To call K’s Kitchen understated would be, well, an understatement.
Sometimes things are “unassuming” in a performative or theatrical sort of way that loudly professes just how easy-going and down to earth it is. You know, it’s that thing when someone is high maintenance about being low maintenance. Think Paula Deen. But there are other things, like Where’s Waldo, that are so unassuming that they’re actually REALLY hard to find.
Today’s RAM adventure, K’s Kitchen, is the latter.
Case-in-point: this image from Google Streetview:
It’s there. Hidden behind that tree. I promise. The awning looks like this:
Awning-aside (it’s hard to read when you’re under it anyway), there’s very little indication that there’s a restaurant in there. M, my dining companion, and I walked passed it twice, but I’m willing to accept a little bit of the blame for that. I wasn’t in the best head space because (1) I had skipped lunch in anticipation of this RAM adventure, and (2) we decided to work up an appetite by walking the 6 miles from my apartment to K’s Kitchen.
Honestly, I was so delirious and filled with hunger-induced-rage that by the time we made it to Monterey Boulevard I would have found anything less than a neon sign pointing me directly to a table already drowning in arm-length sushi rolls extremely frustrating.
Even though I was head-buzzingly hungry, I still tried my best to engage in playful banter with the waitress. As a reviewer, I know that it’s extremely important that I suss out the restaurant’s vibe, so that I can pass those crucial details about ambiance and atmosphere on to you — even if that means staving off a starvation-induced coma.
Our waitress was young and happy to chat. We told her that we were there because Supervisor Norman Yee gave it his Restaurant Appreciation Month award. Our waitress, laughed and said, “yeah, he comes here … a lot,” which is great because it totally comports with the version of Norman Yee that lives in my head. I like to imagine that the Supervisors’ RAM selection give us a little insight into their political calculus. Each restaurant is a proxy for how that Sup wants to be perceived.
Katy Tang chose John’s Ocean Beach Cafe because its a down-to-earth local institution,
David Campos chose Queen’s because its a unique option in an under served neighborhood,
Mark Farrell chose Delarosa because its popular, moderately upscale, and trendy, and
Norman Yee chose K’s because he likes the taste of the food…. A LOT. He might choose it again next year. Who’s going to tell him he can’t? Not me.
Norman Yee is one of my fave Supervisors. Unlike his younger, more volatile colleagues, I’ve never seen him yell or grandstand or stomp out of meetings. He’s always politely quiet (borderline boring), but his “aw shucks” brand of obliviousness belies a deeper concern for his community. Watch this video where he talks about the need to protect the health of sex workers, and also being unable to recognize a brothel. He’s ADORBS.
Sure, his humble, regular guy persona could be an act, but at least he’s pretending to be the kind of guy that I would like.
Norman Yee’s personality aside, we ordered so much food you could have confused it for a pan-Asian Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving dinner. We ordered a Pay Day Sushi Roll (spicy tuna, avocado, topped with crab meat and tobiko) ($12),
which was very tasty and came highly recommended by a person who I’ve never met on Yelp.
We also ordered the Crispy String Beans ($7) from the “small plates” menu. I like that K’s doesn’t try to box you in with an “appetizer” menu AND/OR a “sides” menu. Just put it all down as “small plates” and let the customer decide. That’s Freedom. William Wallace would be proud.
We chose the green beans on the recommendation of the waitress. She told us that she recommends it to everyone because “a lot of people order it.” That may be because she’s been recommending it to them. I don’t know. It’s a chicken-or-egg problem, that I’m too hungry to solve.
I think this was M’s favorite dish of the night. I distinctly remember telling her not to bogart the green beans. M does this thing, when she really likes a dish, where she sneakily tries to offer me more of the other options while she ferrets as much of the dish she likes onto her plate as possible. Like I don’t notice. If you are dining with someone like M, order your own plate of green beans.
We also got the Chicken Katsu ($12), and Pork Katsu ($12), because one Katsu just isn’t enough. Unfortunately, I deleted the picture of our Katsus, both Chicken and Pork while purging my iPhone of unflattering selfies, so I don’t remember what they looked like. In retrospect, it probably would have been better to order less similar dishes, but whatever. I don’t care. I liked them both. YOLO.
The pièce de résistance of the evening, however, was the complementary miso soup. Luckily, M and I each had our own bowls, so we didn’t have to come to fisticuffs over who got which ladle-full.
I, as a hard and fast rule, do not like miso soup. Not liking miso is part of my brand. People know me as that guy who doesn’t like miso. Well, there’s chink in my armor. This was the tastiest miso soup I’ve ever had. Mea Culpa. I want to bathe in it. I want to build a mansion and have a fountain where bronze dolphins shoot K’s Kitchen miso soup out of their blowholes. It was so good that I would let another person feed it to me in the same way a mother bird feeds her baby birds.
I tried to rewrite Def Leopard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me in its honor, but I didn’t get any further than “Pour. Some. Miso. On. Maaay.”
This is my “I’ve eaten so well I have food coma” face