Can you imagine a craft beer from Japan opening a gastropub in the states? In San Francisco of all places? A city where people flock to the latest micro breweries, eagerly anticipating a new flavor discovery. Well, Hitachino Nest Beer stepped up to the challenge. Not only did they bring their beers, but they brought food and ingredients from Hitachi, a city in the Ibaraki Prefecture. Their noteworthy gift, Hitachigyu, a well known brand of wagyu in Japan, and a cooking style that’s got people curious for a taste. One thing to note is that they now have an online reservation system. A great upgrade to the previous lottery system requiring you to sign up to their newsletter.
Friday dinner here we come!
Currently, they offer a $79 tasting menu with a $30 beer pairing that’ll give you three 10 ounce pours with one full beer at the end. Tempting, but given beers were $10 a piece, we decided to make our own selections on beer… and sake. After ordering, it took a bit of time to get started. But once it did, each dish came out at a good pace. Though, each course you could finish within minutes. There were a few misses but the ones that stood out, knocked it out of the park. You’ll wish you had more. But alas, it was after all, a tasting menu.
Overall, you will like the unique flavors, both in the dishes and in the beers. But with only a tasting menu, you might leave hungry. Unless of course, you order more. I’m hoping they will switch to a full dinner menu.
639 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
+1 (415) 792−6160
Verdict: Stick to the bar and order those sous vide jars of goodness. You might not get to try the wagyu though.
Just look for the owl. Very hard to miss as you're walking on Post Street.
Along the main wall of the restaurant, are shelves and shelves of jars filled with colorful foods. Oh and there are also the available bottles of sake and beers. We should have just pointed out what we wanted.
It's basically a long narrow establishment. The bar is at the front. No reservations needed there, though not all of the items on the tasting menu are served there. As for the tables, they're mainly set up for parties of four. There are a couple of larger tables at the back that would seat five to six people.
If you don't want to do the beer pairing, there's sake. The servers were kind enough to top off our glasses whenever they're low.
Well, this place is known for it's craft beers, so why not try the special. It was an espresso stout, smooth and straight to effectiveness levels at 7% alcohol levels.
To start off we had this light appetizer, that if it weren't for the bacon, would have tasted more like a dessert. Not sure what they were going for here. Refreshing but I could have had the meal without it. Thankfully, there was the beer.
How gorgeous is this dish? Hitachi wagyu drenched in a smoke tosazu jelly wrapped around a grilled slice of Japanese potato. What a good introduction to beef of the Hitachi region.
Kobujime is a method to cure foods with konbu, kelp. It's applied to the Hitachi wagyu then combined with burrata cheese immersed in a wonderfully light ginger sauce topped with finely shaved smoked bonito flakes. That's a mouthful to say and a mouthful to enjoy. This my friends, is what you want to experience here. What an amazing dish.
Grilled beef tongue topped with yuzukosho accompanied by diced scallions. Typically a great addition to a meal, but the yuzukosho tasted muted, no zest, no kick. And I'm not sure why the scallions were set aside. Almost felt they were better off freshly cut and made as part of the topping. You may be better off skipping this.
Part of the tasting included these sous vide jars I keep reading about. Served at the tables, these jars contain the snacks you'd usually order at the bar. A little disappointed these two jars were shared among the four of us. Can't I be greedy?
Served with beer mustard and green onions, this oxtail and daikon braise was delicious. Now you can see why I wanted a jar all to myself.
Wagyu nigiri garnished with an apple sesame puree and next to it some sweet corn. What a beautiful looking piece of sushi. Unfortunately it was not the melt in your mouth variety. This was a lean cut making it very chewy. So if you like medium rare steak, this would be a winner for you.
Next up was this lovely bowl of noodles, topped with minced meats and coconut flakes. The spicy sesame broth is not nearly as spicy of the Chinese version of these noodles, so no worries if you can't handle heat. This bowl was more about the hearty taste. A good addition to fill your stomachs.
That icy mandarin granita mixed with the silky panna cotta makes this a delight to eat. It'll remind you a bit of a dreamsicle, a very refined dreamsicle.
Ending the meal was barley tea and butter cookies. After all the drinking you'll be glad to have some tea.