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Christian Geideman, chef-owner of the Japanese yakitori restaurant and shochu bar in Berkeley, uses every molecule he can of the free-range chickens delivered to Ippuku every day. He segments the birds into their various, delicious parts and threads the meat onto skewers. The neck is particularly succulent; so are the hearts, thighs, and oyster muscles. Then he turns the rest into dishes like turnips braised with ground chicken, an exquisite chicken tartare, and ramen floating in a deep-hearted broth. What Geideman makes of the chicken - a bird bred and subdued into ignoble blandness, unloved by chefs, worthy only of nuggetization and neglect - may cause you to rethink the tuna of the land.
I love this restaurant. It has such a funky vibe and the food is really great. They stock about 100 different Japanese speciality liquors, including a great selection of Sake. They have an outdoor bar (at the restaurant entrance). I've been here three times and last night I tried (and LOVED) the chicken tartare (yes, chicken tartare).
Ask anyone who's moved from Japan about San Francisco's izakaya boom and they'll roll their eyes, agreeing with you that all it seems to take to call yourself an izakaya here is to add a few skewers to your sushi menu. And then they'll interrupt the complaining to interject, Except Ippuku, of course. Christian Geideman's restaurant -- brutishly beautiful, serenely industrial -- is the product of a focus so intense it's almost, well, Japanese. He specializes in chicken in many... More »
In the week following simultaneous restaurant reviews in the Chronicle and SF Weekly of Ippuku, a Japanese restaurant in Berkeley, the Chronicle's comments sections filled with disgust over a dish tha... More »
View more photographs in the Ippuku slideshow. It's one thing to say that you're all for whole-animal cooking, O Pollanite, and another thing to revel in the crunchy-chewy-slippery chunks that you slip to the dog. Take a chicken carcass, for... More »
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