Ittoryu Gozu [San Francisco, SoMa]

Gozu is a steakhouse specializing in Wagyu beef in SF that opened back in 2019. The kitchen is run by chef Marc Zimmerman, formerly of Alexander’s, which is a Japanese steakhouse mini chain in the Bay Area. During the pandemic Gozu has been selling bento boxes for takeout and delivery through Tock. I was gifted one of these bento boxes by family a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it.

Started with a Whistle Pig rye Manhattan which came packaged in 2 vials and came with a candied cherry as garnish. I stirred on ice and strained into a glass per the instructions. A nice Manhattan that I had as a pre-bento drink.

The bento box is presented very nicely as a wrapped set of four hexagonal containers.

The first container on top:
black cod, ramp & blood orange miso, grilled hokkaido scallop, wagyu confit maki, ramp, rainbow carrot, takuan

The first course had a meaty piece of black cod, glazed in I think the ramp and blood orange miso. To the right was a large scallop, barely cooked (if cooked at all?) and with bits of what tasted like smoky bacon. To the left was some rolls wrapped in a vegetable - the wagyu confit maki. At the top of the box were some grilled root vegetables. In the center were a few pieces of takuan, which is a pickled daikon radish. Everything here was quite good but I was actually most impressed with the grilled carrots and other root veg. Sweet and with a distinctive smoky taste from the grill.

Second container:
koji-aged hasegawa wagyu, koshikari rice & GOZU furikake, kimchi, daikon

The meatiest part of the bento. The wagyu beef was described as koji aged. Koji is a mold used in fermenting such foods as miso, soy sauce, and sake. When applied to beef it apparently tenderizes it and adds some sweetness. The beef here (not sure what cut it was) wasn’t particularly tender but had a good beefy flavor and a lot of fatty marbling. It needed a little bit of salt which I added. The rice was excellent. Perfectly cooked and with some salty furikake scattered on top.

Third container:
duck liver “manhattan”, luxardo cherry, wagyu toast, wagyu tartare, senbei cracker, dungeness crab salad, caviar, miyoga, hijiki, cucumber sunomono, bonito vinegar

Some slightly lighter items. The duck liver “Manhattan” tasted like a little piece of foie gras pâté topped with a cherry glaze. Delicious. The dungeness crab salad was on a piece of hollowed out cucumber and topped with some caviar. The wagyu toast was quite rich - tasted like a toasted brioche that had been soaked in butter (or perhaps wagyu fat?). I made canapes with the wagyu tartare.

Fourth container:
citrus tart, yuzu curd, citron, matcha, lemon marshmallow, nasturtium, sansyo, black sesame truffle, white chocolate, creamsicle choux, candied mandarin

This was the dessert box. What a beautiful presentation! There were little chocolate “twigs” interspersed between the dessert bites, and the moss and dirt underneath were edible as well - tasted like little bits of matcha flavored cake. All good bites. I particularly enjoyed the lemon tart, the sesame truffle which tasted like the ground, and the creamsicle choux which was a light choux pastry with a citrus filling.

Probably the fanciest bento box that I’ve had and a very enjoyable meal. I look forward to trying Gozu when dine-in is a thing again.

7 Likes

Wow! This box succeed in creating an atmosphere that one can only find in a restaurant.

2 Likes

Yes, the presentation was very good!

I meant octagonal :grimacing:

2 Likes

Curious, the green powder in the dessert compartment, was it edible?

Yes I think it was matcha (green tea) powder? There were also some black sesame seeds.

1 Like

Wow, thanks for the report! This is actually one of the better looking set meals. Its definitely much more elaborate than a typical bento. I guess they just shove the entire kappo repertoire into the bento.

Its somewhat weird to say this but $95 seems like a pretty good value for what you get, which is pretty complex.

I wonder if the content in the boxes will survive a typical Doordash delivery.

2 Likes
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold