Nick Balla's 2011 Find: Great Skewers and a New (Old) Herb
|Nick Balla of Bar Tartine.|
This year, Nick Balla switched directions, culinarily speaking, leaving his position as chef of Nombe Izakaya to cook Californian-Hungarian food at Bar Tartine. Here's what he had to say about his 2011 finds:
"I just had a chance to check out Izakaya Yuzuki (on Guerrero and 18th St.)," he says. "I was blown away. It's a mellow place, with more of a family feel, not as wild as a lot of izakayas with booze. The chef, Takashi, worked at Ame for a long time.
"From crab sunomono and yakitori (skewers) marinated in a house-cultured koji -- the grilled wings and tsukune (meatballs) are excellent -- to nuka pickles, shiokara (squid guts), braised beef tendon, and grilled squid, everything is prepared at a level you would find at a top-quality izakaya in Japan. They use few processed ingredients, unlike most American Japanese restaurants do. This is the real deal."