We love Japanese food so were thrilled when we got an opportunity to review Bushido Restaurant in Mountain View this month. They just appointed Iwao Suzuki as their new chef, who is considered a master of sustainable sushi and seafood and his creations have been showcased at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s annual “Cooking for Solutions” event and the California Academy of Sciences. Their cuisine blends traditional Japanese flavors with a contemporary flair, both in selection and presentation.
The Bushido Menu
The Bushido menu is divided into multiple categories (sushi, starters, salads, veggies and house specialties as well as unique items like yakitori (skewered meats), noodles and rice, yaki meshi (crispy rice), meat and seafood and of course dessert.
They talked us into ordering their renowned Kurobuta Pork Belly, which is Berkshire pork belly slow cooked with daikon and a poached egg. They serve them on a bun which is common throughout so many parts of Asia actually, not just Japan. You could also opt for the Kuromitsu Beef ribs which they simmer in Japanese molasses.
The other dish we would never have ordered is their infamous Pancake. Truth be told, I avoid dishes which are heavy in carbs and anything made with flour is typically a last consideration unless it is so typical of a region, we give it a miss. Their Hiroshima style pancakes are layered with fried eggs and egg noodles and you can get additional toppings for it, such as shrimp, squid, crab, bacon (yes, really – yum, right?), mochi, beef, cheese or kimchi.
They serve it with a classic Okonomiyaki sauce with mayo and bonito flakes. The mayo was a bit confusing at first (it looked like melted cheese) but somehow, the dish just works.
We started the evening off with one of the lightest options of the meal: Carpaccio where we sampled several different fish options. (note that typically you order one not an assortment). The chef picked the Ocean Trout, Amberjack and Toro. What made this appetizer so unique was their addition of Jalapeno, Ikura, Ponzi sauce, pickled ginger, cabbage, green onions, garlic and their special 7 spice blend.
Also fresh, light and delicious is their Wagu Tartare, which they make with avocado, wagu, ikura, basil (wild, right?), quail egg and chili flakes. It is a winning combination that melts in your mouth. On top, they add a few chili flakes, ponzu oil and their 7 season spices.
You may be wondering whether we went with beer, wine, sake or something else equally refreshing. Bushido offers great selections of all three, as well as some fun cocktail options. We had to try some of their Tengumai Yamahal, which is a dry nutty sake with butterscotch and walnut flavors (they also offer flavored sake, i.e., infused with lychee, plum or Asian pear) and because the cocktail menu was diverse enough, we couldn’t refuse.
For example, there’s the Okinawa Splash, which they serve with Svedka Vodka, Peach Schnapps. Pineapple, Sprite and Grenadine. It sounded amazing but a bit sweet for my taste, so I went for a classic Vodka Martini with with Hana Lychee Sake, St. Germain and lychee syrup. They also include a few fresh lychees for garnish.
Anthony went for the Ohana, which you could say is the closest thing to a Pina Colada on the menu, but get this: they make it with Rum, coconut cream, Calpico yogurt (how’s that for unique?), yuzu and a splash of pineapple. Both drinks were simply divine!
A couple of other call outs include their Geisha Gimlet which they make with Moonstone Asian Pear Ginjo Sake, St. Germain, yuzi and cucumber if you want “refreshing” and the Oyabun for whiskey lovers. They use Bulleit Rye Whiskey and combine with orange, cherry and mint. They also have plenty of non-alcoholic refreshers and unique beers, far beyond Sapporo and Kirin, like Hitachino Nest, Echigo and Asahi super dry.
Our waiter was eager to have us try their Miso Marinated Cod, which they broil and then sear it. It was tender that it simply fell off the fork and melted in your mouth. So much wow in this dish!! Simple, but elegant, fresh and healthy.
Other fun highlights include Maki Brushstroke with spicy tuna, snow crab, shrimp tempura topped with trout, avocado, spicy mayo, sweet soy and tempura crunch. Meat lovers will appreciate their grilled meat skewers — think hearts, cartilage, beef tongue, Kurobuta sausage, and bacon wrapped enoki to name a few.
If you’re a veggie lover and stay clear of meat altogether, there are vegan options as well as grilled vegetable skewers, including Shiitake mushroom, Japanese eggplant, Shishito peppers and others.
For dessert, they offer an incredible White Chocolate Fondue with an assortment of fruits and mochi ice cream (choice of green tea, azuki, white mocha, or white chocolate) and served over a flame. OMG, right? We went for the white chocolate fondu option — let’s just say that it was a perfect way to end the evening.
Although we were there at dinner, they apparently have an enhanced lunch menu and sushi bar seating option were you can interact directly with Chef.
The restaurant seats 60 inside and 18 out on their patio. The ever so ecletic interior design is the work of Leslie and David Takamoto and the workwork was done by Norio Shimada. There’s also a very funky purple noren and traditional red izakaya lantern at the entrance and there’s a back noren which features hiragana calligraphy from Nobuko Saito.
Two thumbs up!! We loved our Bushido experience so much, we’d happily return to try more dishes (and sushi of course) next time we’re in the South Bay.
Bushido is located right in the heart of Mountain View California along the main drag, so if you come early, you can walk up and down, check out the shops and coffee bars as well. They typically have lights lit up and down Castro Street as well which makes for a romantic stroll before or after dinner.
Bushido Izayaka Restaurant
156 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
Note: we were hosted by the restaurant but all opinions expressed are entirely our own.