Fish & Bird Sousaku Izakaya [Berkeley, CA]

When I first heard that B-Dama’s chef left to start another place I was a little saddened as I continued to eat at B-Dama and noticed that the execution was… a little less exciting as before. Hoping to capture that charm again, I was excited to try out Fish & Bird in Berkeley. Parking can be painful… and well… it was, but I eventually was able to give the place a shot during its soft opening around mid February of 2020.

Started off my meal with the Japanese cabbage roll. The roll had ground up Berkshire pork mixed with vegetables stuffed inside some blanched cabbage and braised in stock with items like pork belly and other veggies. Quite nice and soft! I enjoyed the broth it was simmered in as well.

Followed that up with some flash fried shishito peppers that had a bit of soy sauce and salt. I enjoyed these though I probably like them just a little crisper.

After the peppers, a plate of Japanese croquette made with potato and ground wagyu beef appeared! Nice and crisp on the outside but soft and savory in the inside.

Some sautéed squid and Hikari Farm komatsuna with spicy squid ink sauce. Great texture, love the squid chewiness with a bit of spice.

One of their specials, this is the chawanmushi with some uni and caviar on top of a steamed savory egg custard, with shrimp, chicken, mitsuba, and shitake mushroom. Soft and savory with a combination of uni and caviar on top. I quite enjoyed it though its … pricey for me haha.

One of the interesting seafood options on the menu, I got the Sazae tsuboyaki, which is a top shell sea snail grilled over binchotan charcoal in its shell. The meat of the snail reminds me of other bivalves, a nice chew, but for me I don’t really like the entrail end bits within the shell. I was talking with one of the bar tenders and he referred back to one of the owners and they apparently love that last part. Found it on the bitter end; but I probably should’ve been drinking some alcohol with it…

And to end my rather large meal, I opted for the Kurobuta nabe. It is a Berkshire pork belly hotpot that has some mizuna and clear noodles. I enjoyed the pork belly, but I think I still prefer B-dama’s fish nabe just a tad more.

Overall, great meal and really glad this place started up! I hope it is able to break through the Covid storm and remain around. Great stuff and hopefully this brings some more mojo back to B-Dama as well.


The pandemic really kills these newer restaurants. At least the old ones already somewhat recoup the costs with furnishing the place, and closing doesn’t hurt as bad. But these new ones the investors or the chefs will lose their socks if they have to close.

Yeah that’s what I’m afraid of :confused:

I have read somewhere that the SFBA restaurants are usually better planned and have higher funding sources since it is difficult to open and survive here, just the Covid mess throws most plans into the shredder