3123 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121, (415) 379-3604

I loved Oyaji! Set aside the minimalistic decor reminiscent of the traditional izakayas and the tasty looking Japanese pub fare and you have Oyaji, himself. The term "oyaji" in Japanese can mean dad or an unrelated older man who's like a father, and sometimes can be used in the slang sense such as "sukebe oyaji" (dirty old man). And that's exactly what the owner, Hideki, is and quite proud of it, I must say. Hideki is a riot and very endearing. He regales you with humorous anecdotes then switches it up a notch with some raunchy humor about his massive testicles and unsurpassable virility. I laughed so hard during my visit that the sides of my stomach hurt and I almost had tears in my eyes.

In addition, to a pretty cool selection of zizake (regional sake), sochu and Japanese beer, Oyaji's served up the freshest uni and bincho maguro I've had in quite awhile. The texture was perfect and the fish positively melted in my mouth. My Tokyo houseguest popped in a piece of aka maguro and smiled from the pure pleasure of its taste. I did notice fellow Yelpers commenting that the nigiri sushi there seemed small, but to be honest it's like how I remember it being in Japan... bite-size. I think the sushi in the US, on par with McDonald's, has become super-sized. Traditional sushiyas in Japan don't make these humongous rolls drenched in mayo-y sauces, nor do they include ingredients like avocado or cream cheese. I think the only kind of rolls I saw during my stay there were oshinko, natto, tekka and kappa makis---which are much skinnier, with one filling. It's all about appreciating the technique, the freshness and the taste of the seafood on your palate not how much crap you can squish inside the nori and rice, like your Aunt Martha into a girdle. Also, would you put ketchup on your sushi? No? Then why are you letting them pour the equivalent of 1,000 Island dressing on your sushi order? Paying for prime, fresh sushi is a waste if you're going to just mask the flavor with condiments.

Anyhow, I'll definitely be returning to Oyaji. I'm not sure if it's a good date restaurant, unless you want Oyaji leering at your date's breasts or challenging your manhood. But it's a great place to grab some delicious food, knock back some sochu and grab a smoke outside with Oyaji while BSing. Next time round, along with the sushi, I plan to sample some of the asari sake mushi (my fav), ika sugaayaki along with a side order of gobo that I saw on the menu. Can't wait!

Namara-umai! (for those that speak nihongo, I just thought I'd throw in some Hokkaido dialect for you).

737 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122, (415) 566-7775

We've all heard that silly bit of info about only eating oysters in months that end in the letter "r." Well, screw that bit of nonsense! I've been on an oyster kick lately and when Ally D. wants oysters, Ally D. gets oysters. On a sunny Thursday, my houseguest and I took off for a trek to SF to fulfill my Ostreidae obsession. I wasn't going to be sated until I was slurping down some yummy bivalves from their half shells with a little sriracha and lemon. After doing some shopping, we met up with Yelper Omar B. who took us around Hayes Valley, Sunset and the outer Richmond. Although I've spent a lot of time in SF (usually lost if I'm the one driving), I wasn't too familiar with these areas. We grabbed a few drinks and then wandered across the street to PJ's Oyster Bed on Irving Street. PJ's blends in well with the various boutiques, bakeries and pubs lining the Sunset District. It's quite small which was the reason for the wait... about a half hour. This wouldn't have been too bad if there was a designated bar section or waiting area. As it was, we stood chatting in the foyer with our backs to a table of four that was chowing down. I'm sure they enjoyed staring at our asses throughout the first portion of their dining experience. Brandon, the host, seemed quite nice and was pretty on target with his wait quote.

Finally, our name was called. I sunk into our half-booth and politely browsed the menu (although I already knew what I wanted). The menu consisted of many NOLA-style dishes like jambalya, gumbo and something called Alligator Eggs (I didn't ask). Forget the menu! Bring on the booze! Bring on the oysters!

Hillary, our server, was friendly, attentive and efficient. She didn't blink an eye when we only ordered a plate of a dozen raw oysters and a bottle of wine (the Bolla, an Italian white, paired quite well with our order). Since my guest had filled her alcohol quotient for the night at Yancey's, Omar & I finished off the entire bottle by ourselves. The oysters were good, but lacked a little je ne sais quoi and were on the smaller side...not like the fatty, succulent oysters I had sucked down on a recent visitation to Sausalito. They're served with tabasco, lemon, cocktail sauce and champagne mignonette (Phooey! We don't need no stinkin' mignonette! Where's the damn sriracha?). Also, after a few glasses of wine the surrounding wall murals got a bit creepy...was it just me our did all the people in the mural look like they were in some kind of state of 420-ness?

Overall, a pretty good dining experience. If I were to return, I wouldn't mind checking out their Oysters Rockefeller. The table next to us were digging into some and they looked mighty tasty (the Oysters Rockefeller, not the people at the next table).
1809 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 498-9200

Who'd have thought that the day before Valentine's Day would be such a busy night for eating out? And on a Tuesday night in the burbs at that? Not me, that's for sure and it was my fault for not making the resi at Roxy's. Nevertheless, with out of town guests (Yelpers Omar B & Mayumi F) in tow, rather than wait 1.5 hours... Alisha & I decided to flip a B & head back towards the grid to check out Dragonfly.

Unlike Roxy's, upon arrival Dragonfly was serene and only had a smattering of tables occupied. Dragonfly's decor exudes a warmness---ruby red walls and persimmon colored accents coupled with dark Bali-esque wood furniture round out the faux Asian look...I'll admit it-- I liked it, it was both trendy (industrial ceilings & dangly lights) yet sexy at the same time. A good date restaurant perhaps, if you go when it's quiet. We were seated by the window by the hostess, who hastily dropped the menus off, with nary a smile, before disappearing into the dark abyss of the rear of the establishment...pretty much never to be seen again.

Our waitress was courteous but was also MIA for a good portion of the night...yep, that dark abyss in the back kept swallowing up the staff one by one. Considering how slow it was, it would have been nice had she checked back a few times. At least she left us with a drink menu to peruse in her absence... I was eyeballing the lychee martini but opted to experience the pomegranate margarita instead, which turned out to be mildly sweet and not too overpowering. A nice choice! BTW, I did notice that the Dragonfly carries Chimay---bonus points for their bar manager! Good call.

Although the service left something to be desired, the food turned out to be pretty tasty. We decided to go "tapas" style with the fusion menu so that we could try a little of this and a little of that. Because I was whining that I was samosa-ed out, we skipped the samosas and chose the BBQ albacore, the asian chicken salad, the Burmese tofu tori with peanut sauce (I love peanut sauce), the calamari and a random sushi roll. The BBQ albacore tuna was so flippin' good--- the menu said it was accompanied with a miso garlic aioli but the sauce was a bit on the spicier side (very similar to the old Taka's) and I tasted no garlic whatsoever. Everyone at the table liked it so much, we requested round 2 for the tuna. My friend that was visiting from Tokyo was alternating between yips of foodie pleasure and happy eating noises while consuming the albacore. In addition, I thought the tofu tori kicked butt...but then again I like pretty much anything when it's coupled with a peanut sauce---tofu, satay, an old shoe ...throw some peanut sauce on it & I'm good to go. The salad was eh, nothing that you can't get pretty much anywhere in midtown. In addition, I wasn't too crazy about the calamari; I feel that a thinner/smaller slicing and a lighter breading would do wonders for improving this dish. As for the sushi roll, there was no salvaging that. Remember that children's rhyme about the Farmer in the Dell, that ends with the "Hi-ho, the derry-ho. The cheese stands alone?" Yeah, well that's Dragonfly's sushi rolls, the nasty roll was left alone. Ick.

Overall, the dining experience was decent & we left satiated. As someone who waited tables for years, I feel that I'm usually lax about service but the staff was nonexistent this go round which irked me. The constant, lengthy disappearances made me want to venture to the back and see what back there was so riveting. Lastly, I think Dragonfly should ditch their sushi menu and do an expanded tapas menu. There'd be more flexibility in choices (work that fusion aspect!) and who the H-E-double hockey sticks doesn't like to indulge in a smattering of delicacies??? I love the idea of tapas, it keeps me from having to reach over with my chopsticks to "take tastes" of my friends dishes when they're not looking.