CHAYA Brasserie San Francisco Introduces Newly Renovated Raw Bar & Kaisen Menu
CHAYA Brasserie San Francisco, a mainstay of the Embarcadero dining scene for the past 14 years, unveils a new modern raw bar and launches Kaisen and Temari/Gunkan-style sushi menu in time for spring. In addition to the classic Euro-Asian inspired menu, the new sushi and raw menu will showcase CHAYA Brasserie’s innovative approach to offering shareable options in an artful presentation prepared by Executive Chef Yuko Kajino. The intimate Kaisen bar offers hard-to-find varieties of fresh, local catches each day while giving guests a welcoming space to enjoy shared bites and cocktails before being seated in the dining room.
“CHAYA has always had a strong history of innovation. We were among the first to offer the ‘sushi bar’ concept in a fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles over 30 years ago,” says Owner Yuta Tsunoda. “We wanted to challenge ourselves to think creatively in bringing traditions from Japan to the sophisticated palates of San Franciscans. The Temari-style sushi works well for aficionados who seek a pure form of fish, as well as the sushi novice looking to explore new selections.”
Inspired by the approachable ambience and flexible seating options of traditional American and French brasseries, CHAYA has added a new chef’s counter allowing guests to view the open kitchen, and a Kaisen bar/lounge space tucked away near the Bay Bridge dining room. The newly renovated Kaisen bar provides an inviting space for guests with an infinity water feature and antique-style mirrored backsplash bridging the chic sophistication of the adjacent dining room with its panoramic views of the Bay Bridge. White stone counters with under lighting and updated leather stools add to the glamour of the dramatic space while embodying the salon-like feel that CHAYA is named for. In keeping with the inclusive experience of the convivial main dining room, a traditional chef’s table gives small groups of 6-8 a unique dining experience in front of the newly added raw display which showcases the fresh ingredients of the Kaisen platter.
Perfect for sharing, the Kaisen platter will offer a selection of raw seasonal options such as whole Dungeness crab; uni in the shell, or whole lobster along with raw oysters, assorted sashimi, Madagascar shrimp, and a Peruvian ceviche of puréed scallop, garlic, cilantro, red onion, lime juice, and habanero. Accompaniments to the Kaisen platter include a trio of sauces comprised of Koruzu mignonette, a Japanese black vinegar; wasabi cocktail sauce; and a spicy ponzu sauce.
The Temari-style sushi is reminiscent of the kaleidoscope prints found on kimonos and means “handball” in Japanese, giving this round-shaped sushi a playful appeal with sophisticated flavors. The Gunkan-style sushi is more widely used and is known for its battleship shape with seaweed wrapped around rice. Both sushi styles use traditional Japanese ingredients fused with Northern California seasonal accents such as Dungeness Crab with Yuzu Miso; Salmon with charred balsamic tomato, mustard seeds & crispy lotus root;Tuna with pickled wasabi and avocado; Hamachi with jalapeño aioli; and Madagascar shrimp with uni and Rayu (Japanese chili) oil. Vegan options abound and offer a feast for the eyes with selections such as Soy-braised lotus root; Pickled watermelon radish; Green beans with sesame paste; Sweet miso-marinated eggplant; Smoked tofu with black sesame paste; andEryngii and King trumpet mushrooms with moro miso barley.
“This new style of sushi perfectly blends an entire flavor profile into one complete bite,” says Executive Chef Yuko Kajino. “The salmon in particular exemplifies this concept, with the fattiness of the fish, the acidity of the lime and the smokiness of the charred tomato. We’re creating umami by molding all of these flavors together.”
The new design and menu will be unveiled in time for spring, and is available every day during lunch and dinner. In celebration of the changes and keeping with the seasonal fare, CHAYA Brasserie San Francisco will also offer select dishes from the new Kaisen menu to be featured during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival from April 7-19, 2014. Executive Chef Yuko Kajino will feature a selection of the Temari and Gunkan-style sushi along with specialty libations available in the bar and new lounge space each day during the Cherry Blossom Festival where the restaurant will be decked out in traditional Japanese spring décor.