I was only aware of Redwood City, about 25 miles south of San Francisco, as the place where Neil Young has his home, his recording studio, and model railroad. I certainly didn’t know that it was the home of a really good and unusual Japanese restaurant. It is: in the form Kemuri Japanese Baru, which specializes in on-premises smoking, where I was taken by my pal Marco, who’s German, and his wife Mitsuko, who’s Japanese.
As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of smoked food, and a bit of a culinary smoker in my own small way. In fact the Kemuri smoker didn’t look much bigger than mine, though it did look more industrial.
Not absolutely everything on the menu is smoked - there’s a “ceviche” that’s blasted tableside with a blowlamp (I’m kicking myself that I didn’t have that), and the French fries aren’t smoked in themselves, though they are seasoned with smoked salt, and also crushed seaweed, which was a knockout.
And so we plunged into the menu: smoked pickles (no, I’m not sure how they came to be smoked):
Smoked devilled eggs:
Smoked monkfish liver – this was probably the highlight of the meal:
Smoked unagi sliders – the “buns” are made of rice:
And finally, though it should probably have come first – the Smoked Manhattan – apparently they put the glass in the smoker which sounds like a high-risk enterprise to me, but I guess they know what they’re doing.
I understand that Neil Young has given up alcohol, which may or may not be a good thing, though frankly I don’t imagine he was ever much of a Smoked Manhattan drinker.