Most of Wakuriya is not restaurant, but kitchen. Due to the cooking implements and the counter that stretches across the space, the dining room fits only 18 seats, as the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "Kitchen" might not be the appropriate term for Chef Katsuhiro Yamasaki's workstation, however—"stage" seems more apt. For each evening's dinner, in full view of his guests, Katsuhiro prepares a nine-course meal of contemporary Japanese cuisine. His wife Mayumi acts as hostess and floor manager throughout, delivering the dishes and coordinating with her husband in a sort of elaborate, graceful dance.
Like a pilot who’s too shy to remind anyone he’s waiting to land, each meal holds to a pattern: a starter, appetizers, a steamed dish, sashimi, a deep-fried dish, a granite, a broiled dish, a rice dish, and a dessert. The menu changes monthly to incorporate seasonal ingredients, but consistently draws from and recasts Japanese culinary traditions. When the Chronicle's restaurant reviewer visited, he praised the appetizers of lotus root, rare duck breast, and ocean trout salad, noting "a tension of opposing flavors" that remained a motif of the entire experience. Those fortunate enough to reserve a table might feast on barbecued freshwater eel served over rice in a cypress box, or they may cut into farm-raised wagyu steak served with shredded brown mushrooms. The crisp, citrusy flavors of the granite ready the palate for the next course, and the sweet, light dessert brings the meal to a satisfying close.