Sashimi, Aradaki, a small bowl of a seasonal dish, rice, miso soup, salad, and dessert is priced at $12.80. Popular dishes for dinner time are “Sashimi Gozen” and Chirashi Gozen which are both priced at $18.80, which is very reasonable for both the quality and the quantity. Another item called “Omakase Sushi” that includes 12 pieces of sushi, salad, pot steamed egg custard and dessert is only $28.99 which could have been priced easily below cost.

While keeping the traditional Japanese cooking taste from the previous owner, Mr. Tani, Ms. Kobayashi also hold new ideas. She says, “First, I am planning to add yakitori and oden to the menu around next spring. By doing so, customers can enjoy Izakaya style dining as well. In addition, I am going to add Japanese desserts to gain more female customers.”

I believe that “Irifune”, growing with new ideas based on the solid foundation of Japanese cooking, will be surely known more and more in the community as a secret great place to eat in Torrance.










Kappo Irifune
1231 Cabrillo Ave. Ste 107 Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 782-7330
Mon.-Sun./ 11:30am-2:30pm 5:30pm-10:00pm 7 days open

#alljapannews #japaneserestaurant #losangeles #sushi


  • ブログルメンバーの方は下記のページからログインをお願いいたします。
  • まだブログルのメンバーでない方は下記のページから登録をお願いいたします。
    現在 37/38 ページ
  1. <<
  2. <
  3. 31
  4. 32
  5. 33
  6. 34
  7. 35
  8. 36
  9. 37
  10. 38
  11. >
  12. >>