Roka Akor opens today in San Francisco
Roka Akor is the restaurant that is trending around the local food mediaverse this week. That is because the high-profile Japanese steak/sushi chain opens today in downtown San Francisco, clocking in at nearly 200 seats over two levels.
Roka Akor is the American offshoot of London-based Roka, which has upscale Japanese robata restaurants in the London and Hong Kong. There are Roka Akor locations in Chicago and Scottsdale.
The first California location of Roka Akor is now found in the big corner restaurant space that has housed Zinnia, Scott Howard, 500 Jackson, and probably most famously, the Cypress Club. However, since it’s been a cursed space since the Cypress Club days, Arcanum Architecture gave it a fairly substantial overhaul. They’re now utilizing the downstairs area, where Daniel Hyatt reigns over a subterranean lounge; see his cocktail menu below. The new regime also changed the entrance, and the address is now 801 Montgomery.
You can read the pitches on the place around the web here, here, here, and here. One thing no one has mentioned yet is the price point. Chef Roman Petry is offering two omakase menus, $98 or $128. Like another British upscale Asian concept, Hakkasan, the a la carte menu — divided into robata and sushi sections — is sprinkled with luxury ingredients, like Beef Tataki with Shaved Black Truffle and Truffle Jus ($22), Spot Prawn with Uni and Osetra Caviar ($16) or a medley of market-priced Wagyu beef. Entrees fall mostly in the $30 range; you can see the full menus here.
On the bar side, Lou Bustamante has a nice preview, and here is the opening cocktail list from Alembic vet Hyatt:
Roka Bar Cocktails
Jack Horner $15
Single Malt Whisky, Plum Cordial, Rose
(Yamazaki 12yr whisky, with a seaweed and ginger spiced and strained plum puree, and a small dash of rose water, served up, ice cold, in a cocktail glass like a Manhattan)
Johnny Appleseed $12
Applejack, Barley Water, Fresh Lemon, Mint
(Lairds Applejack, served with a lightly sweetened barley tea scented with a touch of chervil, fresh squeezed lemon and a sprig of mint, over ice in a highball glass)
Lima Bean $12
Pisco, Salted lime juice, Local honey, bitters
(Peruvian Pisco, Lime juice with a generous pinch of Kosher salt, a shot of syrup made with local honey, shaken and strained over crushed ice with a few dashes of Peruvian bitters)
Desert Rose $14
Strawberry gin, French vermouth, Curacao, lemon, parlsey
(Strawberry infused Beefeater gin, Vermouth and Curacao, stirred and strained into a martini glass and topped with a few drops of chilled, bright green, lemon parsley infused grape seed oil)
Knot Hole $15
Rye whiskey, Nocino, Yellow Chartreuse, cream, seltzer
(A mixture of Bulleit Rye, Black walnut liqueur, and yellow chartreuse and cream, stirred in a tall glass and topped with seltzer, like an old fashioned egg cream, served with a straw)
Zorba the Greek $12
Brandy, Peach nectar, Ouzo, Coffee
(Germain Robin Alambic brandy with a dash of ouzo, a little splash of peach nectar and a dash of coffee extract, layered in a cordial glass, with a single espresso bean)
Tequila, Golden raisin syrup, Amontillado sherry, Champagne vinegar, apple
(Espolon reposed tequila, mixed with a nutty sherry and a syrup made from golden raisins and white wine sweetened with agave nectar, stirred with just a dash of champagne vinegar and garnished with a dried apple slice on the edge of a martini glass)
Crimson Tide $12
Campari, Italian vermouth, summer berries, lavender ice, seltzer
(Muddled mix of fresh summer berries, gets topped with equal parts Campari and Sweet vermouth and stirred with lavender scented ice chunks and topped with just a tiny splash of seltzer, served in an Old Fashioned glass with an orange peel garnish)
Prickly Heat $14
White and Aged rums, Melon and Hibiscus agua fresca, cane syrup, orange flower water, Chili
(Fresh melon is blended with hibiscus tea and sweetened slightly with cane syrup, shaken up with a mixture of Rhum Clement Premiere Canne and Appleton Estate 12yr rums, a little dash of orange blossom water and a few dashes of Thai chili tincture, served on the rocks with a thin slice of lime)
Roka Akor: 801 Montgomery Street, at Jackson. (415) 362-8887 or rokaakor.com Open for dinner nightly.