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The Early Word On Chotto In The Marina

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Photo: Jennifer Yin

Since opening in early December, bloggers and critics alike have had something to say about Chotto, the Marina's new izakaya-inspired spot from owners Tad and Zerlayna Horie. Many are looking for chef Armando Justo's Yoshi's/Ozumo pedigree in the joint's organized 7-section menu. And there's now a ramen rendition that's been attracting attention out there. Let’s take to the blogs and see how things fare at this juncture.

The Good News: Madame Unterman recently reviewed Chotto -- good news in and of itself. Her closing: "I like the way the chef incorporates excellent American products, especially pork and beef, into Japanese culinary vernacular, to come up with his own version of San Francisco comfort food." Additionally Staffan Terje of Perbacco tells 7x7 he really likes the yakitori. "Check it out,' he says. [Examiner, 7x7]

The Ramen News: Inside Scoop gave some ink to the tonkotsu ramen, which was added to the menu a little later in the game. And Stephen S. of Yelp says "I definitely feel like a lot of places in the SF area don't focus on the quality of the broth, but here the broth was great and definitely made it deserving of a 5-star rating." Meanwhile Unterman votes for the regular ramen over the spicy, so you can “taste the richness of the cloudy, pork-infused broth underscored by many slices of roasted pork” and “the best part,” the noodles, which are “curly and chewy, exactly cooked.” [ISSF, Yelp, Examiner]

The Bacon-Wrapped Mochi News: Sir Bauer gave a shout in his "Dishes to ease my return from Las Vegas" blog post. And Yelp's Tim. B echos the sentiment: “bacon and mochi went really well together!” though Jackie T. of Yelp seemed to think the “consistency was all off.” [Yelp]

The Service News: Some called it “warm and friendly,” “professional,” and “seamless” while others thought it "very very slow" and “awkward,” “as if the employees are still learning their way around Japanese food and presentation.” [Yelp, Chowhound]

The Ambiance News: Mary O. chimes Chotto has “optimal date lighting.” and Genevieve Y. calls it “Urban Zen.” Unterman agrees, saying Chotto “stands out for its aesthetic” and has a “smart, serene little dining room.” [Yelp, Examiner]

The Price News: Chowhounder Melanie Wong notes, "Prices are higher here in the Marina, on the order of 20 to 30% more than charged in the South Bay for similar dishes." [Chowhound]

The I-Want-Gizzards News: Of course some Chowhounders want more of the rare cuts than Chotto offers, like DezzerSF: "We were disappointed in the lack of yakitori on the menu, ie. gizzards, liver, chicken skin, but I guess it's hard to expect that at an izakaya in the Marina." [Chowhound]

The Pork Belly News: As Kevin M./Yelp puts it, the belly was “simple but perfectly executed thick slices of porcine heaven.” And Mary O. of yelp calls it “melt in your mouth.” But Ruggy J. thinks “It was really, really salty. So much so, that when I swallowed not only did the pork belly slide down my gullet, but a layer of the inside of my mouth joined in for the ride as well.” We'll give the final word to Unterman: it’s “velvety but not fatty, with a little smear of sweet miso mustard.” [Yelp, Examiner]

As is customary with these Good News/Bad News reports, the comments section is open for your additions.

· All Previous Chotto Coverage [~ ESF ~]

- Eva Frye


3317 Steiner Street, San Francisco, CA


3317 Steiner St, San Francisco, CA