Oakland: Aburaya

Back in May, I met up with my friend CT at Aburaya after work for some din din.  At the time, Aburaya was undergoing some cosmetic reconstruction:


As a result, there was no dine-in space.  Instead, you could only buy take-out:


Not a problem for us since it was a nice spring day and there just happened to be a little street party going on downtown with music and dancing.  And a convenient flower planter where we could sit.  (After we finished eating, we walked around the planter in search of a trash can only to find a whole bunch of tables and chairs we could have sat at instead.)

The two of us split eight pieces of fried chicken ($13) over rice (+$3):


I don't remember what seasonings we ultimately decided on.  We definitely got four pieces dry and four pieces wet.  I think we asked for garlic miso for the dry and maybe the agave ginger teriyaki for the wet?  I do, however, remember not really being able to distinguish between the two.

The fried chicken nanban salad (part of the changing side menu) was recommended to us:


I did not like it at all.  There was just something bitter and off-putting about the pickled veggies that killed the whole thing for me.  I still ate it though.

What?  I paid for it (though I don't remember how much)!  I ain't letting that money go to waste.

I didn't think I would go back to Aburaya again, but I actually went back just tonight with VN.  CT was originally going to join us, but she got stuck at work and couldn't make it.

Good thing I looked up the address again because Aburaya had moved to an entirely different location a couple blocks away:


There was dine-in seating this time around:


We managed to snag the last available table for two, then waited for our name to be called to pick up our order.

The location wasn't the only thing that changed, so did the prices.  Eight pieces of fried chicken was $15, up two dollars from May:


VN said she preferred the dry seasoning, so we got the garlic miso and the shichimi (chili pepper with nori and orange zest).  Once again, I couldn't tell the difference between the two seasonings.  I'm starting to think they all taste the same.

We also ordered the kurobuta tonkatsu ($9):


The pork cutlet was super dense and the breading a bit too thick.  Loved the fat layer though.  Just wish the breading was lighter and crispier.

To add a veggie touch, we got the fried avocado ($6):


I was expecting the avocado to come in the form of fries, but it turned out to be the perfect avocado to breading ratio.  The center was filled with some kind of citrusy aioli.  The salad below was dressed, but I couldn't really taste anything besides greens.

My favorite thing was actually the dill sauce that came with both the fried chicken and the tonkatsu.  Since VN was obsessed with Aburaya's spicy sauce from its condiment shelf, I was able to hog all the dill sauce for myself.  By the end of the meal, I was just eating cabbage dipped in sauce.

After two visits, I can't say I'm a huge fan of Aburaya, but I don't hate it either.  The food is alright, though a tad overpriced.  It just wouldn't be in my list of top ten restaurants in Oakland.


Aburaya
362 17th St
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 502-7743
http://aburayaoakland.com/garden-house/

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