One of the biggest trends in the last year or so has been the popularity of izakaya-style Japanese restaurants in San Francisco.
Chotto and Nombe are just two that have gained wide popularity for their Japanese “pub-grub” featuring yakitori (grilled skewered items) and other assorted smaller plates.
The latest restaurant to throw its hat into the ring is Nojo, which opened for full service on Wednesday night.
Located in a blossoming area of Hayes Valley, the restaurant features an eclectic menu of very traditional items (chawan mushi, miso soup, skewered chicken and duck parts) to the more imaginative (little gems salad with Ponzu dressing, pickled avocado salad, beef tartare).
There is also a wide range of locally brewed beers on tap and by the bottle, and a sake and wine list as well.
With a modern interior and sprawling open kitchen, the atmosphere is very nouveau-Japanese. There are normal tables set up along with two different counters available.
Chef and owner Greg Dunmore, who previously was the Executive Chef at Ame in San Francisco, credits Hiro Sone, owner and chef at Terra and Ame for a lot of his expertise in Japanese food. But he also spent quite a bit of time in Japan, exploring regional izakaya, sake breweries and yakitori shops, developing a sense of the cooking style needed for Nojo.
Like all new restaurants, the staff is still working out a few of the kinks. But given time, the restaurant should prove to be another successful izakaya/yakitori venture in San Francisco.
Click here for Nojo’s website.