The scene at the opening party. Photo from nojo.
Due to open this Wednesday March 30th is ~NOJO~, a California-Japanese restaurant by first-time owner Greg Dunmore, formerly the executive chef at Ame (he worked under Hiro Sone). The izakaya-inspired restaurant will also feature a number of yakitori dishes, like eight different kinds of chicken skewers ($3-$5.50), along with duck, and kushiyaki, including beef tongue and pork belly ($3.50-$4.50). Non-skewer dishes will reflect the seasons, with dishes like vegetable tempura ($8) and chawan mushi with Dungeness crab and green garlic ($12), along with trout tartare with chiles, daikon, and sesame crackers ($12). There are also four larger dishes, like white miso-glazed trout with soft leeks and black trumpet mushrooms ($16). Ingredients will have a strong local pedigree; you can check out the entire menu here.
True to izakaya/pub style, there are plenty of things to drink, from 9 kinds of beer (all local, so don’t look for any Hitachino) to artisanal sakes, plus 10 kinds of wine by the glass. The name means “farm,” but the look is sleek (although many elements were reclaimed, and the space features local art). In a unique twist, staff members will not only cook, but they will also alternate turns serving and greeting guests. No reservations except for parties of six or more. Open Sun-Mon, Wed-Thu 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm; closed Tue.