The exterior of Tao Yin. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.
Fans of chef Jesse Koide (well known at Mission Chinese Food for his ever-present pink zebra headband) will be happy to know they can find him at his new venture, ~PINK ZEBRA~, a restaurant within Tao Yin in the Mission (sound like a familiar setup?). The opening is officially on Friday October 10th, serving dinner from 5:30pm-11pm (Pink Zebra’s hours will be Thu-Mon 5:30pm-10:30pm, and they’ll stay open until 11pm on Fri and Sat nights—look for potential later hours in time). Tao Yin will have five of their own tables and still offer delivery; Pink Zebra diners will have about 40 seats, and there’s a sushi counter inside too (currently with room for five, but it will get new seats with room for eight soon).
They started with a mini service last week, serving yakitori cooked on binchotan, pickles, Mt. Lassen ocean trout oshizushi (pressed sushi), and menchi katsu donburi. While it sounds pretty Japanese, look for some of Koide’s Italian-Mediterranean cooking skills, techniques, and flavors to appear on his menus too (he has also cooked at Bar Tartine, Slow Club, Farina, and the Alembic). He doesn’t want to be constrained to one cuisine—look for some creative and flavorful additions.
The omakase experience at the counter will range from $65-$85, and will be casual but still featuring quality ingredients. There will be nigiri sushi courses balanced with mid-courses, tsunemono, and the like.
The dining room menu will start with eight or so dishes. A couple larger entrées Koide mentioned include a riff on the dish he served at the Pink Zebra pop-up in Copenhagen: thin layers of pork katsu, with Gruyère in between (yes!), and then it’s fried in panko, and served with his spin on a smoky tonkotsu sauce (which has ramps he cured in brown miso and cold smoked). Another entrée is white sea bass with a Sicilian bread salsa, and look for some vegetables on the side, and maybe some ikura on top (again, yes!). Dishes will be less than $20—more in the $14-$16 range, and they are designed for sharing.
These first few weeks are definitely a soft opening—it’s not like a normal restaurant when you have your own kitchen, crew, and storage. They’ll make adjustments as things progress. Koide just wants to cook good food and make people happy, and is excited for this new venture! 3515 20th St. at Mission.