Yoshi’s, The Countdown


With an opening date firmly set for November 28, the folks over at the soon-to-open Yoshi’s in the Western Addition might be sweating bullets (the main staircase remains suspended and doorways are just going up—you get the picture). At 29,000 square feet, the space is ginormous and will accommodate just about every dining permutation you can dream up—bar, bar/lounge, mezzanine, dining room, private dining … you name it. Between the dining room, lounges and bars, there are more than 400 seats, and the jazz club seats about 400, too. Massive!

I went on a hardhat tour of the space Friday morning (T-minus 18 days) and was thoroughly impressed by the enormity of it. We toured the whole place—the club, restaurant and kitchen. The kitchen is a monster with sushi stations, tempura and soba stations, a robata grill and a kamiyaki —it’s one of the only wood-burning ovens to be housed in a Japanese restaurant in the U.S.

Executive chef Shotaro “Sho” Kamio (who was the opening chef at Ozumo) crafted his menu to range from a nine-course omakase to sushi and small plates. His vision is to follow traditional Japanese methods while appealing to the American spider-roll-loving palette. About 70% of the fish—think Toro and tuna—will be shipped in from Japan, but other meats and produce will be locally sourced and seasonal. The presentation will also be traditional Japanese—clean, with a less-is-more approach. Similarly, executive pastry chef Marisa Churchill (of Top Chef fame) finds tremendous inspiration from Japan—imagine wasabi ice cream and Japanese donuts—and will lean towards clean presentations in her plating.

The club’s dark only three nights a year, and the dining and bar areas fit hundreds. There’s definitely no other place like it in the city. I hope they rest up now, starting on the 28th it’s going to be a wild ride.

The kamayaki
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