It's tough for me to go to places that aren't new or trendy—especially places that I've already been to. My job is to try out the restaurants that are hot off the press and report back. It honestly doesn't leave time for much else.
So, for better or for worse, I don't get back to old standbys very often, or places I've been. But last week, I chose to do just that. I had dinner plans with my friends Sona and Cecilia. Cecilia Chiang might in her 90s with a hard-earned Wikipedia entry, but she can hang at pretty much any restaurant—whether it be loud and boistrous or calm and serene. Personally, my 40-year-old self needed an infusion of the latter, so I chose Kiss Seafood as our dinner destination.
I spotted Sean Wu, a Taiwanese art student, sitting out in Lower Pac Heights, relaxed, finishing a cigarette. He had a very cleaned-up Japanese grunge look, with fun details including his earring, watch, stitched boots and tattered jeans.
Three people with one thing in common—a love for Japanese food—meet through the Small Business Association and decide to go in on a restaurant concept together. They take over a funky space—a former taqueria on Mission Street, that was a 50s diner before that—complete with a huge arched mirror and black-and-white checked floors; change little; insert an izakaya restaurant; tack a banner out front advertising the name Nombe (which translates from Japanese to something to the effect of “boozer”) and open the doors until 2 am on weekends.
I know how this will sound, but it’s true—I read Details for the articles. I don’t always agree with their take on food in San Francisco, but it’s always interesting to see what the editors have to say. However, this story, about the best sushi joints in America, got it exactly right, naming some of my favorite places.