Following the Ramen Festival fiasco, Hubster and I tried to find ramen in San Mateo and coincidentally or not, every ramen place was completely packed. We eventually gave up and decided to eat at Kitcho. The Yelp reviews seemed decent so we gave it a go. Before I could even post this entry, the restaurant has already closed down and taken on a new incarnation.
The Unagi Fried Rice seemed to be a consistent winner for Yelpers, and I have to agree hands down. It was DELICIOUS! I’ve actually never had such an interesting tasting dish. It’s a wonder no one has ever thought of it before. It was a wonderfully savory take on fried rice, but the oiliness from the unagi imparted a fatty richness that might be faint to the heart of the health conscious.
I had higher hopes for this dish. The crackers were deep fried pieces of tempura battered seawood. It gave me appetizing flashes of crispy rice topped with spicy tuna, but it sadly ended up tasting absolutely soggy. The salmon was average and really couldn’t help where the crackers had failed.
The Albacore Tataki was good but not particularly different from your average tataki dish.
The Lychee Pork Cheek sounded different and it tasted pretty good. The sweetness from the lychee lended an Asian fusiony angle to the grilled pork cheek which was definitely more tender than one would expect from a pork skewer.
The space was much larger than you would expect from the outside and the black and red interior gave a distinctively modern feel to the restaurant. I would expect it to be more of hip evening hang out but considering it was the middle of the afternoon, there were more families and strollers filling up the dining room. For the most part, the dishes overall were solid but generally unspectacular. It could have been what we ordered, but the Unagi Fried Rice brought the averageness of the meal up so much that it warrants a repeat visit to order that dish again and give another chance to other items on the menu.
204A 2nd Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94401
PAFO Ratings for Kitcho:
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars