Nisei (San Francisco, CA)

2316 Polk St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Dining date: 7/17/22


Nisei opened in August of 2021, an exciting addition to the San Francisco dining scene. The restaurant first started out as a pop-up before the pandemic and settled into its own physical location on Russian Hill, replacing the long-tenured fine dining restaurant La Folie.

David Yoshimura is the chef here, most recently the Chef de Cuisine at Michelin-starred Californios. Yoshimura is half Japanese, and Nisei (the Japanese word for second generation) is an ode to his heritage and blend of Japanese-Californian cooking here. He is serving an elevated version of washoku cuisine, traditional ‘homestyle’ Japanese cooking but with plenty of Californian influence. The restaurant has Michelin star aspirations with a price to match – the tasting menu currently runs $192 before any supplements and a 20% service charge. I was invited in to give the restaurant to try; given it was already on my radar, I jumped at the chance.

Nukazuke watermelon rind
Salazar Oyster. iacopi english pea. wasabi
Puffed Mochi. hamachi. kumquat


Grilled corn. local uni. fermented blueberries. popcorn


Hiyashijiru. Kuzu Noodle. Half Moon Bay Wasabi


Ankimo Pate. milk bread. cranberries


California King Salmon. ume. burdock. red beet


Abalone. dulse. fresh tomato. finger lime


Japanese Black Curry. A5 miyazaki wagyu. morels


Lamb Bone Miso Broth. yuba. negi
Rue & Forman Rice. lamb fat. furikake. sesame
Martin Emigh rack of lamb. lamb jus


Shared Cultures Amazake. k & j flavorosa pluot. spruce oil


Japanese sponge cake. marshmallow. strawberry. banana


Kinako Mochi. pluot dango. coffee yokan


The abalone was a treat, the thinly sliced morsels were sweet and succulent and served with the most concentrated tomato condiment. The lamb chop was another highlight, served in its own jus, especially with the lamb bone miso. The ‘bread course,’ warm milk bread with a rich and savory monkfish liver pate made for more memorable bites. And it’s hard to go wrong with A5 wagyu, cooked perfectly in a katsu breading, accompanied by a hearty black curry and morels. Nisei delivered a strong meal throughout and a unique type of Japanese fine dining experience; there’s nothing quite like it in the city.

Note: This was a hosted meal.

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