A new bar focused on the food and drink of the Japanese diaspora in Peru, Nikkei cuisine, appears to be opening at 1838 Union Street. The space is the former Ottimista Restaurant and Bar, which opened in 2005, and reportedly sought a new business to take over its lease and liquor license last summer.
Ottimista seems to have closed after a final party in mid-December, and its liquor license was transferred to John Park. Park is managing partner at popular cocktail bar Novela and a co-owner of the gin-focused bar Whitechapel, which he operates along with Smuggler’s Cove tiki guru Martin Cate.
What appears to be Park’s new project at 1838 Union St. is busy staffing up, announcing its Nikkei ambitions. “Pisco and Japanese whiskies will be front and center of the craft-cocktail program,” according to an ad on Craigslist. There will be food, too, and it’s reasonable to assume that dishes like ceviche — which some credit to Japanese influence on Peruvian cuisine — could be on the menu. For reference, one well-known purveyor of Nikkei cuisine is Nobu Matsuhisa, the founder of the Nobu restaurant empire.
When the new bar arrives, it will be open 7 nights a week with weekend brunch. Eater SF has reached out for comment, so stay tuned.