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Ki Continues Izakaya Craze With A Sustainable Slant

In the next few weeks, the Bay Area will be getting yet another izakaya called Ki. We've seen Nombe, Ippuku, Chotto and—very recently—Nojo and Hecho continue to define the San Francisco notion of izakaya over the past year; this new one Ki (definition: energy) aims to differentiate with a square focus on seasonality, sustainably sourced meats and the fact that its name does not end with an "o". Paul Hemming, owner of Prana and Temple Nightclub concieved of the idea in tandem with renowned environmentalist Casson Trenor of Sustainable Sushi.

They've enlisted the former executive chef of Infusion Lounge Brian Beach to create a daily changing menu with things like Kurobuta gyoza, chicken karaage (cooked sous vide before frying), the obligatory skewered items and something called "Chicken Evolution" with shoyu-cured egg, breast crudo and sous-vide wing. Here's a look at an early menu copy to give you an idea of what's in store; as usual, items and their descriptions are subject to change after the pre-opening test runs. The seasonal sushi part of the concept will be done by former Deep Sushi executive chef Isamu Kanai. He's got a "Real California Roll" with frequently changing ingredients in the works, among other things. Beverage-wise there will be lots of sake, whiskey, Japanese craft beers and Japan-inspired cocktails.

The interior was designed by Hemming to showcase works from British graffiti artist Hush and Micha LeBrun of San Francisco, intertwined with LED-lit shoji screens: the second example of mood lighting we've seen in the Bay Area of late. It's all sounding rather ambitious, eh? The space, however, is a relatively small one with room for 30 and another ten at the sushi bar. Get the gist from the rendering pictured here and a few more sketches on Ki's Facebook page. The restaurant and sushi bar should be open on or around May 6. [Update: Ki will also include this 13-seat lounge built-out in the former Prana coat room.]


540 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA