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Two new Peninsula restaurants make the Michelin Guide

Uploaded: May 17, 2023

Mushroom abura soba with egg and crispy add-ons from Kajiken in San Mateo. (Photo by Kate Bradshaw)

By Kate Bradshaw

Of the 19 restaurants newly added to California's Michelin Guide, two are located on the Peninsula: Kajiken in San Mateo and Breakwater Barbecue in El Granada, according to a May 17 announcement. These restaurants come recommended by the Michelin Guide's inspectors.

“A restaurant in the Recommended selection is the sign of a chef using quality ingredients that are well cooked; simply a good meal,” Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guide books, said in a statement from the Michelin Guide.

Kajiken, San Mateo

Kajiken is an abura soba, or dry or sauce-based ramen restaurant. It's been drawing long lines of customers since it opened earlier this year. I went in February and waited in line for about 70 minutes and thought the meal was absolutely worth it. No reservations are accepted. The downtown San Mateo eatery is the Japanese chain's first U.S. location.

Here's what the Michelin Guide writers had to say about it:
"Kajiken has landed on the West Coast from Japan with the promise of shaking up your noodle routine with abura soba. This noodle dish is similar to ramen but eschews the broth, instead punching up the flavor courtesy of a special blend of oils and sauces. The springy noodles are made in house (score a seat facing the windowed noodle-making area) and are satisfying enough to eat plain, but with nine varieties, why?"

Kajiken, 112 S B St., San Mateo, Instagram: @kajikensanmateo.

With Breakwater Barbecue, founder Wyatt Fields fulfilled his dream of opening a barbecue restaurant near his Half Moon Bay hometown. (Courtesy Krista Brenner Photography)

Breakwater Barbecue, El Granada

Breakwater Barbecue serves up wood fire-smoked meats by the pound, including pulled pork, brisket, sausages and spare ribs. It's owned by Coastside local Wyatt Fields, who attended Half Moon Bay High School and worked in San Francisco before returning to fulfill a dream of opening a barbecue restaurant near Half Moon Bay. Unable to pay for culinary school, he instead completed internships and kept a barbecue diary, studying different barbecue styles before creating his own barbecue restaurant, he said in a 2021 Peninsula Foodist interview.

Here's what the Michelin Guide says about it:
"This is the kind of place where you'll want to grab a beer immediately upon entering before tucking into the likes of chili made with house-ground brisket, smoked short rib and house-made sausage. Braised in smoked pork stock with roasted poblano, smoked tomato and garlic, it's packed with smoky, spicy flavors and best sided with a slice of corn bread. But wait, there's more, specifically the Texas Trinity. It's an impressive heap of brisket, ribs and links, plus two sides."

Breakwater Barbecue, 30 Avenue Portola #1B, El Granada; 650-713-5303, Instagram: @breakwaterbarbecue.
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