Cheap Date: Chotto
An izakaya might seem like an unlikely restaurant to open in the Marina, but the tradition of the classic Japanese pub—a place bustling with drink-induced rowdiness sopped up with snacky bites of food—is in many ways a perfect fit. Chotto’s got the beer. Now if they’d only add a flat screen showing college ball games, it would be perfect. On the menu you’ll find kushiyaki—grilled skewers of everything from chicken meatballs to freshwater eel—not to be confused with sumiyaki, charcoal-grilled items including Kobe beef tongue. There’s sushi, salads (try the kanisu, a cooling mix of crab and cucumber), agemono (try the fried mushrooms), and tonkotsu ramen. The cloudy, rich broth takes a full 48 hours to prepare, and the springy noodles are made by Yamachan in San Jose. A bowlful comes with braised pork belly. Local ramen-ites have been buzzing that Chotto’s version is up there with the best. We don’t disagree.
3317 Steiner St., 415-441-2223, chottosf.com