Eatting Out Asian Style: “On the Bridge”, “Balboa Teriyaki”, and “Pagan Restaurant”

24 Jul

If you’ve been reading my other posts, you’ll realize that the other two restaurants (Caffe Italia and Perry’s) are Italian and American. “Where are the Asian restaurants?” you might be asking. And well, here you go. :)

After a tired night of working, my friend and I decided to eat out in SF’s Japantown on the bridge at the “On the Bridge” restaurant. (I do love the name, don’t you?)

On the Bridge (Literally)

SF Japantwon


Not my photo, from yelp.

It’s fun and ‘hip’, but good for all ages. The chairs are all different neon colors, Japanese comic books line one of the walls, Japanese stuffed animal sit on the back counter, and Japanese movies (with subtitles) always playing on the tvs overhead. Counter seats and tables for two and four are available.

What We Ordered:

Well, the food always come in great presentation. See more photos here.

Grilled Plate: Vegetable Saute – $9.95

Served on a sizzling hot plate with rice.

Mhm…Yummy… :)

Vegetable Curry with Rice – $10.95

Basically the same ingredients as the sizzling vegetable saute, but with a medium spicy Japanese curry sauce. If you’ve never had a Japanese curry, I’ll try to explain. it’s a mild curry compared to Indian and Thai curries; it’s more mild, but there are different levels of spiciness. Medium is best. Mild is good for young kids. There is no strong smell and no strange after taste. The best curry to me.

This is one of my favorite places to go. I’ve been going here since I was four.I don’t think I’ll be stopping any time soon. :)

But honestly, it’s a pretty good price for the amount that you get. There was no curry leftovers, but there was for the sizzling plate. Good service, very friendly and prompt. Cute ambiance and good selection of foods like Japanese pastas (Neapolitan spaghetti and salmon roe noddles, I think) some kind of Japanese pizza, Au Grains, and traditional Japanese selections. I’ve yet to try the Au Grain and Pizza, but I’ve heard it’s good. I love the menu.

Balboa Teriyaki

The Outer Richmond’s Version of Japanese Cuisine

I call it fate or perhaps even destiny that the next day my other friend – who was also taking the summer school course earlier with me – wanted to go have lunch at a Japanese place. I wanted to laugh over the phone when she asked me because I couldn’t believe my luck. However, when she suggested Balboa Teriyaki I knew that I had nothing to fear.

Recently under a new management, this place has only gotten better. With the new management, the menu was the same with the addition of more sushi, don buri, and bento box options. The outside changed too; there’s now a lit picture menu like at the McDonald’s Drive Thru menu. This was slightly strange to me, but as long as the food is good, then it’s fine with me.

Japanese style booths are available as well as tables for four. Japanese decor and the uniforms of the waitresses too. Good for dates, I suppose. But not a fine dining restaurant.
Ambiance: 4/5

Wonderful! We were given their Spicy Tuna Roll, Fried Shrimp Skewers, and Edamame (soft-shelled Japanese beans) for free! The waitress was nice and very accommodating too. I’ve gone here before and gotten free green tea ice cream for our party of three. This time, it was a party of 6. The more people you bring the bigger free items you get…so I hear. :)
Service: 5/5

What We Ordered:

Edameme Beans

Shrimp Skewers

Bento Box: Chicken Teriyaki + Beef Teriyaki – $8.50

Ha..Ha.. Why’s the chicken and beef naked? Well, that’s my fault. I don’t like sauce so I asked for it on the side. Otherwise, the presentation would have looked a lot better.
The bento box comes with your choice of two items, four California rolls, a salad, and miso soup, all for $8.50 at lunch time.

Chicken Katsu – $7.95

From Balboa Teriyaki

Unagi Don – $7.95

Try comparing this to the On the Bridge’s Unagi Don pictured above.

Spicy Tuna Roll

Go here. And quickly. Run! The food is great, service is wonderful, and you never know what kind of free food they’ll give you. Decently authentic Japanese food. Good portions for price.

The bad thing I noticed was that my chicken and beef were pretty scrawny if you look at it.

I’d expect for meat please!

Pagan Restaurant
(at 3199 Clement Street, SF)

This is another good Outer Richmond restaurant. It’s like a hidden gem in this residential neighborhood. On the more quieter side of Clement Street, this restaurant is located on a strip of Clement that has two other small cafes, the Lincoln Golf Course and Playground, and a few other shops and restaurants including a belly dancing restaurant. It can be said that in time, this once quiet street will be bustling with tourists and others from all over the city as this restaurant is discovered.

The dress is casual, but it still feels like a nice restaurant. Definitely good for dates and groups 12 people or less.

There is a big room (shown) and smaller, more private area too.

What We Ordered:

Ginger Salad (Thai) – $7.95

When the salad comes to the table, all the ingredients are separated and the server will explain each one and then toss it right in front of you. Seeing the swirls of colors go ’round and ’round are quite the crowd pleasers, but the taste is exquisite. This particular salad has dried soy beans/edamame beans, peanuts, fried ginger, and fried garlic slices. It’s a very “crunchy” salad with a ginger flavor that doesn’t overpower it. — 5/5

Chicken Thai Fried Rice

Tasty and delicious. It’s not too oily, but this is fried rice so it’s not completely out of the ‘oil’ woods. However, definitely not too much oil. I have no complains. –4.75/5

Spicy Eggplant w/Beef, Bell Peppers, Basil, Garlic -$8.25

Simply the best thing that night. This paired with the rice was great. All the Thai spices with the beef, eggplant, bell peppers, green chilis – you can ask for mild – and the basil make a wonderful dish. —- 5/5

Low Carb Pad Thai – $7.95

The only difference between this dish and their regular Pad Thai is the noodles. I’m not how to explain it, but I’ll try. These seem like the same “glass noddles” that are in the Filipino pancit bihon noodles. But anyhow, if you’re not picky about your noodles, then the dish is basically the same; nothing else has changed.

Personally, I like Pad Thai, but sometimes there’s just too much oil used in the general process. Here is no different but there’s not a large amount either. It’s your typical oil amount.

Good prices for the amount. For all those dishes plus two hot teas, the bill was about $46 (not including tip). I have yet to explore the curries and other appetizers like the platha. (I have tried the samosas which is good. No photo though). With a separate Thai menu and Burmese menu, there is a whole lot to try. Great for all ages.

For dessert, they also have a typical fried banana with coconut ice cream. ($4.50)

I hope this helps you when you go out to eat “Asian style” in San Francisco. Overall, my favs were On The Bridge and the Pagan Restaurant though the freebies from Balboa Teriyaki wasn’t too bad either.

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