The interior of The Spice Jar. Photo: Dana Eastland © tablehopper.com.
By Dana Eastland. As reported on tablehopper earlier this month, the former Local’s Corner space in the Mission is now home to ~THE SPICE JAR~. Owner Ryuichi Hamada has made some updates to the corner space, including adding a hood to the small kitchen so that they can use a stove and oven. It’s still comfortable and close, with the same open kitchen, counter, and furniture. They’ve added some cute crafty touches, like a light fixture made with a manzanita branch, pipe shelving, and live plants on the tables.
Hamada calls the food home-style pan-Asian comfort food, and it definitely reads as a trip across Asia via California. The menu starts with a selection of small bites, including edamame hummus served with crackers and vegetables, six-hour braised spareribs served with steamed bao and pickles, and albacore carpaccio. There is a seafood cast-iron “fondue” on the menu, made by cooking shrimp, calamari, and funky Thai shrimp paste in olive oil, and then serving it with toasted bread cubes for dipping. A small selection of salads includes a spicy calamari salad with red curry vinaigrette and vermicelli. Multiple Asian countries are represented in the noodle and rice section, like a tonkotsu-shoyu ramen with pork broth and short rib in place of chashu. There is also laksa and fried rice with roasted garlic, spinach, and egg. Though it all sounds a little fusion-y, Hamada isn’t trying too hard—it’s more like he’s being eclectic and creative without feeling especially bound by traditional preparations.
There are four beers on tap, including Lagunitas IPA, Kirin Ichiban, and Magnolia pale ale. Bottle selections range from a one-liter can of Asahi Super Dry to Hitachino Nest white ale to local Anchor Steam. There are three white wines and three reds, all available by the glass, carafe, or bottle, and nine sakes. They’ve even got a jalapeño-infused plum wine they are serving over ice with a splash of soda, kind of like a Japanese aperitivo.
The Spice Jar opens today, Tuesday June 30th. Hours are Tue-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-10pm. For the first few weeks, they may adjust the hours a bit, so it’s not a bad idea to call ahead and make sure they are there. 2500 Bryant St. at 23rd St., 415-829-3668.