Fillmore has a new taste

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The charred pork rib are a tender and filling side at Glaze Teriyaki Bar.

Alice Jones
Food Columnist

Seattle-style teriyaki has made its way to the Bay Area and moved to the corner of Fillmore and Polk streets. Swinging its doors open late last month, Glaze was met with hoards of hungry local dental students and high schoolers eager to get a taste of the Korean spice infused, Japanese teriyaki.

The charred pork rib are a tender and filling side at Glaze Teriyaki Bar.
The charred pork rib are a tender and filling side at Glaze Teriyaki Bar.

A wooden bar wraps around the kitchen, serving as a combined seating and order pick-up area. Patrons waiting in line can hear the sizzle of the meats and watch food being prepared as they decide on their meal.

Thin strips of chicken breast or thigh, hanger steak, organic salmon and boneless pork loin are charcoal grilled and doused in sweet teriyaki sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The meats can be ordered individually, in a combo with a second meat or a $2 side, or on a salad.  Although each meat has its own texture, they all end up tasting alike after being slathered in the same sweet teriyaki.

All meats additionally can be doused in one of three spicy sauce options. The Spicy and Extra Spicy are relatively similar and contrary to their titles are not hot, despite trying them on several occasions. The cashier issued a warning about trying “the hottest teriyaki sauce” which is spicy, but doesn’t overwhelm the mouth and overpower the dish.

Glaze provides vegetarian options, serving tofu or wok-tossed vegetables. The vegetables are cooked perfectly, crisp yet without the raw taste. The light zest of lemon yuzu added during cooking brings out the individual flavors of each vegetable and adds a citrusy contrast to the sweet teriyaki drizzle.

The menu allows customers to mix and match dressings, meats, rices and sauces to create custom meals. All plates include a salad with the choice of the savory sesame, crisp and fresh carrot ginger or sweet honey lemon dressing. Each creates a different and delicious blend with the sweet teriyaki meats.

The tofu lightly marinated in soy sauce is relatively lackluster and isn’t cooked in the customer’s sauce preference; the sauces is just drizzled on after. The squares of organic tofu have a weak flavor, even when it is covered with the hottest sauce.

All sides are under $5 and the steamed edamame, shishito peppers and cucumber salad in a rice vinegar are gluten free. A popular side is the bowl of four crispy deep fried pot stickers with a juicy inside of pork, chicken or veggie, but the cashier recommend trying the pork — which  were far more flavorful after trying the chicken.

A pricey, but delicious, side is the charred pork ribs coated in Glaze’s special Asian barbecue sauce spiced with sriracha. The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.

Glaze is just getting its sea legs dealing with the bustling lunch crowd, but the friendly cooks manage to get orders out in under 10 minutes.

Glaze’s has filled a niche in restaurant-heavy Pacific Heights that was lacking a fast-serve, to-go teriyaki with succulent originality. Glaze is open Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., weekends noon to 10 p.m..

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