Greg Dunmore's six-week-old izakaya effort Nojo sources almost everything locally: from the produce to the artwork to the Japenese-style lager. But the Hayes Valley newbie takes its service style straight from Japan. Called kikubari, cooks and servers routinely switch roles, demonstrating the truest kind of teamwork. Does it translate to decent service? And does Dunmore's chicken skewer measure up to all the other chicken skewers at all the other izakayas?
The Ambiance News: The Bold Italic describes it as "just solid, modern Japanese design with warm, glowing lamps overhead." And Foodie 411 goes on, "the look is sleek." But Yelp's June L. thought, "it's a bit too 'wannabe' posh to be casual." And Yelper Justin G. didn't take to the art, "tacky photoshop job of an anime character in front of the Golden Gate Bridge." [The Bold Italic, Foodie 411, Yelp]
The Yakitori News: 7x7 found the chicken thigh, green onion and tare skewer to be "simple and understated food, but all very tasty." Yet, Yelper Kacey H. thought, "The skin and meatball chicken skewers were good but needed a bit more to be interesting." And Yelper Pete M. said, "I did drink the whole flask of water so the food seems to be on the salty side." [7x7, Yelp]
The $$ News: Yelp's Jason B. lets us know prices are "so reasonable there is no reason not to sample as much as you can." Yelp/Phil H. adds, "fantastic portion size to price ratio." Susan D. even goes as far to say, "In fact, I think it's a bit underpriced." But Dave F. of Yelp sings an entirely different tune, "Don't let the five and six dollar prices on the menu fool you; these are for tiny skewers, about 6 of which would make a decent meal." [Yelp]
The Dessert News: The Bold Italic tried the black sesame and the white miso ice cream and swears "Humphry Slocombe and Nojo are making love in my mouth." 7x7 thinks they have a "surprisingly delightful dessert menu; a really fun fusion of Japanese ideas and flavors." Yelper Jason B. saucily adds, "you'll fight, or passionately debate, over who gets the final bite." [The Bold Italic, 7x7, Yelp]
The Service News: The Bold Italic informs that true to kikubari service, the staff is "trained to be humble and anticipate the needs of others at all times." Yelper Manabu M. agrees, "There was no Japanese staff to be seen but all of them... cared about customers like Japanese." And Yelp's Jame's P. adds to that, "if you['re] interested in finding out more about the food, you will have a passionate and informative response." He think they should rename themselves "Yesjo." [The Bold Italic, Yelp]
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- Eva Frye
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