Fish & Bird restaurant brings modern Japanese flavors to Berkeley


thanks for sharing!

Went last night. Sign on the door said it’s their soft opening and apologized in advance for any problems, but everything went smoothly. Reservations essential. The server said they were booked up by 5:30 and weren’t taking walk-ins.

House-made soft tofu ($7) was delicate and subtle. My friend who loves fresh tofu was crazy about it.

I loved the chrysanthemum and shirasu salad ($9). I’ve never had such young, crisp, juicy chrystanthemom. One of the owners said they get them from a greenhouse so they should be like that all year round. The fried tofu sticks seemed a bit rancid, but I’m really sensitive to that and neither of my companions could taste that.

I forgot to photograph many of the dishes. Menchi katsu ($12 for 2) were a standout. Vegetable tempura ($13) was excellent and had an unusual selection Black cod hanpen with cheese curd ($10 for two) were fun and unlike anything I’ve had before. Chicken kara-age ($9 for four pieces) was bone-in and excellent. Duck tataki ($13) was very good but probably would not order again as other dishes were more exciting.

Kurobuta nabe ($16) was great though I’d have liked more noodles. I got a side of rice ($3) as it kind of cried out for some.

House-made hojicha “ice cream” ($7) made from house-roasted tea was fantastic. The menu says it’s vegan, so I guess not actually ice cream.

We tried both Japanese wines, Grace gris de Koshu and Grace rosé, interesting to try but would not order them again.

We tried the Den Daiginjo ($15 / glass ), Senkin Omachi Modern ($11), and Otokoyama Junmai Nama ($11) sakes. At first the Den and Senkin seemed the most interesting, but when the fried food came out our clear favorite was the Otokoyama, so we got two more glasses of that. Next time I’ll probably just go for a bottle of that.

Great place. The owner said they’ll be adding the promised Nagoya-style dishes at the end of the month.

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Fried, marinated, chilled smelt

Tofu Skins

Soft Tofu

Seaweed w/ vinegar

Seabream over rice w/ warm dashi

Ice cream w/ Den sake lees

Houjicha roasted tea ice cream


Ordered because I was curious what $56-a-glass shochu might be like. Delicate and refined to the point of blandness.

Den red label was great.

Octopus, Mentaiko, Wakame Sunomono $23.00

Uni Flight (Two Types) $46.00

Both Hokkaido. The one on the right was shipped in the brine it’s sitting in, never encountered that before. Both were fabulous though it was really hard to get the last piece off the shizo without it slipping into the ice.

Ankimo $19.00

Simple, good. Wish I’d ordered a bowl of rice to go with it.

Anchovy Karaage $16.00


Kaki Fry $19.00

Best fried oysters I’ve had in a long time. Really large, I wonder if they were Inverness? I’ll be going back soon for mroe of these.

Karei Ichiyaboshi $26.00

Petrale sole, partially dried and grilled. Really good. I had to try this since I’ve been eating this fish my entire adult life and have never been offered it any way other than pan-fried or deep-fried. Reminds me I need to get up to Petaluma soon.

Little Gem Wasabi Salad $16.00

Good. Nice contrast to all the meat and fried.

Plenty of food for two, took some of the sole home. Before tax and tip it would have been $280 including several glasses of shochu and a grappa if I hadn’t ordered the Moriizou. Very good QPR compared with, say, Shibumi.

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I went before the pandemic. Sousaku means “creative”.

Recommended: kaisen (seafood) don (bowl); deep-fried green bean fritters; also

“ Deep-fried anchovies with white Nanban sauce and pickled shallots; Sea bream houjicha ochazuke, made with seared sea bream, roasted tea, home-made broth, rice, seaweed, japanese herbs and rice crackers; Cubed filet mignon, with chickpea puree, grilled scallions and kaeshi sauce; Raw oysters with lime and grated red radish”

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Reposting unattributed out-of-date excerpts from old news stories is not a useful contribution to this board. I don’t believe any of the dishes they mentioned were on the menu last night.

Happy to see you tried shochu! Morizo is one of the three pillars of the old guard shochu.

How did you drink it? On the rocks? On the rocks with water? If so, that may be why you didn’t get the best results.

Morizo is almost exclusively drunk 50/50 with hot water by men in Kagoshima. This unleashes the aromas and maximizes the round profile.

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I tried it straight, then added some ice. Too bad the bartender didn’t suggest hot water. I think Ian the bartender at Umami Mart did that once.

I’ve had a lot of shochu, tasted my way through much of the list at Ippuku. Personally I prefer those from the opposite end of the spectrum, the harsh ones that remind me of grappa or Chinese whiskey.

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Not surprised they did not offer with hot water. Even Tokyo drinkers are unaware that Kagoshima shochu should be drunk oyuwari—with hot water.

They have some really good choices available on the menu based on your pic. Three that I like: Tomi no Hozan, Mugi Hokka, and Mugon.

Tsunami Panhandle and Umami Mart also seem like great places to drink shochu in the SFBA.