Japanese Restaurants in Tenderloin

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Sidebar: Japanese Curry at Kare-Ken

While curry may bring to mind spicy Indian dishes, the Japanese variety is only tangentially related to that country. Curry in its Japanese form came to exist through a game of culinary telephone. In the 1800s, Britons brought back curry powder from India, but they failed to bring along any native recipes. Instead, British chefs turned to French techniques, making a thick roux with flour and butter before adding curry spices.

The Japanese became enthralled with the dish when a craze for Western culture hit the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and now this simple entree is considered a national dish. In Japan, the curry sauce is mixed with potatoes, carrots, onions, and most often beef (but sometimes tofu or other meat or seafood) and served with sticky white rice. The delicious end result is sweeter and milder than Indian curry.

552 Jones St
San Francisco,
CA
US

Five Things to Know About Jasper's Corner Tap and Kitchen

Praised for its atmosphere of "instant fun" by The New York Times, Jasper's Corner Tap and Kitchen has built a solid following with its on-tap Negronis and swoon-worthy pub food. Here are some other facets that make Jasper's stand out:

  • The name pays homage to San Francisco's heritage. An immigrant from Ireland, Jasper O'Farrell built and named some of the city's most famous streets, including the nearby Market Street.
  • Critics adore the poutine. Jasper's press clippings boast numerous shout-outs to their fries, especially a poutine smothered with cheese curds, mushrooms, and brown gravy.
  • A late night menu is available until 2 a.m. Offered every Thursday–Saturday, late night options include the pork belly grilled cheese, one of the city's "must-try grilled cheese sandwiches" according to Zagat.
  • The tap stays seasonal. In addition to plenty of bottled options, Jasper's rotates beers from local and international breweries through its 18 taps every season.
  • It's nestled within San Francisco's theater district. A popular locale for pre- and post-show dining, Jasper's is only one block south of the city's famed Curran Theatre and American Conservatory Theater.

401 Taylor St
San Francisco,
CA
US

Ahn Sushi & Soju stocks barren bellies with fresh Japanese and Korean menu items reeled in from all corners of the oceanic fish bowl, and slakes gullets with sake and signature soju cocktails, colossal libations mixed in hollowed fruits. The unagi sushi's barbecue-infused eel ($5) seduces taste buds while a quintet of toro sashimi ($25.95) softly croons melodies of the seafaring life. Take piscatorial matters into your own hands with the bento box combo dinner, which cordons off a trio of customer-culled fare, such as a crab-stuffed california roll, tangy chicken teriyaki, or a spicy tuna roll ($17.95). Chefs draw upon Korean muses to craft the boneless beef jumuluck kalbi, bathed in a special house sauce ($19.95), or the saeng kalbi, charcoal barbecued short ribs ($19.95).

177 Eddy St
San Francisco,
CA
US

639 Post St
San Francisco,
CA
US

In Focus: Katana-ya

  • Specialties: award-winning ramen, don buri (rice bowls), and fresh sushi
  • Highest honor: Michelin-recommended 2012–2013
  • Popular dishes: fried-chicken ramen and spicy-tofu ramen
  • Pro tip: all ramen dishes are customizable, with rich or light broths flavored with miso, soy, or salt, and a multitude of toppings
  • For the indecisive: combo meals with ramen and fried rice or sushi
  • Peak hours: lunchtime, when the line routinely stretches out the door
  • Best time to go: dinner or for a late-night snack (open until 1:30 a.m. daily)
  • Seating: space in the dining room is limited, but table turnover is quick
  • Takes reservations: no

430 Geary St
San Francisco,
CA
US

In Focus: Anzu

  • Specialty: sustainable California cuisine with an Asian flair
  • Location: on the second floor of Hotel Nikko, overlooking the lobby
  • Most popular dish: misoyaki black cod with truffle-dashi sauce
  • Best way to cook with rocks: Roast your own appetizer-size strips of beef on a superheated stone at your table.
  • Must-try drink: one of the signature sake martinis
  • Number of wines: about 280 bottles
  • The vibe: chic and modern, with streamlined furniture, intricate light fixtures, and Asian–inspired flourishes
  • Where to put your car: Two-hour complimentary valet parking is available during dinner Thursday–Saturday.

222 Mason St
San Francisco,
CA
US