The Brick x Brick Hospitality in San Francisco expands Nikkei KAIYŌ
John Park, owner of San Francisco’s new Nikkei Peruvian restaurant, KAIYŌ Rooftop, declared the grand opening of their new 12and-the restaurant floor was “overwhelming”.
“What we haven’t really measured and really understood is the kind of interest and excitement for space in San Francisco. I think it’s coupled with this locked up tension that people want to come back. back to normal after the pandemic,” he said of the Feb. 16 opening.
KAIYŌ Rooftop is located on the 12th floor of the Hyatt Place hotel in the SOMA district. the 3,300 square foot restaurant with seating for 236 people.
For Park, managing partner of Brick x Brick Hospitality Group, it’s an expansion of the group’s original KAIYO in the Cow Hollow neighborhood. Brick x Brick also operates Whitechapel and Novela restaurants, and the new rooftop concept precedes another location of KAIYŌ is set to open on the ground floor of the Hyatt Place Hotel later this year.
In the new elevated space, which offers panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline and nearby sports stadiums, Park hopes to give KAIYŌ a bigger stage.
Park, in partnership with William Duff Architects, designed and decorated KAIYŌ Rooftop with “contemporary decor and natural finishes, vibrant pops of color and lush green accents, including live palm trees,” according to press materials. There’s also a rainforest-inspired mural on-site created by artist Jeff Carnie.
The theme is purely Peruvian-Japanese. Chef Alex Reccio, originally from Lima, Peru, works alongside sushi chef Rafeal Campo and bar manager Carl Brown on catering offerings.
Reccio said people can expect a unique approach to Nikkei and Peruvian cuisine at KAIYŌ Rooftop.
“They’ll see Rafeal’s sushi menu, they’ll try our cocktail menu and they’ll be surprised. I think that’s the first reaction people have when they first try our concept,” he said.
Nikkei cuisine is often described as a blend of Japanese and Peruvian flavors, but it represents a style of cooking that evolved from generations of Japanese immigrants now rooted in Peru.
Park said what makes this restaurant unique is that it blends the past, meets the present and advances the future of Nikkei cuisine using what they can in the supply chain market. of today, evolving and creating along the way.
“The beautiful thing about this story is that it’s the journey of Nikkei cuisine becoming a form. It’s people who have these deep Peruvian cultures who understand Japanese cuisine and try to create the Japanese experience, but those ingredients would never be available to them. And that’s exactly what Japanese immigrants experienced in Peru. How can I eat the sushi I want to eat without the ingredients I usually have in Japan?” he said.
Campo, Reccio and Brown all talk about the challenges that remain after two years of the pandemic.
“It was difficult,” Reccio said. “Suppliers let most of their employees go during COVID, so they weren’t ready for the start of the year when things reopened. We try to manage our orders as consciously as possible. There are items that we have to import like Peruvian peppers, for example.
“Some things have to be imported but we try to be as local as possible not because of how fresh they are but because of what happened during COVID, and after COVID, with the whole supply chain and the demand product,” he continued.
However, Campo adds, “Some of the best foods come from wrestling.”
Brown said he struggles with some Japanese whiskeys and sakes, but makes them work with substitutes.
Signature drinks on the menu include a $13 Pisco Sour, made from Pisco, a grape-based brandy produced in Peru, combined with freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice and egg white. There are large-format drinks, such as Koro’s Big Day ($52, serves four) with Barsol Pisco infused with aji amarillo, mezcal, pineapple juice, lime and agave; as well as tropical and fruit cocktails, highballs and mocktails with Seedlip Garden.
As for sushi, there are Nigiri or specialty rolls like the Lima roll and the crab causa roll. Causa crab roll is a Peruvian mashed potato roll with a mixture of crab pulp, aji amarillo causa paste, lemon juice, avocado, cucumber, nori, jalapenos , cilantro aioli, roasted red pepper relish, micro cilantro and cancha crumbs. The Lima roll comes with shrimp tempura, yellowtail, avocado, rocoto aioli, aji verde, unagi sauce and shiso chiffonade.
Small plates include pork bao buns ($14); wagyu gyoza ($18); and papas fritas with a togarashi sauce, aji amrilloa ($5).
There are seafood platter options for two ($75) or four ($110); plus ceviche ($18-$22) and tiradito (sashimi-style; $16-$22). The latter is served with “leche de tigre”, or tiger’s milk, which refers to the citrus-based marinade that cures ceviche and tiradito, as well as fish juice, which is served in a small glass. and touted as both a hangover cure and an aphrodisiac.