January 4, 2017
Welcome to Bay Eats Japan, where we’ll alert you to newly and soon-to-be opened Japanese restaurants and bars in the Bay Area. As we’ll be listing new places, a mention is not necessarily a recommendation. Use this as a handy way to keep track of new spots you might want to try in the future.
Akira, 1634 Bush Street A new addition to Japantown, Akira is located within the former Chinese restaurant, Ah Lin. The owners are a couple named Judy Young and Minh Son. The latter, who is also the sushi chef, spent a 15-year tenure at the now defunct Kiku of Tokyo. Expect standard Japanese restaurant fare, but if you visit in fall or winter, try their dobin mushi, which Young explains to Hoodline is one of their seasonal specialties.
Hinata Sushi, 810 Van Ness Last year was all about omakase, and Hinata was one of several restaurants that specialize in the chef’s choice sushi menu. Headed by chefs Gavin Leung and Weida Chen, who’ve spent time at Sushi Ran, Ijji, and Zushi Puzzle, Hinata’s $78 omakase includes a salad, three pieces of sashimi, 12 pieces of sushi, and tamago or soup, plus dessert.
Motze, 983 Valencia Street This Japanese-influenced restaurant from Nick Balla and Cortney Burns, formerly of Bar Tartine, is a temporary pop-up, which will only be open for 18 months. Located in the former spot where Herbivore used to be, Motze offers a casual lunch service and a $50 prix-fixe, multi-course dinner.
ICHI Sushi, 3369 Mission Street Due to recent serious health issues of chef-owner Tim Archuleta, the Mission’s popular ICHI Sushi will be moving back to its original, smaller space at 3369 Mission. The new old ICHI will reopen sometime this month. According to Tablehopper, the downsize will make it more manageable for Tim and his wife/co-owner Erin. They will be selling the current ICHI location at 3282 Mission. If you’re interested in helping Tim pay for his medical bills, a Go Fund Me campaign is still taking place.
Rintaro, 82 14th Street Japanese izakaya restaurant, Rintaro is now open for lunch (11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays), serving pre-set meals that includes a main dish, miso soup, rice, and prepared vegetables.
Fugetsu, 2783 El Camino Real, Santa Clara The first U.S. outpost of the Osaka-based restaurant chain, Fugetsu is located in Santa Clara’s K-town. It specializes in okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake made with a battered blended with vegetables, meat, and/or seafood and topped with dried bonito, nori, okonomiyaki sauce, and Japanese mayonnaise. Two things you might want to know before you go: it’s a popular spot, so the wait can be long if you don’t have a reservation. Secondly, unlike some okonomiyaki restaurants where diners cook their own okonomiyaki, Fugetsu brings the cooked dish to the table on a grill pan, ready to be eaten.
YAYOI, 20682 Homestead Road, Cupertino Another Japan-based restaurant chain, YAYOI specializes in Teishoku, or set meals. Meals are served on a tray, with the main dish, vegetables and pickles, steamed rice, and miso soup. This Cupertino YAYOI follows in the footsteps of its Palo Alto location. If you don’t like talking to humans, you’ll like the iPad waiting list and ordering system.
Need to catch up on previous openings? Go through the Bay Eats Japan archives to see what you missed. Got tips for new Japanese restaurant and bar openings? Send them to us at email@example.com.