Thursday, November 03, 2005


There is a place on the El Cerrito/Richmond border that claims it invented the California roll. It's called YuSan Sushi (yes, that is Japanese for 'Mr. (or Mrs.)Yu'). It is the stronghold of the mortal enemy of our favorite sushi chef, Endo-San of Sugata sushi, so we usually don't go there, or if we do we don't tell Endo. Among the funnier things that have happened at YuSan were: having my birthday there and having YuSan almost fall, drunk, onto our table while telling dirty jokes; the female employees supplicating and apologizing all over the place for his behavior (this is a regular occurrence), and American patrons calling him "Mr. Yuzin".

I've been going to YuSan for about a decade I guess. It has always been a pretty great place for sushi. Not flashy like blue fin (of San Francisco), but very generous cuts of very good fish. Not so any more. The dodgy codger that runs it has let it slip into poofullness. Last night we went in for a light soosh meal and were shocked by how awful it's become. Yu-San can still cut a good fish, but the flopper he's buying these days is well crappy. Not a single cut was even cold (we were three feet from the bar). On a refreshing note, the Kani-Age (soft shell crab app) was quite good. Much better than most places'. The fried/noodle fare there seems to still be good. Just not the raw fish. >sigh<
We have had to add this to the list of places that have recently gone to hell. We even had a bad meal at Yuet Foo last week; I think the woman who really runs the show was out ill and her tiny husband had to waitserve and cook. He burned everything as a result, but still served it to us (which was OK, we love them and will be back). Then, as I mentioned in another post, Taqueria Del Palmar has gone straight into the toitey. Most surprising of all, Juan's Place Mexican Food in Berkeley seems to have gone to shit! E and I went there for a leisurely Friday afternoon lunch (they have Mezcal!!!) and I ordered the carnitas for the first time. Big mistake. They were silly wet, and had not been fried at all it seemed. Gotta stick with the dang "A La Jesus" kaysuh-dilluhs. Our experience at Juan's was truly laughable; not only did we get served chips from someone else's table (they dumped them into our bowl), but a guy poured water into my beer glass. Good times.
We are now on the hunt for new haunts. We have blown up Little Hong Kong on San Pablo for reasons that would fill a whole post. Anyone got any good suggestions for around here?


Blogger chilebrown said...

Jeeze louise!! Ms. Goofy and I went to Juan's last Saturday night and had a meal that had not changed in twenty years. We enjoyed it! There was an absence of Lard which we dealt with. Consistence? 20 years "You got to know the territory"

7:42 PM  
Blogger uncle jazzbeau said...

Damn! I'm well into my second decade of going to Yu-san's, and it's always been up or down service-wise, but too bad about the product going to hell. (It is fun to see how drunk he can get and still cut fish.) I hope that the Yuet-Foo incident was just a bad day as you suggest. Recently, I had Deep Southern (i.e., Mississippian) fish and chips from a roach coach on San Pablo just past the the 80 overpass. First time I've had hushpuppies, too. (Sorta cracker falafel.) It was good, but I don't have anything to compare it to. For Mexican, there's always La Bomba (OK, Salvadorean) and Portu-Mex, but Juan's is always fun and I've always got what I expected. Have you tried the Vietmanese sandwich shop in El Cerrito / Peppermint strip Plaza? Ba Le 2, I think it's called. I tried a newish Korean place in Oakland across Telegraph from the Koreyo Plaza. Called Sahnmaru, and I have to go back to try the black goat stew. We got the same number of little plates as the other (Korean) customers, and the owner even came out to ask me if I liked kimchi (I was eating the nice and spicy kimchi jjigae at the time.)

8:15 AM  
Blogger chilebrown said...

All right I give up! What is your idea of a good Mexican Meal? I have my favorite. La Estrellita's East 12 and 5th, Oakland. You have slammed all the Richmond Corrider. Will you ever find the Madam Librarian?

6:08 PM  
Blogger Dr. Jones said...

Chilebrown; I too love la estrellita. Are they still open only on Fridays? People line up to buy carnitas by the pound from them and I'd have to say it's worth it.
The fare at La Bomba is good. Also I'm sure various taco trucks in the area are also 'the bomb'.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Dr. Jones said...

Jim; Thanks for the suggestions. I always forget about Ba Le 2, they do make a great $2 sammich.
I have only had hush puppies once myself, it was in rural arkansas, and it was freakin great.
I like to troll that mini-korea town in Oakland too. Also, we like going to the Korean-run Japanese restaurants in that area for a couple reasones: one, if you order the wakame salad you get a mountain of it, not a molehill as at 'real' Japanese restaurants. Two, can't finish your sake? Just take it with you. Niiiiice.

2:45 PM  
Blogger drbiggles said...

Yuet Foo? Is that the cool building that's next to the lawn mower repair place?
You're being kind about Palmar. I got my 4th super sub par meal from there today and I should call the health department. I will not be returning in any shape or form, ever.
I'd like to know what the scoop is on Carnitas. You and I discussed this on the way to the market a week ago or so. Around here, Carnitas are roast pork that is then fried so you get crispy bits with your juicy pork.
But when I google it, Carnitas comes up as more of a spicy pork confit. Maybe Juan's was doin' that?
I figured Juan's was on par with Trevinos, that's what I figured. I like it for what it is, but it isn't traditional in any sense of the law.
Yes, we need new haunts man. So far, the Hacienda hasn't let us down.


4:20 PM  
Blogger chilebrown said...

I think you are thinking Of Jalisco's. They are open on the weekend and sell the killer carnita's. People do line up. They are located at 1721 International Blvd., La Estrellita's is located near Laney. East 12 and 5th St. They serve a mean chile verde. They allso serve the best verde sauce with chips. The clincher is the bar has aprox 120 different tequila's. I think I have personaly tried 117 of them.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Dr. Jones said...

Heh. Google "Taqueria del Palmar El Cerrito" and all you get are unhappy blog posts. Someone really needs to start printing these things out and slipping them under their door. I think one of the problems is that Alfredo is not ever there any more, he has his thug-life son running the place. Alfie Jr. spends more time messing with his car than on the floor. I wonder WTF Alfredo is up to?

Chilebrown; you are probably right about the name of the restaurant. I stopped working in Oakland years ago and have been trying to forget my time there ever since...but I still love the carnitas there.
My favorite still has to be El Taco Zamorano. There are two, the 'ghetto' one and the 'nice' one. Both are great.

12:08 PM  
Blogger drbiggles said...

Heh, unhappy blog posts. Yeah, you and me. And I don't think ol' RW from Chowhound hits up Palmar that much. I posted my unhappiness and I believe it got lost over there, it wasn't top-posted.
I'm not going back unless something truly remarkable happens, like it gets good or something.


1:00 PM  
Blogger E said...

The fish was stinkier than an unwashed whore's....

Ever had nachos at Estrellita? The use that fake Taco Bell orange sauce and stale chips.

11:08 AM  
Blogger chilebrown said...

Oh yeah! I like fake Taco Bell orange sauce and stale chips. I think you are misstooken about your restarauntolgy. La Estrellitas has the highest caliper of Shoopoopie. Who orders nacho's at a restaraunt? That reminds me of a Sanford and Son episode, Where Fred wanted to go to the new Soul Food and Mexican restaraunt called Nacho Your Mama, Peace, Paul

3:18 PM  
Blogger Dr. Jones said...

Good times. I miss Oakland Mexican food. We have some pretty good taquerias here in south S.F. but will soon be moving offices. Anyone know good lunch spots near the ball park in the city?

12:42 PM  

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