There have been all kinds of rumors circulating about the Namu brothers opening a second location—will it be in the Mission, in the Inner Richmond, in the Lower Haight? The Lees were looking all over town at locations (hence the rumors), and the Mission has proven to be the lucky winner. Opening in Fall 2011 will be ~NAMU GAJI~ (“gaji” means branch), a 45-seat modern San Francisco izakaya. It’s going to open in the former retail space that housed Studio 3579 on Dolores Street.
As for the dining style, think yakitori grill counters and lots of cold sake and beer. The seating will be mostly communal, with one semi-private room for group dining. In an email to me, chef Dennis Lee says he is going to “highlight fish and animal parts so people can appreciate things like fin meat, grilled roe, belly meat of fish, grilled pork jowl, skin, intestine, chicken oysters, chicken skin, etc. I will also be making fermented chili paste and miso using strains of bacteria from my mom’s village in Korea. And our usual assortment of homemade kimchees and pickles, as well as Namu standbys like our shiitake mushroom dumplings and ramen.” Sign. Me. Up. There will also be a takeout window selling Asian-style street food, including shaved ice made with locally made, all-natural syrup and seasonal ingredients. The plan is to be open until 11pm daily (and even later pending zoning). 499 Dolores St. at 18th St.
The Lee brothers photo by Mohammad Gorjestani.