Mari Takahashi and Gil Payne's Mission izakaya Nombe has done quite nicely for itself in the San Francisco popularity contest since opening in November of 2009. So it was a bit sad when chef Nick Balla announced he was leaving. And now, as the restaurant takes a brief hiatus, we've got juice on what new chef Vincent Shofield has planned for the year to come. It sounds as if significant stylistic menu changes, an expanded beverage program and a revamped interior are all in store.
The restaurant is currently closed so that Takahashi can lead Schofield through what sounds like a sort of hazing to get him up to speed on all things Japanese. He's got cooking stints lined up in various izakayas and is taking in as many Tokyo markets as possible. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Payne is upping the sake list to 100 bottles, expanding the wine list to include over 40 Nor Cal labels and the interior is getting a refresh. It sounds as if we can expect more California and French tones a la Schofield on the future menu, along with more vegetable dishes, sashimi and seasonal offerings. New things should start creeping in after the restaurant reopens around January 14th. And the full menu reincarnation should hit by the spring. More on all this, of course, as we learn it.
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