Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Glaze Teriyaki Grill

One day, I was walking through Pacific Heights, and saw a sign that struck my interest: "Seattle-Style Teriyaki", it advertised.  Not that I wanted teriyaki, but I was intrigued.  What is Seattle-style teriyaki?  This is an unknown phenomenon to me.

I poked my head inside to see more.  The menu isn't large, focused entirely on teriyaki plates: your choice of chicken, beef, pork, salmon, tofu, or veggies, served with rice and salad, and a sauce of your choice.  A few side dishes round out the savory menu.  The sole dessert offering is cookies from a nearby bakery (that looked ridiculously good!)

Other than the cookies, the menu wasn't really my thing, but I read the rest of their signs to learn more, and decided to try a few side dishes anyway.

It turns out, Glaze is actually a mini-chain, with three locations in New York, and this single one in San Francisco.  It was started by a Seattle native who missed teriyaki when he moved to New York.  The website claims that teriyaki is to Seattle as pizza is to New York.  I've only been to Seattle once or twice, and I guess I just didn't notice this?

Anyway, even for a fast-casual place, Glaze cares about quality.  The meat is all-natural, antibiotic-free.  The salmon is never frozen.  Salad dressings and sauces are all made in house daily.
Open, tiny kitchen.
Every dish is made to order, which you can see in the small open kitchen taking up most of the store.  There is counter seating with high wooden stools all along the kitchen area.
Additional Window Counter Seating.
There a second counter, again with stools, overlooking Fillmore Street, perfect for people watching, which is where I set up shop.
If you go with a group, or don't like to sit at counters, there are also a few wooden tables for 2-4 people.  But the majority of the seating is counter-style.

Since Glaze is a casual place, you order at the register, and seat yourself.  Next to the register is a station to get whatever cutlery and napkins you desire.  Food is brought to the tables when ready.  Afterwards, you bus the table yourself in the provided bins.

I didn't love my selections, but I really appreciated that everything was made fresh to order.  I'll likely return to try some other items, as I like everything about the place, and if I ever want teriyaki, this does sound like a winner.
Crispy Vegetable Gyoza, homemade dipping sauce.  $4.
Since I didn't want teriyaki, I went for the gyoza, a side dish.  Not something I normally would order, but Yelpers all rave about the gyoza.  I had the choice of chicken, pork, or vegetable, and I picked vegetable, because I hate chicken, and generally dislike pork.

It took about 10 minutes for my gyoza to be prepared.  They arrived piping hot and fresh out of the fryer, served in a cute glass bowl.  They were absolutely dripping in oil.  Pools of oil were visible in the folds of the individual gyoza and the bottom of the dish they were served in was like a little pond.  All I could smell was oil.

Undeterred, I drained them on napkins myself, and took my first bite.  They were ridiculously hot and fresh.  I had to wait a few minutes before jumping back in.  Inside the veggies were kinda just a pile of mush, including carrots and cabbage, but I didn't taste the vegetables.  The oil overtook all the flavor.

The dipping sauce came in a plastic container, a bit strange for dine-in, and was also fairly flavorless.  It seemed like just a very mild, light, soy sauce.

Overall, not very good, but I did really like how crispy they were.  Super, super crispy. But they really needed to be drained before serving.

$4 for an order of 5 as a side dish was fine, but I wouldn't get them again.
Cold Soba Noodle Salad.  $4.
I also decided to get a side dish to go, to bring home to eat later that night.  I went for the cold soba noodle salad: "buckwheat soba noodles and vegetables tossed in house-made sesame dressing, topped with sesame seeds".

I recently had a soba noodle salad that I really liked, so I've been craving another one since, a bit random for me.  I was excited to see this on the menu.

The soba noodles were decently cooked, although a bit mushy for my taste.  I really liked the veggies: carrots, red peppers, and zucchini, all thinly sliced and long, mimicking the noodles.  But, I didn't care for the sesame dressing.  It was sweet, and very oily.  The noodles were over-dressed, tet the flavor just wasn't there.  This same dressing is also offered on the teriyaki, so maybe it works better there?  I appreciated the sprinkle of sesame seeds on top for crunch.

Overall, I didn't care for the dish, but I appreciated the fact that even this side dish was made to order - noodles were tossed with the veggies, the dressing added, the top sprinkled with sesame seeds, when I ordered, rather than in advance.

$4 was a fine price for a made-to-order dish of this size, but I didn't like it, and wouldn't get it again.
Glaze Teriyaki on Urbanspoon
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