The Mins group — first known for Tamashisoul in the Marina, and best known for Sushi Hon in the Mission — is in full expansion mode this spring. Marketing director James Liao confirmed that owner Min Choe is opening two new restaurants across town, within the short span of a month: Sushi Hakko is another omakase restaurant, which already opened in Cow Hollow on March 18. While Izakaya Hon is a new tavern that officially opens in SoMa this Wednesday, April 14. Liao says a couple of projects that were delayed due to the pandemic, but with new real estate that’s been opening up, as well as the reopening of the city and state, they’re finally on a roll.
Sushi Hakko already opened in Cow Hollow on March 18, taking over the former Little Gem space at 2184 Union Street, which closed quietly during the pandemic. Chef Alex Kim from Sushi Hon is sliding over to launch the new spot, and the new menu at Sushi Hakko is similar to the existing menu at Sushi Hon, which is known for affordable omakase, but with a couple of key differences for this neighborhood. Liao says that while fish is still flown in from Japan, the ingredients are more Californian, such as local microgreens. And they have shortened the courses, packing more fish into each round, so it’s six courses, instead of the usual eight or nine. The menu is live, if you’d like to take a look, and the restaurant is accepting reservations, and doing delivery through an app.
Izakaya Hon opens in SoMA this Wednesday, April 14, taking over from the former Pine Tar Grill at the base of the CW Hotel, which closed in October of 2019. The space has been empty for more than a year, and the new team is retiring the black-and-orange Giants baseball theme, and replacing it with a Japanese bar with murals inside, courtesy of local artist Ron Stanford. This is the first izakaya for the Mins group, which has previously been focused on sushi, so it’s a whole new menu, featuring sake, cocktails, and snacks, including karaage chicken with yuzu aioli, ginger chicken tsukune meatballs on skewers, dashi-poached wagyu, pork belly skewers, and “fries with eyes” fried herring. Chef Jason Shimizu, who first launched Sushi Hon, then Sushi Ondo, is now stepping into the kitchen to open Izakaya Hon. Check out the full menu below, and reservations are now open.
That makes seven restaurants for the Mins Group in San Francisco, which operate as separate neighborhood spots, and owner Min Choe likes to keep a low profile. The original is Tamashisoul in the Marina, which opened in 2013, and the best known is Sushi Hon in the Mission, which opened in 2016. Sushi Hon offered a premium omakase experience at a slightly more reasonable price point — at that time, it was serving 11 courses for $65 — earning it a positive review from the SF Chronicle restaurant critic. Five years later, the menu has gone up to $85 per person, which is still reasonable compared to other luxury omakase spots around town.
Sushi Hon did some takeout during the pandemic, but has now switched over and is only doing outdoor dining at a few sidewalk tables, returning to something closer to their original service style. “We have a close-knit community, who came in once a week even,” says Liao. “We love and and want to thank those guests for supporting us throughout the pandemic.” And now, with two new restaurants opening within the span of a month, he says, “We’re excited about restrictions lifting. We want to catch the ball, and keep it rolling.”