Nojo to Table
There’s a new little taste of Japan in SF called Nojo. Nojo means ‘farm’ in Japanese, so you’ll find farm to table fare served yakitori and izakaya style — and a list of the nojos supplying the goods on the daily menu. For chef/owner Greg Dunmore [former Exec Chef of Ame], the deciding inspiration for Nojo was a visit to a yakitori bar in Osaka. Lucky us, we now have a sweet spot in Hayes Valley to sip sake and beer while enjoying some great bites and really nice hospitality.
The choices are plentiful and it was not easy to decide, but we started at the top with the simple, bright flavors of Spring tsukemono — pickled daikon, cucumber and curried cauliflower.
There are lots of options ‘on a stick’ and the tsukune (basically a chicken meatball cooked yakitori style) with egg yolk sauce was savory delicious.
This juicy chicken breast on a stick was topped with fresh wasabi leaves and rested on a dollop of freshly mashed avocado.
Okay: almond pork rice ball with miso mustard. Need I say more?
Loved the crisp and light tempura of Maitake mushrooms, Meyer lemon slices & Blue Lake beans with spicy ponzu mayo. Meyer lemon slices? Oh yeah!
I’ll try pretty much anything made with umeboshi (pickled sour plums). This handmade umeboshi somen, topped with uni and fresh shiso leaves, was incredibly delicate.
The tender tonkatsu (fried pork) comes with a fresh salad full of shaved daikon, sweet cherries and roasted almonds.
It was a tough call choosing ‘dezaato’ (the charmingly Japanified word for dessert). All in the offing are creative and intriguing, and the vote this particular eve went to the buckwheat crêpes with ginger muscavado syrup, plumcots and white miso ice cream. It was an excellent choice and stellar finish to a really enjoyable meal.
Anyone in for a repeat?
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