The 68-seat bar at this Japanese-inspired robata grill and sushi restaurant is downstairs, and with its dark nooks and dusky walls, it feels a bit like a secretive hideout, an otherworldly space where a glowing block of solid ice sits behind a striking bar, made from a single plank carved from a fallen tree. Bar manager Daniel Hyatt is shaping the bar program into one of the most interesting around, using plenty of local produce to craft his drinks, but also working with traditional Japanese ingredients, like a plum cordial with ginger and kombu. Grab a house-infused shochu or one of his Lima Bean cocktails, a mix of pisco, honey, lime and salt that tastes like salted Japanese plum, simultaneously exotic and soothing. Chef Roman Petry’s inventive dishes, like the uni with charred lime and fried pork skins, strike a similar cord: unusual yet delicious.
801 Montgomery (at Jackson), San Francisco, California
This story appears in the print issue of October 2013.
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