A chef with more than 20 years of sushi experience is setting out on his own with Hakashi, a new SoMa restaurant expected to open in about two weeks.
Julio Zapata has worked at a mix of high-end and neighborhood sushi restaurants in San Francisco, including Ijji Sushi, Ebisu, and Daigo, as well as Sausalito’s ever-popular Sushi Ran. He linked up with two friends, Wendy C. Yeomans and Emma J.Y. Carpio, and his wife Alba Zapata, to open their first restaurant, which is taking over the former Ruchi’s Restaurant space at 474 3rd Street.
The Hakashi team’s goal is to create a welcoming, approachable Japanese restaurant that serves both omakase-lovers and families where some want sushi and others don’t even like fish. The menu is still being finalized, but folks can expect to see seasonal fish, rolls priced at around $15, udon, small plates, and aged steaks, with most recipes hewing close to Japanese tradition.
“Omakase is good for people who want to spend money, but Hakashi wants to be for everybody,” says Carpio. “For anyone who wants to come or wants a roll, we’re still going to provide quality fish for them.”
The group is also highly focused on creating a comfortable environment. The 49-seat room includes an 18-seat sushi bar and lots of wood. On the drinks side, there will be sake and beer imported from Japan plus Napa Valley wines and soju cocktails.
Once it opens, Hakashi will serve lunch and dinner daily.
“I don’t want to call it a high-end restaurant,” emphasizes Carpio. “I don’t want to intimidate anyone. I want people to know it’s affordable.”