Kyoto Palace – Campbell, CA

by brendan on August 21, 2006

Last night, on the recommendation of a neighbor, we took the kids to Kyoto Palace in Campbell. While I’m not usually one to want to see how my food is made and I thought, damn, those places are pretty expensive to drag the kids along, I was assured that it would be excellent entertainment for 2 four year olds and a 2 year old and that it was pretty cheap. I probably won’t speak to that neighbor for several months.

I’ll assume that if you know what a Cod Cheek is, you typically eat fairly well and places like Kyoto Palace aren’t in your regular rotation. If you aren’t familiar with Kyoto Palace, take Beni Hana, take down the signs and replace them with Kyoto Palace signs and you’ve got it. Kyoto Palace received it’s first strike when I had to navigate the Pruneyard parking lot fighting every half-tard with a Suburban in the San Jose area for a parking spot. Once I finally hiked the 500 yards to the restaurant, we were told that they did have a table for us, oh wait, no we don’t it’ll be 10 minutes. 20 minutes later and 3 hell raising toddlers later, we were seated at our table.

Whoever thought that a place with a hot griddle embedded in your table would be a good idea should, in theme, commit hari-kari. Luckily, we didn’t have to hit a burn unit on the way home. I can easily imagine children standing on their chairs to see better and placing the palms of their tiny little hands right onto the griddle.

In defense of Kyoto Palace, our cook was decent. As they say, you can’t make chicken salad from chicken shit. He was funny, fairly polite, did cool tricks with shrimp, eggs and the other stuff he was cooking up for the table. Our server, James, was awesome. Drinks always full, kids always happy. He needs to bail from that place and get a job at a much higher end place than that. He’d make a mint.

My food, however, should have been half as good as James. I got the salmon dinner, which came with vegetables marinated in something that could only be described as Katie Couric’s armpit sweat after 5 sets of clay court tennis. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer my salmon to be grilled and should have known what I was getting myself into. It wasn’t as bad as the vegetables, but I wouldn’t order it again.

On a positive note, the kids dug their rice and tempura vegetables. They liked watching the guy flip the spatulas around and clang them and thought it was really funny when he drew a picture of a pooping chicken with egg yolk (I thought that was pretty awesome, too).

In the end, our bill was $65 and that is only because Holly also only ate appetizers. We also had no booze. Had she gotten an entree and we had a couple of drinks, we would have surpassed the benjy mark, which for me, better make it a damn good meal.

That’s the word from the man on the street looking for something to eat. Going to Seattle this week, hopefully will have some good meals to report on up there.

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