Chef’s Bucket List Highlights San Mateo Eats

You have to love the amazing peninsula food scene.  We have a wide variety of dining options as well as some incredible venues.  But what do restaurant industry insiders think about local dining options?  Learn which local meals they can’t stop thinking about in The Six Fifty article, The Chef’s Bucket List: 47 Peninsula dishes to eat before you die.

Focusing on dishes served up in the 650 area code, this list reflects the culinary talent on the peninsula, which is only continuing to grow. San Mateo is well represented in the article with the following restaurants and dishes as described by culinary experts:

image credit: @Wursthall, sausage party line-up (cheddar brat missing the fun) pictured here is the jerk pork, country bratwurst, chicken pesto, hot Italian, porchetta, and pork cilantro.

Cheddar bratwurst, Wursthall
Greg Kuzia-Carmel, chef-owner, Camper, Menlo Park: My most notable bite of the past few months was at Wursthall. I stopped after a long day when we finalized Camper and had their cheddar bratwurst (topped with sauerkraut, of course). It was really, really (really, really) tasty and I’ve since made a few stops back on my commute up the Peninsula. Everything about it is dialed: the snap of the casing, the seasoning….everything. Can’t wait for my next!

Ishiyaki beef, Wakuriya
Yu Min Lin, chef, The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse, Palo Alto: One of my favorite Peninsula restaurants is Wakuriya because you can experience all types of Japanese cooking. They don’t just serve sushi. When I first visited I didn’t know that they offer a tasting menu only and have a small number of seats. I had to come back on a different night to get a reservation but it was worth it because I was very impressed. The dish that stands out most for me is the ishiyaki beef, which is cooked on a hot stone. I like the interactive nature of this course and the true flavor of the beef that results from this method of preparation.

Tempura, Tokie’s
Dan Gordon, Dan Gordon’s, Palo Alto: Tokie’s owner Victor Onizuka has been fulfilling my sushi needs for over 20 years but the secret is he makes the finest tempura I have ever had. I don’t know how he does it but everybody else pales in comparison. I had to hold my breath for a month when they moved from Foster City to downtown San Mateo but was able to survive the wait.

Seared toro nigiri, Sushi Sam’s Edomata
Jeremy Cheng, executive chef, Avenir Restaurant Group: The seared toro nigiri at Sushi Sam’s Edomata. It’s lightly torched to just warm the fatty tuna to a melt-in-your-mouth temperature (literally) and brushed with a special yuzu glaze and sea salt. So good.

Image Credit: The Attic, Adobo Wing Lollipops: Rocky Jr. Chicken • Adobo Glaze

Adobo wing lollipops, The Attic
Viari Lopez, co-owner, Sun of Wolf, Palo Alto: The adobo wing lollipops at The Attic. They cut the wing in the shape of an actual lollipop and use Rocky Junior free-range chicken. They are able to combine sweet Asian flavors with a spicy push, creating some heat as you chew. The wings are slightly fried and just fall off the bone. I love the dish with a side of their sweet potato fries that are perfectly cooked. They make sure each fry is evenly fried and they have a beautiful dark color to them. They are crispy on the outside and very soft on the inside. It comes with a homemade banana “ketchup” that is incredibly elegant. There are soft notes of banana with each bite, but it does not overpower the sauce. This dish is so incredibly simple-looking that when you take a bite you have no idea what you are in for. Hands down the best “wing” in the Bay Area and one of my favorite restaurants.

Sounds delish!  Be sure to read the entire article as your daily travels may bring you by some of the other tasty venues which made the list.

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