Like last year, the first thing we did upon returning to Santa Barbara is get dinner at Kobachi. A birthday dinner, in fact, for Pauline. We got a lot of the old favorites, but tried a couple new things.
Top: cold sake, mame aju nanban, chicken tsukune.
Above: Gobo chips, salmon roe nigiri, and raw oysters.
Now for the cool new stuff. An item I’ve had a couple times before, but never had a good photo is the crispy shima ebi. It’s a big bowl of little shrimps, battered and fried, and lightly dusted with curry powder. This is not a snack for one person, but a hefty portion to be shared with several people. Amazingly, it only costs about $6.
Also new to the standard menu is a beef dish, recommended by Yoko. It’s seared beef that’s served cold with a fruit sauce. There was not enough to go around.
When Ken-san heard there was a birthday girl in the midst, he prepared a few custom dishes which we were not expecting at all, and they were lovely. One was a selection of sushi rolls, but rather than using nori, these were wrapped in grape leaves. In the rolls was snapper sashimi and it was topped with cheese, apricots, pecans and lime slices. Like nothing I’ve ever had before.
The second custom creation from the chef was also great. It was salmon sashimi with dried apricot, fresh figs, salmon roe and a curry cream sauce. A great reminder that figs were in season and to get down to the market to buy loads.
Finally, a little strawberry ice cream and fresh fig. It’s a small picture because it’s a very small serving! We couldn’t eat more anyway, we were utterly stuffed by this feast. Abel still managed to lick a plate or two!
Kobachi Izakaya Dining