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First Look: Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar, New on Mission St.

By Carolyn Alburger
February 18, 2014

After some soft-opening activity over the weekend, the new Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar (3283 Mission St.) is officially ready to go. Owners Erin and chef Tim Archuleta have been running the restaurant's predecessor, Ichi Sushi, across the way for just about four years to rave reviews and a very strong local following. The same focus on sustainable fish, inventive omakase and scary addictive fried chicken wings will continue at the new Ichi. But now, with double the square footage, there's room for the izakaya-style Ni Bar as well.

A 30-seat sushi bar takes up most of the front room. A chef's counter for omakase and a booze-bar-flanked dining room take up the back. As of press time, most of the walls are still waiting for their artwork, but a huge, distinctive mural by neighboring friend Erik Marinovich (see it here) depicts sushi etiquette without being too serious. "We wanted to make sure it didn't say 'don't do this, don't do that'," explains Erin. "So the end result is light-hearted." Adding to the fun of it all, former Range sommelier Ken Furusawa curates an impressive list of unusual sakes, shochus and beers. There is Miyasaka Junmai Sake Matinee (which is theoretically "great for day drinking" at just 12% alcohol), black-sugar shochu that tastes like agricole rum and the only Hitachino white ale on tap in the city. Now take a look at some of the best dishes at Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar in the slide show. And make note: the old Ichi is now closed in preparation for its big return as the Archuleta's new raw bar, sometime this spring. 

  • Sashimi of big-eye tuna and ocean trout is a great way to start the meal. Pair it with Hitachino white ale on tap. 

  • This cold broccoli salad is topped off with black-sesame sauce and bonito. 

  • Ocean trout is fried in potato starch, for the cleanest fry imaginable, and then placed into a warm bath of housemade dashi broth. 

  • While many of the izakaya dishes will rotate often, Archuelta plans to have these miso clams as a staple. The shellfish mingles with burnt garlic oil and crumbled pork shoulder, creating a smoky rich flavor sensation. 

  • Chicken yakitori is seasoned with yuzu shichimi then grilled over the gas-fired grill Archuelta got in Tokyo. You can see a close-up of the grill in action in the lead shot above. 

  • Another must-order: the pork skewers. Archuleta cooks them first in miso soup before covering them in miso paste and grilling for a major flavor bomb. He picked this trick up in Tokyo and nobody else is using it in San Francisco... yet. 

  • This stew gives tripe a good name. The chunks of tender meat are combined with potato and pearl onions in a rich, velvety broth reminiscent of demi-glace. A great dish to ward off the San Francisco chill. 

  • Ichi's crowd-favorite chicken wings have migrated across the street to the new location. The chicken is marinated in yuzu, soy and sake, then cooked sous vide before it is fried in potato starch. 

  • An unexpected "dessert": silky Japanese eggplant is served with sweet red miso, scallion and sesame. Order this with the aged and very unique limited-edition Time Machine sake, which has notes of raisin and soy. This pairing will blow your mind. 

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