Ippuku in Top 100, 5 Berkeley restaurants make cut

Ippuku: making its debut in the Chronicle's Top 100 this year. Photo: Laura Morton/SF Chronicle

Alice Waters would rather you didn’t know about it because she loves eating there so much, Alice Medrich is also a fan, and its most well-known dish consists of raw chicken.

And now Ippuku in Berkeley joins the hallowed ranks of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 restaurants for the first time (published in yesterday’s paper, not yet available online).

Ippuku, which was given three stars by the Chronicle’s food critic and Top 100 compiler Michael Bauer in his October review,  joins four other Berkeley restaurants in the hall of fame — three of which are Top 100 veterans. They are: Chez Panisse/Café at Chez Panisse, O Chamé, Rivoli, and Corso Trattoria. The last two are both run by Wendy Brucker and Roscoe Skipper.

O Chamé on Fourth Street: in the Chronicle's Top 100 for 2010

Ippuku was opened in 2010 by chef Christian Geiderman whose purist tendencies extend to not serving wine. Instead, the restaurant specializes in shochu, a Japanese spirit, and offers beer.


It also takes an all-embracing approach to chicken. Translated, that means every part of the chicken is served up in some form, be it thigh, skin, liver, gizzard, tail or breast cartilage. And the signature dish mentioned earlier? That would be chicken tartare.

The restaurant is also camera-shy, as one blogger found out when he tried to snap some pics inside the tastefully designed, low-lit eatery.

Noticeable for its absence in the Top 100 is Gather, another relatively new Berkeley restaurant which was admired by Bauer the first time he reviewed it in February 2010. However, on a second visit a year later he seemed a little less enamored.

Update 04.04.11: Twenty-six restaurants that made last year’s list were cut this year, among them Vik’s Chaat Corner in Berkeley. Being cut is not necessarily an indication of declining quality, as Bauer points out in today’s Chronicle. Restaurants are removed because a chef had changed and there is not enough time for an update review; or because they are not quite as good on revisits; or because they are “about as good as  remembered”, he writes. “But in the end it comes comes down to numbers — somebody has to go.”

Are there any other Berkeley restaurants that Berkeleysiders think should have made the cut but didn’t?