Kirala in Berkeley
Unfortunately this time, I was quite disappointed, and I have noticed in recent years that Kirala’s magic is waning. There are a number of factors at play here. Back in the mid-90’s there was not a lot of competition in the high end restaurant scene in the East Bay, and now there are dozens of excellent choices. Additionally, I was a college student at UC Berkeley in the mid-90’s, so my tastes were not quite as refined and my budget not as high! However, despite those factors, the quality at Kirala has definitely slipped.
Our old favorite, oysters grilled on the robata, was still tasty, but the oysters were chewy. The nigiri we ordered was also not the freshest and highest quality as in the days of lore at Kirala where they served up the best fish in town. The restaurant was also not as clean and fresh as a high end sushi place should be.
We still enjoyed our dinner, and appreciated the same family operating the restaurant as they did fifteen years ago. The prices should be adjusted to the lowered quality of the inputs, or they need to step up their sourcing. I would enjoy a meal here in the future, but not with the same anticipation or expectation.