I love writing about new restaurants, especially when they’re coming to my hood! Nopa residents, it’s time to get excited for KATSUO & KOMBU, a casual Japanese udon and curry shop (the name refers to the crucial ingredients you need to make awase “combined” dashi/Japanese soup stock: bonito and kelp).
The project is from chef-owner Jiro Lin of Hamano in Noe Valley (one of my favorite sushi counters in the city), working with chef-partner Takashi “Taka” Saito (who you may recognize previously from Hashiri and Izakaya Yuzuki), and silent partner Todd Gottula. It ends up that since Taka has been brought on as the new kitchen chef, his made-from-scratch, beef stock-based curry is so good that Jiro and Taka were inspired to create a new business around it. Hamano’s current menu includes chicken katsu curry (with panko-breaded and fried Mary’s chicken thigh), vegetable curry, and beef curry—we’ll see which ones of these dishes are on Katsuo & Kombu’s opening menu, with others! (It’s a generational recipe, and they felt like it was a good opportunity to bring this concept to life. They have some expansion plans, too.)
Since curry and udon go so well together (they offer curry udon on Hamano’s menu), and everyone loves noodles, they’re getting a Yamato noodle-making machine, and will be offering udon and noodles in a variety of thicknesses (your choice), along with regular udon broth, toppings, core proteins (they even make their own agedashi tofu at Hamano), and your preferred spice level. Talk about a dream bowl—and they’re going to try to keep things under $20. At Hamano, they currently offer a few udon variations, including negi (green onion, fresh wakame), kakiage tempura (root vegetables and shrimp tempura), and beef, with stewed and sliced prime ribeye—we’ll have to see which udon bowls come over, and what some of their new suggested combinations are. I’ll keep you posted on the menu and more—this is just an initial preview!
They’re taking over the Pizzadero space, and hope to open by February 1st, if not sooner. The space will have some seating, so it will be a great spot to come by before or after a show at The Independent—yup, they’re going to be open from lunch until late night, along with offering beer, wine, and sake. Takeout and kits will be offered for those who want to slurp or prepare their own bowl at home. The team is thrilled with the location and can’t wait to become part of the neighborhood. 559 Divisadero St. at Hayes.
Negi udon at Hamano in Noe Valley. Photo courtesy of Hamano.