For a long time, Kaiseki Saryo Hachi had an air of secrecy – a restaurant that only existed in a whisper among connoisseurs. Pop-up born of a pandemic with Michelin credit, it did not exist on any map. You had to text the owner directly to get a reservation and order the menu you wanted in advance, although there was no obvious menu online. And it was housed in a ramen shop in a mall in Burlingame, sandwiched between a yoga studio and a sports memorabilia store. Meanwhile, on Instagram, people posted collages of their meals there: steamed chawanmushi that appeared to sparkle and king crab shells filled with eggs and carefully selected meat. Honestly, it was the fear of missing out that made me persist in trying it myself.
So, was Kaiseki Saryo Hachi just a dream? Spoiler alert: Narnia is real, and it only takes a small step in a wardrobe. As a long-time restaurant enthusiast, I’ve encountered my fair share of “hidden gems” – surreptitious dinners on bridges, street vendors with fancy hours, and the Instagram glut of pop-ups just for people. DM – but Kaiseki Saryo Hachi was probably the most hidden of them all.
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