Sushi Ondo, a Korean-Japanese sushi restaurant is headed to a stretch of Howard Street known more for its auto body shops than fine dining. It will open next week in the former location of Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers, offering an omakase experience that blends Korean and Japanese flavors and techniques. It’s from Min Choe, also behind Sushi Hon and Barnzu.
Sushi Ondo will offer “Korean-driven food with an authentic Japanese structure,” says James Liao, Marketing director for Choe’s restaurants. “We want to bring out the natural synergies between the two.”
At Sushi Ondo (1550 Howard Street), diners who choose the omakase menu will receive three flights of nigiri sushi interspersed with small Korean dishes called yori (similar to Japanese small plates called zensai), like mulhwe, Korean whitefish ceviche. (At Sushi Hon, zensai might include small cold dishes like agedashi nasu, deep-fried eggplant.)
After opening Barnzu, “We realized there’s a lot of beauty to be brought out with both cuisines,” says Liao. “We want to use what we know that works with our strength in Korean cuisine.”
Barnzu chef Sam Ho and Sushi Hon chef Jason Shimizu worked together on the menu to tweak the flavors of the various cuisines. Sushi purists can rest easy: Nigiri will remain traditionally Japanese, as will the beverage menu, which will match that of Sushi Hon with sakes and Japanese beer.
A la carte dishes will be available in addition to the omakase menu. Unlike many omakase restaurants, there will not be limited seatings; diners can make a reservation at the time that works for them. Three types of seating will be available for drinking and eating, including two lounge areas, plus an 18-seat communal table and nine-seat sushi counter to host diners who’ve chosen the omakase menu. A bar menu is in the works as well. Stay tuned for more on the menu and interiors.