Friday, March 28, 2008

Restaurant Jaunt: Gochi

Gochi has been getting some rave reviews in the area. When I called for a reservation, the lady said that the reservations are backed up for two weeks!! I got there early to see what the fuss was all about. The atmosphere is nice, with the option of sitting at a normal table or kneeling Japanese-style on tatami. The hostesses and servers were all very polite and accomodating.
It's a Japanese tapas restaurant, so everything is served in small portions. Gochi is also known as a fusion restaurant, combining Japanese food with cuisines such as Italian, Chinese, Korean, French, and Spanish. They do have some classics, but for really good classic Japanese food I would recommend you go elsewhere.

We started with the Yuzu Ceviche, which came with homemade chips. This wasn't very good. The ceviche was very roughly chopped and I didn't like the flavor or texture of it.
Next, we got some braised pork with yellow wasabi and scallions, which seemed to be Chinese-Japanese fusion. It was good, but nothing new to me... maybe because my mom makes the exact same dish for less than a quarter of the price! :)
Next, we got the Haraime Carpaccio, which was served with alfalfa and pesto sauce. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night!

Haraime Carpaccio

Next we had Salmon Meshi, which is a fairly traditional dish. Meshi dishes are claypot dishes, where rice, fish, and some other seasonings are cooked in a hot rice pot. The rice sticks to the pot and becomes crispy and brown (my favorite!) and the whole thing is mixed then divided into bowls by the server. Definitely a well made, traditional Japanese dish at Gochi.
Another classic was the yaki onigiri, or fried rice balls. We ordered it with tuna-mayo. I was quite disappointed with Gochi's rendition, the tuna-mayo was on top of the yaki onigiri instead of inside. Also, the yaki onigiri wasn't completely golden-brown, and the inside was soft and mushy white rice. I didn't enjoy this dish.
Another one of my favorites of the night was an Italian-Japanese fusion dish of risotto croquettes served in tomato-basil and pesto sauces. The risotto had tiny specks of mushroom in them, and was quite delicious. The outside was fried golden and crispy, complete perfection. This is what fusion food is all about!

Risotto croquettes in tomato-basil and pesto sauce

I wish I took a picture of our last savory dish, a pizza that I have forgotten the name of, but it disappeared so quickly I didn't get the chance. It was covered with lump fresh crab meat, white cheese, enoki mushrooms I think, fish eggs, and a few other things. Upon closer inspection, I noticed the crust was not a regular pizza crust, but a crispy Chinese-pancake style crust, dotted with chopped green onion!The combination was divine. At first I didn't think I was unsure about this dish, but it turned out really good. The saltiness of the fish egg really melded with the softer, meltier flavors of the cheese.

The Gochi dessert menu sounds really ambitious and delicious, so I ordered two: Strawberry Tiramisu and Green Tea Creme Brulee. These dishes sound good in theory, but were very poorly executed. The strawberry tiramisu wasn't soaked in strawberry liquer like I thought it would be, but was just a normal mocha-y tiramisu with some strawberry whipped cream and a strawberry on top. Very disappointing. The creme brulee wasn't terrible, but there was no real indication of it being green tea flavored other than its green color. At 6.50 each, I thought they were wildly overpriced.

Strawberry Tiramisu

Green Tea Creme Brulee

Gochi is a decent restaurant, but I expected to be wowed because of the hype and the prices. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to those expectations. However, a few dishes were truly innovative and delicious, such as the risotto croquettes and the crab pizza. I might come again for those two, and maybe try a few more dishes.

19980 Homestead Rd
Cupertino, CA 95014

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