For The Love Of Wagyu: Niku Steakhouse Is Now Open
The Omakase Restaurant Group is back at it again…
Now joining the group’s star studded lineup (the team behind Dumpling Time, Live Sushi Bar, Michelin-starred Omakase and more) is wagyu-focused Niku Steakhouse. Alongside the new Japanese-influenced steakhouse, The Butcher Shop (run by Guy Crims, who is also Niku’s in-house butcher & meat supplier) and Udon Time are also open for business. This trio of openings resides under one roof (One Henry Adams building) in the heart of San Francisco’s design district and it’s now everyone’s one-stop shop for everything wagyu! We were lucky enough to attend the soft opening for Niku Steakhouse and the media event night and here’s the breakdown ...
61 Division St, San Francisco
Upon entering Niku Steakhouse through the front bar area, I marveled at the towering shelves boasting exclusive Japanese spirits to my right, and to my left, an equally impressive selection of wagyu displayed through the windows to The Butcher Shop. Ready for a drink, my eyes rapidly scanned the bar shelves in search of something familiar and ah. There it was. Bottom-shelf tequila. Just the way I like it — affordable, and gets the job done. I quickly learned, though, that “affordable” is relative — their bottom-shelf tequila was priced at a cool $30 per neat glass. Next to the bar were floor-to-ceiling lockers that allowed for patrons to buy bottles and store them for consumption during subsequent visits. As we made our way past the bar into the main dining area, we instantly gravitated towards the focal point of the room — the lowered open kitchen — and snagged ourselves some sweet kappo-style counter seats.
Best seat in the house. Watching in anticipation as Executive Chef Steve Brown fires up the Japanese binchotan charcoal grill.
We ordered quite a few dishes, but the following are the highlights:
Amuse bouche to start off the night. Mini brioche with wagyu butter on the bottom. I may or may not have taken a shot of that wagyu butter in the end.
Kumamoto oysters with pink peppercorn mignonette pearls, oysters were wonderfully fresh and sweet. A visually exciting presentation but an even tastier pay-off.
Holy spuds! These nitro potatoes with creme fraiche are insanely good. They get the potatoes rock hard from liquid nitrogen and after going in the fryer the potatoes come out light and fluffy on the inside, but perfectly crispy on the outside. A must-order for sure.
Kicking Bull Farms. Another must-order! A medley of locally farmed vegetables that are braised with blood oranges and juniper berries, ash-roasted on the binchotan grill and tossed in a shallots and onion dressing. UH-MAZING, to say the least. I know this is a wagyu house, but they sure know how to whip up a mean veg dish as well.
40-day dry aged prime Angus Porterhouse. Flawlessly executed, had a nice pink center, a perfect medium rare. It was so tender, cutting it with a spoon would have been an option. It was accompanied by a selection of condiments — cherry red wine reduction, fresh wasabi, kosher salt and kimchi. Although it stood great on its own, I was so highly pleased with the house-made kimchi, I paired every steak bite with it. Aged for 200 days, it had the perfect balance of acidity and heat. I did not expect a kimchi to be this good at a steakhouse — and TRUST, I know my kimchi.
Last but not least, we had the wagyu fat brownie with miso “dipping dots”, pineapple bubbles and wagyu caramel. Ugh, I cried happy wagyu tears. If I ever felt like something was missing all my life, this dessert filled that void. This dessert alone is a reason to go to Niku … this dessert alone could bring world peace! Anyway, #justdonttakethisoffthemenuokthanks.
I truly love the vibe of this place. Its contemporary design produces a very cozy, intimate experience in a fairly open space. The service was incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and professional, the menu was straightforward with a refined simplicity, and the food was superb without the pretentious attitude. Overall, we had a really memorable experience, shoutout to Chef Edgar Agbayani for taking care of us! Definitely booking a reservation again real soon!