The Mission District has been ground zero for the pros and cons of San Francisco's latest tech boom. While some celebrate all the new restaurants brought in by the big influx of money, others worry that the traditional tastes of the old neighborhood might get lost in the shuffle. With investors taking chances on popular trends, restaurants seem to open and close by the dozen each week.
As longtime Mission residents with a commitment to their community, ICHI Sushi + NI Bar is a true exception. And the moment you walk into their brand new location, an oversized mural lets you know just how seriously they take their sushi. (Tips include "Hold sushi rice-side up" and "Eat sushi in one bite.")
ICHI Sushi + NI Bar, with mural in background — Photo courtesy of ICHI Sushi + NI Bar
If the mural doesn't convince you, a few minutes of watching Executive Chef Tim Archuleta and his expert staff painstakingly put together a delicate piece of sushi will leave no doubt: food is not just some passing fancy for these people.
"We use Japanese ethics and Japanese ingredients when we make our sushi," Archuleta explains. "The fish is always the star of the meal."
Executive Chef Tim Archuleta — Photo courtesy of ICHI Sushi + NI Bar
ICHI Sushi + NI Bar follows the "Izakya" Japanese tradition, a tradition of sake houses that eventually offered food, resulting in a casual but informed dining experience. No detail is overlooked in the preparation and presentation – even the nigiri is specially seasoned to accompany that particular fish.
"If we do our seasoning right, guests should be able to enjoy their sushi without adding any soy sauce or wasabi," Archuleta explains.
Nigiri sushi of ICHI+NI — Photo courtesy of Alanna Hale / ICHI Sushi + NI Bar
ICHI Sushi + NI Bar offers both nigiri-style sushi, where the fish is laid on top of the rice, as well as traditional rolls. House favorites include the Umi Masu (Ocean Trout) and Kanpachi (Hawaiian Amberjack), as well as the unique Shiso Pesto Somen Noodle Salad.
Executive Chef Tim Archuleta's expertise with sushi is matched by his business partner and wife's joy for their new space.
"It took almost two years to get this space just right," Erin Archuleta explains. "But it all really came together. I couldn't ask for a better space."
Mural and tables of ICHI+NI — Photo courtesy of Alanna Hale / ICHI Sushi + NI Bar
Besides expert sushi and a thoughtfully designed space, guests at ICHI Sushi + NI Bar can expect a real commitment to sustainability. The owners make great efforts to use fish that are not from populations strained by overfishing.
Omakase service is offered at the bar and tables, and there's an extensive chilled sake list, as well as regional beer and wine. Asahi and Sapporo are on tap.
If you're in the Mission District and in the mood for inspired sushi in a thoughtful space, head to ICHI Sushi + NI Bar today.