The story: Seattle-born Paul Krug moved to New York a few years ago and began craving the food of his hometown, specifically the teriyaki sauce prevalent in Seattle’s Japanese (and later) Korean cuisine. He opened up Glaze in Manhattan offering up a casual spot to find so-called Seattle-style teriyaki using fresh and healthy ingredients. It’s now grown to three Glaze locations in New York and the chain opened its first San Francisco spot last year on Fillmore in Pacific Heights.
Why I went: Seattle’s teriyaki scene pales in comparison to Hawaii, where I grew up (ok, that might be a bit of bragging, but pretty sure we go through more tons of teriyaki sauce than Seattle and San Francisco combined). So I was intrigued by what’s Seattle-style teriyaki. Teriyaki sauce is the soy sauce-sugar combo that creates a nice glaze for chicken and beef, and often a bit extra on top of rice too.
The vibe: A fast-casual restaurant, Glaze’s wooden decor with etched wood murals of Seattle scenes create a touch of the Northwest in the Bay Area. The friendly servers and beer selection provides a fun spot for a simple meal. But during both my visits, the restaurant seemed on the quiet side, so wondering if Seattle-style teriyaki has really caught on here where plentiful Japanese restaurants can provide ample servings of teriyaki dishes.
The booze: A nice beer selection from bottles and on tap. I ended up getting an IPA on draft that hit the spot.
The menu: You order at the counter and get a number so they’ll bring your food to your table. You start by ordering either a rice bowl or combination plate or salad, choosing your protein (chicken, beef, salmon, tofu or vegetables) and then your sauce for the salad (sesame, carrot ginger, or honey lemon). There’s a limited sides menu offering up things like cucumber salad or edamame. I tried the teriyaki chicken plate first and it was good, but the teriyaki sauce was gloopy, almost like it had too much cornstarch. The next time I ordered a grilled salmon salad trying the carrot ginger sauce, which turned out to be this bright orange, thick dressing that was too tart.
My favorite dish: I didn’t have a favorite dish because everything seemed pretty much the same. Nothing jumped out at me as being very memorable.
Insider tip: Beware the back patio. It’s a nice idea when the weather is warm, but it’s actually a bit of open space squeezed between two buildings, so pigeons are often flying back and forth and dropping bombs on unsuspecting diners.
The last bite: While the service is great and the food is on the healthy side, Glaze doesn’t live up to its name of a teriyaki grill. The sauce, supposedly made fresh every morning, comes off too stachy (and salad dressings too). Supposedly there are plans to expand to Chicago having conquered San Francisco, but I feel they should go back to the kitchen and improve their sauce before risking ruining Seattle’s reputation for teriyaki sauce.
The rating: 2 out of 4 camera snaps
The deets: Glaze Teriyaki Grill, 1946 Fillmore St. (at Pine), San Francisco. PH: 415.590.2199. Open daily from 11:30 a.m. till 10 p.m. (Sunday closes at 9 p.m.). No reservations, major credit cards accepted. www.glazeteriyaki.com
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