The team behind one of San Francisco’s top steakhouses has a new project in the works. Since 2019, chef Marc Zimmerman has been searing steaks and breaking down whole animals at Ittoryu Gozu, the high-end Japanese steakhouse housed in a bold, modern space just off the Embarcadero. Now Zimmerman, tech entrepreneur Ben Jorgensen, and a team of Gozu alumni including Chef de Cuisine Jessie Lugo will bring a casual Japanese restaurant and bar to 545 Mission Street, about four blocks away from Gozu.
Called Yokai, which means “spirit” in Japanese, the new restaurant is expected to open in early 2023 and draws inspiration from Japanese listening bars. To complete the after-work vibes, plans for the restaurant also include the installation of a vintage McIntosh sound system to be complemented with an “extensive vinyl collection.” ALM Design Studio will renovate the pre-Prohibition space, with its soaring ceilings and exposed brick.
Via press release Zimmerman says he’s looking to Japanese after work bars for inspiration on Yokai, which will focus on “Japanese whisky and cocktails as well as brandies, cognacs and the budding Japanese gin scene.” On the food side, the heart of the menu will be shareable plates and yakitori skewers cooked over binchotan charcoal. While Gozu’s meat-loving fan base can expect large plates like a slow-roasted wagyu neck and smaller plates like coal-seared wagyu carpaccio, the menu will have fish and seafood options — like steamed whole Japanese sea bream and King salmon belly skewers with matcha, buttermilk and dill — plus vegetables and produce from Tenbrink Farms.
In addition to Chef de Cuisine Jessie Lugo, Zimmerman’s tapping several other Gozu talents for Yokai including Beverage Director Jordan Abraham and General Manager Molly Mueller, both of whom will split time between the two restaurants.
Yokai, 545 Mission Street, is expected to open in early 2023.