“Nojo” is Japanese for “farm,” a tip-off that Nojo is serious about the provenance of its ingredients. A list of “daily nojos” on the menu might boast Prather Ranch (beef tongue), TwoXSea (steelhead) and Mariquita Farm (squash blossoms) any one day. But this small Hayes Valley izakaya wears its dedication to quality lightly. Chef/owner Greg Dunmore divides the menu into two categories: “stick” and “not on a stick.” A non-stick dish might include tender squid resting in a sake and butter broth with some seriously earthy new potatoes and vibrant chrysanthemum greens. The yakitori dishes include an exceptionally succulent chicken thigh and scallion skewer with a hint of sweet tare and a woodsy char. To match, head for the sake list, which ranges from the crisp yet open-knit Shichi Hon Yari (“Seven Spearsmen”) to the more deeply savory Genji (“Shining Prince”).
231 Franklin St. (at Linden), San Francisco, California
Longtime senior editor at Wine & Spirits magazine, Luke now works for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.
This story appears in the print issue of October 2011.
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