Sushi fans are already excited that the Mins group is in the midst of unfurling an ambitious triple-restaurant concept in the Tenderloin. The first restaurant, Sushi Sato (1122 Post), opened with snacky tastings and whiskey cocktails in November. Now it’s time for round two: Sato Omakase (1113 Polk), which opens today, December 3, is an intimate omakase counter in a connected but private space, with only 10 coveted seats at the bar. And at least for now, those lucky diners will be face to face with the head chef himself. Restaurateur Min Choe is personally back behind the bar, which the business has pulled him away from for about the past five years. “If I had a choice, I would always be behind the bar,” Choe says. “I’m always an omakase chef.”
True to the Mins group, first known for Tamashisoul in the Marina and best known for Sushi Hon in the Mission, Sato Omakase is still a relatively affordable omakase experience. Originally, it was intended to be a more luxurious menu running several hundred dollars, but Choe says the pandemic gave him pause. Until the local economy recovers, he wants the team to focus on what they do best — quality fish sliced in the $100 range. In line with his other restaurants, the menu serves up six rounds or about 16 bites, starting at $135, with the option to add on more uni or toro for $35, and wine and sake pairings for $65. Check out the full menu, below.
The Mins group has a fish buyer on the ground in Tokyo, who hand selects every fish at the Toyosu market before shipping overnight. “We have the best quality fish in SF,” Choe says. “Period. We get the best stuff.” Unique to this location, wine and cocktails round out the menu, with new sommelier Richard Yeager (French Laundry, Quince) pouring Champagne and sake. And thanks to that well-stocked whiskey bar just through the sliding doors over at Sushi Sato, bartender Derek Li (Cold Drinks Bar at China Live) will be mixing strong cocktails.
Compared to other Mins restaurants, the bigger difference might be the space, which Choe promises feels almost like a private dining experience, nestled in the center of the triple-restaurant complex. “The middle room was always my favorite room,” Choe says. “It has the most privacy and intimacy. That bar makes sense for a one-man show.” Sato Omakase is only doing two seatings each night, and each only seats 8 to 10 guests, for a total of 20 people per evening. Stepping through the entrance on Polk Street, diners will start with a glass of wine and amuse bouche in a front lounge area, before bellying up to the sushi bar. Ron Stanford of Step 3 Studio designed this room with the same warm minimalism as the rest of the space, but as the omakase lair, it does have luxe touches: red accent walls, a white granite counter, black leather seats, a big iron light fixture, and black plates rimmed in gold.
Choe has also changed his mind about the third and final restaurant concept, slated to open in the next few months. Instead of a whiskey bar, he’s now planning on a wagyu bar called Kuro (1117 Polk Street), which literally means “black,” and also refers to a breed of cattle. The menu is currently under development, but expect another tasting menu in the $150 to $180 range, focused on wagyu cleanly seared over a binchotan charcoal. And not open to the public, but underneath these three restaurants, there’s also a brewery production space. Due to equipment shortages and delays, it’s not running yet, but the goal is to eventually brew small batches of beer for the entire restaurant group.
Sato Omakase opens Friday, December 3. Hours are Wednesday to Sunday, with two seatings at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.