"Izakaya Takeover of SF 2011" Continues with Ki in SoMa

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SoMa’s “Zen Compound” (which houses Prana Restaurant and Temple nightclub) is going to be hosting a third business, ~KI~. This eco-sensitive izakaya will feature dishes made with local ingredients and sustainable seafood. Owner Paul Hemming recruited environmentalist and author Casson Trenor to help concept and open Ki (Trenor’s name may be familiar to you through his other local and sustainable sushi project, Tataki).

Chef Brian Beach (AQUA, Waterfront, Infusion Lounge) is assembling a menu of kushiyaki and yakitori (pork belly, organic chicken, housemade tofu, and rabbit), and classic izakaya dishes, highlighting sustainable choices like sardines, local albacore tuna, and arctic char. Menu highlights ($6-$17) include kasuzuke, seasonal fish cured in sake lees and cooked on a cedar plank with pickled shimeji mushrooms; Kurobuta gyoza; and eryngii, mushroom tempura with fennel and Meyer lemon.

Beach will be working with sushi chef Isamu Kanai (Deep Sushi). Highlights on the sushi menu ($6-$18) include small plates like scallop carpaccio served on a chilled Himalayan salt plate with grilled cherry tomatoes, red shiso pesto, and baby mizuna; sustainable nigiri options; vegetable rolls; and house specialty rolls like Ki’s Real California Roll, which will change with the seasons. There will be 10 seats at the sushi bar.

Bevvie options include sake, Japanese craft beers (including Echigo Koshihikari malt rice beer, Orion Draft, and Coedo ‘Kyara’), and specialty cocktails. Hemming designed the 30-seat restaurant to be an “izakaya of the future,” with LED-lit shoji screens, and geisha and samurai art work from UK-based graffiti artist Hush and local San Francisco artist Micha LeBrun. Due to open Friday May 6th; hours will be lunch Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, dinner Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm. 540 Howard St. at 2nd St. 415-278-0495.