Sumika – Los Altos, CA

Oh Sumika, so good that it has me dreaming about yakitori! First time I went there was over a year ago and since then we have only been a couple more times so it is time for an updated review~

I was happy to know that Sumika has gotten recognition from the Michelin Guide, Zagat review and SF Chronicles because they do deserve it. No one does yakitori the same way.

Was lucky enough to snag a reservation on the way back from Napa on the long weekend. There was a half hour wait for tables when we got there.

Menu has a range of yakitoris, small plates, rice dishes & salads:

Their special menu which is seasonal:

There is an extensive alcoholic menu, with a nice selection of sake, shoju, beer and more.

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We ordered:

Sumika Salad $9.50

This is more like a coleslaw than a traditional salad. A mix of arugula, cabbage, tomatoes, chicken, crispy chips tossed in a creamy wasabi peanut oil dressing. Very refreshing and quite complex for such a simple salad. Crowd pleaser!

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5 orders Momo (Chicken thigh) Spicy @ $3.50 each

The chicken thigh yakitoris were grilled to perfection! Nice char and smokiness from the grill, tender juicy morsels of chicken thigh drizzled with a spicy mayo sauce. It is all about the sauce for this dish. The sauce is sweet, creamy with a kick.

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Momo (Chicken thigh) Salt $3.30

My dining partners love the Momo with sauce but personally I enjoy the simple salt version. Every piece of chicken thigh was perfectly grilled, salted perfectly with a nice char from the grill and very moist & juicy.

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3 orders Tontoro (Pork Cheek) @ $4 each

One of my favourite yakitoris here. The pork cheek is fatty and tender, ozzing with salty fat with every chew. A tad smoky from the grill and just simply seasoned w salt. Very addictive. Pork at its simplest form!

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Kobe Style Beef w Apple Onion Sauce $4.50

My least favourite of the night. The Kobe style beef was very tough and not seasoned well and the apple sauce was strange. I did not enjoy it at all.

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Hotate (Scallop) $4

The scallop was lightly charred from the grill and cooked pretty well. Barely seasoned but the scallop was nice and sweet.

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Tsukune & Tamago $3.70

Chicken meatball w an egg

For 20 cents more, the chicken meatball comes with an egg yolk which I really enjoy. Not for individuals who are wary about eating raw eggs. The meatball was seasoned very well and surprisingly juicy for minced chicken! It was oozing with fats and had a nice charcoal flavour. The light soy and egg combo is perfect!

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Tofu Nikumiso $6.20

Deep fried tofu w spicy miso grand chicken

Usually not a fan of tofu dishes but this was really good. The tofu was smooth and soft, deep fried (yet not greasy) topped with a sweet spicy miso minced chicken. The chicken was delicious with the subtle tofu.

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Unagi & Shitaki Bacon Wrap $10

I was not sure what to expect of this dish when I saw it in the menu but we were all pleasantly surprised! It came to the table cold which was a little disappointing but it tasted sublime. It was intricately put together with a layer of unagi, meaty mushrooms and salty bacon with a light drizzle on the plate. The flavours were a combination of umami, sweet and salty.

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Oyako Don $12

Chicken thigh & egg over rice

This is a must order every time we eat at Sumika. No other restaurant prepares this dish the same way. The chicken is very smoky from the grill, with barely cooked runny egg on top and a nice sweet & slightly salty sauce over perfectly cooked rice.

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Extras:

2 cokes @ $2.50 each

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Total Damage: $120 (including tax & tip)

Personal Rating: 4 out of 5 (Great)

I am never disappointed by the yakitori and small dishes from Sumika. It is definitely a step above all the other yakitori joints in the bay area – food quality and just flavour is top notch. I am always annoyed by how slow the service is here though. They take forever to take your order and the food slowly trickles out. Usually it is ok, but sometimes it takes as long as 15 minutes between dishes.

Also the ventilation here is not very good, so chances of smelling like the smoke from the grill is high~ Always busy and a line, so do make a reservation!

First visit review~

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Sumika

236 Central Plaza
Los Altos, CA 94022

(650) 917 1822

Sumika on Urbanspoon

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