Fusion cuisine is front and center at SF’s venerable Cafe Kati

One of the reasons to make a trip to San Francisco is to experience its world-class cuisine.

But after several culinary disappointments at highly recommended restaurants via Zagat and Yelp, imagine my distrust after a long-time family friend organized a group dinner at Cafe Kati, an Asian fusion restaurant.

After reading user reviews on Yelp and food critics’ comments in Gourmet, Food & Wine and Bon Appetit magazines, I felt less jaded and more hungry for good food and good company. I found both in a cozy Fillmore / Pacific Heights restaurant and much more.

Imagine our delight as the restaurant staff seated our group in a private room in the back of the restaurant. We found ourselves with the friendly chef/owner Kirk Webber who took it upon himself to share with us his passion of the blending of east-meets-west cuisine and his long-time love affair with food culture that began to bloom as he trained in classic French techniques in San Francisco and was further refined while working as a chef in Tokyo.

That’s a long way from his roots back in the early 1980s of Orange County in an era that he described as devoid of cultural and culinary diversity.

The chef beamed with pride as he shared with us his restaurant’s milestone of soon turning 20. That’s a lifetime in restaurant years, especially in the ever-changing gourmet food scene of Northern California.

And if the delectable meal we enjoyed is any indication of things to come, Cafe Kati and its brilliant chef will be around for another 20 years to significantly contribute to San Francisco’s delicious culinary journey.

In addition to the chef and his friendly servers, our group’s food highlights included:

Appetizers

  • Vietnamese-inspired mango spring rolls
  • Crab Rangoon wontons
  • Peanut-crusted prawns on a bed of green papaya salad
  • Signature dragon roll of crispy prawns, avocado, crunchy cucumber wrapped with smoked salmon with a wasabi vinaigrette

Main courses

  • Grilled scallops served with a port red wine reduction of risotto of white corn, mushrooms, carrots and spinach
  • Miso-glazed black bass in a dashi broth season in a seven-spice Japanese spice mix, udon noodles, bok choy, green onions and a vegetable tempura
  • Grilled hanger steak in a sesame-soy marinade, spicy Spanish fries, green beans, yams, zucchini and sauteed spinach
  • Butternut-squash raviolis with a homemade sauce

What’s your favorite restaurant in the Bay Area? And what would you like me to cover in future blog posts? I would love to hear what you think.

Know Before You Go:

Cafe Kati
1963 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 775-7313
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  • Justin Moore-Brown

    Looks delicious! I'll hit this place up if/when I go back up to SF!

  • Sukhraj Beasla

    Oh wow, looks great! Thanks for sharing. I need to get back to Yelping. :)

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