Monday, April 21, 2008


Continuing with my ongoing Berkeley meals, I went to lunch at a neighborhood Berkeley Japanese Restaurant, Genki (1610 San Pablo Ave. at Cedar), which is right across San Pablo Avenue from Café Fanny. We noticed it the day we lunched at Café Fanny and were curious.

We heard mixed reviews of Genki, but decided to give it a try, all the same. Apparently, there has been an ownership change in the recent past. Our one colleague, who has lived in Japan, said that the sushi was not very good.

Undaunted, we arrived at about noon. The restaurant is plain and shares a parking lot with the motel which is behind it. It was about half full when we arrived and continued to be reasonably busy throughout our meal. About half the clientele was Japanese. The sushi chef as busy at the sushi bar doing his thing and, from what I could see, he and those sitting at the bar seemed pleased with their sushi.

Once seated, we were immediately brought steaming mugs of hot tea. This made us feel at home as well as warmed. What a nice touch! And, there was no charge for the hot tea.

I decided on the Tempura lunch special, priced at $8.00. It included two large deep-fried Prawns and a mix of deep-fried vegetables that included green bean, carrot, sweet potato, and broccoli. Several fresh Edamame garnished my plate.

The lunch specials are served with Miso Soup, a salad, rice, and a few wedges of fresh orange.

J's Chicken Teriyak-Gyoza lunch combination ($7.50) was presented in a lacquered box which held everything but her Miso Soup.

Both of our meals were delicious...not only do we plan to return again soon, but we already have a long list of things to try next time. At the top of my list is the Nabeyaki Udon that one of the men at the table behind was enjoying... it is a Noodle soup in which there are vegetables and prawns and which is topped by an egg which seems to have been poached in the broth.

Genki is open for lunch on weekdays and for dinner every evening from 5 p.m.

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