For decades, Akiko’s Restaurant has delighted diners with an omakase experience equal parts intimate and elegant, earning the family-run restaurant a spot in the hearts of many a San Francisco sushi lover and a place on Eater’s Essential 38. Now, owner Ray Lee is preparing to usher in a new era for the beloved business.
In early 2022, Akiko’s will move to a new, larger location, leaving the downtown neighborhood it’s called home for more than 30 years to cross Market and put down roots in the East Cut. The 2,700-square-foot restaurant, dubbed Akiko’s Restaurant at the Avery, will open at 430 Folsom Street, at the base of Related California’s luxury residential high-rise the Avery. “We are humbled and excited to concept the new Akiko’s Restaurant from scratch, so that it sets the stage for an unforgettable dining experience in a comfortable, welcoming environment,” Lee says in a press release.
One thing that won’t change, however, is Lee’s commitment to sourcing quality ingredients and applying inventive methods of preparation to them. The “ever-evolving” menu will include nigiri and sashimi, as well as “seasonal composed dishes from the kitchen.” Lee will also continue to bring in fish from some of the most renowned markets in the world — like Tokyo’s Toyosu Fish Market — though the restaurant also promises to maintain a “deep sensitivity to environmental demands” and commits to “favoring sustainable and organic products whenever possible.”
A full bar program will also be a new addition, with Akiko’s at Avery Lane introducing a menu of “technique-driven cocktails, as well as a selection of international wines, classic and craft Japanese beers, and an assortment of reserve sake.”
For those familiar with the current cozy counter at 431 Bush Street, Akiko’s at Avery Lane will represent a significant shift. The centerpiece of the 46-seat dining room will be a 24-seat Chef’s Stage, where diners will have a front-row seat to watch the culinary teamwork. AvroKO design firm says the space offers “fragmented vignettes, suspended elements, unexpected color, and controlled sightlines,” according to the release. And it was inspired by the 1970 Osaka Exhibition and Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture to create a sleek and modern space accented with “colorful abstract artwork and graphics with 70s flair.” Lee will also lend a selection of items from his personal ceramic and vinyl collections.
And finally, there’s additional good news for Akiko’s longtime fans: the family won’t be abandoning Bush Street and has plans to move a new concept into the space. Stay tuned for details.