While Danny Bowien has spent most of his time in recent years launching the NYC branch of Mission Chinese Food, his longtime cooking cohort Jesse Koide has been quietly running the ship at the SF original. But now it's time for Koide to go out on his own, with a restaurant named for the fabric in his favorite kitchen headwrap: Pink Zebra. As Inside Scoop reports, Pink Zebra will take up Mission Chinese's hermit-crab mantle, sharing space with another area Chinese takeout joint, Tao Yin, five nights a week. The menu will be a fusion of Japanese and Mediterranean flavors. Tao Yin will continue to coexist within the space, as Lung Shan did in the days before MCF gobbled it up altogether.
The menu is still being worked out, but diners can expect some sort of omakase offering from Koide and fellow chef Rio Sakai, with hot and cold izakaya-style dishes served in the dining room. Koide's own cooking experience has been about equally split between Japanese (Moshi Moshi, Blowfish Sushi) and European (Bar Tartine, Farina), and he hopes to incorporate both elements at a price point similar to MCF's. Pink Zebra will actually make its debut in the lead-up to the MAD Symposium in Copenhagen, as a pop-up with Mikkeller, before debuting in SF sometime in October. Meanwhile, Chris Kiyuna, chef of Mission Bowling Club, is stepping in to take Koide's place in MCF SF's kitchen, and is working with Bowien to develop some new menu items. It remains unclear if Pink Zebra is the Koide-centric second SF project Bowien announced earlier this year, or if Bowien's now moving forward on a second project sans Koide. Mission Chinese Food has yet to respond to a request for comment.
Update, 4:04 pm: Koide got in touch to say that while he has Bowien's blessing, Bowien is not directly involved in the Pink Zebra project. "It's going to be a completely separate project that [Mission Chinese Food co-founder] Anthony Myint and I set up...while it will be similar [to MCF] in that we will share the space with Tao Yin, it's not the project that Danny talked about last year."