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The Early Word On Ki, SoMa's New Izakaya

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Just under two months ago, San Francisco birthed yet another izakaya, Ki. This one's from Temple founder and environmental advocate Paul Hemming and Casson Trenor, who wrote "the Bible on sustainable sushi" and got a little tap from Time back in '09. With Brian Beach (Aqua, Waterbar, Lark Creek) in the kitchen and Isamu Kanai (Deep Sushi) in charge of all things raw, the team has done a good job with its sustainable focus, switching out things like should-be-avoided salmon for currently-ok Arctic char. But are sustainable fish and a color-changing LED-lit interior enough to backup the website's "izakaya for the 21st century" claim? Let's take to the interwebs to find out.

The Ambiance News: Virginia Miller of The Perfect Spot tweeted that she "dig[s] the funky, artistic space." And Chron liked the "sleek setting and luscious lighting," while 7x7 was "mesmerized by the chameleon-like walls." [Twitter, SF Gate, 7x7]

The Sustainable News: Food Gal said "you can enjoy your sushi without any guilt." But Yelp's Arlynn A. added, "we were asking the the waiter question about the menu and he just kept saying SUSTAINABLE! [sic]" [Foodgal, Yelp]

The Menu News: The Rundown confessed, "we're already craving more of their izakaya selections — especially the pulled pork ramen noodles." Pop Sugar dished they were "wowed by one [dish] after another." [The Rundown, Pop Sugar]

The Raw Chicken Breast News: Ki's signature dish, "Chicken Evolution," is comprised of a cured egg, crudo breast, and sous-vide wing. As a commenter on Inside Scoop so delicately put it, "crudo chicken breast? I just can't." But Yelp's Eileen A. tried it and found it "really tasty, with a umeboshi plum sauce. [sic]" [Inside Scoop, Yelp]

The Service News: Dave P./Yelp said, "staff were extremely friendly and knowledgeable." But this Open Tabler says they "still need to work out some kinks." [Yelp, OpenTable]

The Booze News: UrbanDaddy suggests, "You could start ambitiously by sharing a 1.8-liter bottle of Kikusui Junmai Ginjo, or play it safe with 4- or 8-ounce pours. Or you could skip the sake altogether and order an 18-year Japanese single malt." Antoi C./Yelp had a Ki-Jito and yelled, "Damn, gorgeously refreshing and STRONG!" [UrbanDaddy, Yelp]

Other early thoughts? Do leave them in the tip jar or below.

-Eva Frye

All Previous Ki Coverage [~ESF~]


540 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

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