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Japanese Cafe and Sake Bar Cozies Up to Kensington

Tanuki is now open

Tanuki, which recently opened in Kensington on Adams Avenue, offers two different dining experiences. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Sunday, the eatery functions as a Japanese tea house and cafe; at 5:30 p.m., it turns into a sake bar serving tapas-style plates.

During the day, the restaurant features a large assortment of carefully-prepared tea and coffee drinks, from matcha lattes and house-roasted hojicha tea sweetened with fresh green apple juice to cold brew and siphon coffee powered by local roaster OB Beans. Its lunch menu includes sushi roll sets, poke bowls, and salads as well as housemade pastries — its signature eclairs come flavored with cookie butter, coconut, and more.

Tanuki also wants to bring sake education to San Diego. It will eventually carry 100 different varieties, mostly lesser-seen bottles, featured in pairings and tastings. The chef is an alum of Nobu San Diego, and the dinner menu includes some sashimi and sushi, but also plates ranging from a twist on a caprese salad with tempura-style tomato, basil, and tofu to whole grilled fish and Wagyu beef sukiyaki.