Michelin-star restaurateur Kash Feng of Omakase recently opened Okane, a casual and colorful izakaya located next door to his award winning restaurant in SoMa. Having already attended an excellent media dinner at Omakase, Patrick and I were really excited when we were invited to have dinner at Okane as guests of the house.
If you are unfamiliar with izakayas, it's like a gastropub - alcohol comes first and food is a second priority. If you are doing it correctly, you should be drinking throughout your meal and feeling buzzed pretty quickly and of course, hungover the next day.
Our dinner started off nicely with two generous glasses of Grandin Brut NV from Loire Valley, very crisp and refreshing. It made for a perfect pairing with the first two fish dishes served. The Harajuku Roll ($16) was full of fun flavors and textures. The generous slices of salmon and tuna lusciously melts in your mouth and I just love the crunchy shrimp tempura and lotus chips. The sushi rice was perfectly cooked and well seasoned - a very important thing.
Next was a plate of thickly sliced Hamachi Sashimi ($15) flown in from Japan's Tsukiji Fish Market. Beautifully marbled with a very mild fishy taste and extremely smooth texture.
Now we move onto a bottle of Seikyo Takehara Junmai Sake ($48) for the remainder of the meal... It was very drinkable - mild, semi-sweet and refreshing. The pours kept on coming!
The Grilled Sake Lees Cured Alaskan Cod ($15) was my favorite. Sake lees is the stuff that's left after the sake has been pressed out of the mash. It's often used as a marinade in Japanese cooking. The cod was very tender and the sake lees marinade gave the fish a sweet, complex and funky taste, along with the aroma of the sake itself.
The Jidori Egg Chawanmushi with Shrimp Tempura and Bok Choy ($8) arrived steamy and hot. The texture was like a combination between creamy soft tofu and eggs.
A glorious tower of Saba Karaage ($15) arrived to our table. Mackerel is lightly marinated, battered and fried until it develops a crispy crust. This type of preparation accentuates the flavors of the fish. The fish is firm and has a muted fishy taste.
We both really enjoyed the Anago and Burdock Root Tempura Tensuyu ($18). The saltwater eel was perfectly fried and had a lovely flaky texture. Dipping each piece of fried eel into the tensuyu dipping sauce that we mixed with grated ginger and daikon was very satisfying and created a harmony of flavors in our mouth.
The Salmon and Ikura Chazuke with Savory Tea Soup ($11) was a nice way to wrap up the meal. It's served with a side of sweet pickles that lifted up the dish, giving it that extra depth of flavor that was needed in this very mild rice soup. It's only in a comforting dish like this where you can really appreciate the briny and salty flavors that the roe contributes.
For dessert, we shared the house-made Sesame Ice Cream topped with thick sesame sauce. I am a big fan of sesame ice cream and really enjoyed this version, though the texture could've been a little more creamier.
Aside from the food, we loved the casual and fun vibe of the restaurant. The music selection varied from Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" to Run–D.M.C.'s "It's Tricky". It's a great casual place to get together with friends for drinks and really great food that is made using traditional techniques.
I would go back to Okane in a heartbeat.
Thank you for having us over for dinner, Okane! Shout out to Quade for being an excellent host - your level of knowledge across all the dishes left a lasting impression.
669 Townsend Street.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Monday – Friday: 11:00 – 2:30
Monday – Thursday: 5:30 – 11:00
Friday & Saturday: 5:30 – Midnight