Best of Date Night: Nojo and Chambers Eat + Drink

Outside Nojo ("farm" in Japanese) on Franklin and Hayes streets in San Francisco. All photos by Edric Itchon.

Friday was date night and I headed out with my husband Edric to hit up Nojo, a Japanese-izakaya-inspired restaurant in Hayes Valley that’s been getting glowing reviews. Luckily all the hype was spot on, and we enjoyed one of the best meals we’ve had in SF in a while. While this isn’t a food blog, I felt compelled to post photos of chef Greg Dunmore’s sleek and contemporary yet cozy joint that does Japanese pub food—and just about everything else—right. From the juicy grilled chicken skewers and farm-to-table pickled veggies, to the cooks sporting cheeky “Support Your Local Nojo” statement tees in the open kitchen, Nojo is definitely a place I’d come back again and again. For more details, check out Michael Bauer’s review from the Chronicle here.

Tofu, Shimeji mushrooms, sugar snap peas and sesame
Tsukune (ground chicken meatball) with deliciously salty and slightly sweet egg yolk sauce

At work on the compact grill
Tiny, tasty baby carrot, part of the Spring Tsukemono (pickled vegetables) plate

After our near perfect dinner, we also hit up the opening night event for Chambers Eat + Drink in the Tenderloin, hosted by the guys behind SF’s expert party crew, Vintage  415. Even on a cold and rainy night, locals lined up, umbrellas in hand, to check out this taste of Vegas in SF. Located inside the historic Phoenix Hotel in the former Bambuddah Lounge space, this kitschy ’70s meets rock ‘n roll themed restaurant transforms into a swanky lounge after hours. There’s plenty of seating, an open-air heated patio with fire display, and two bars, making it a nice spot for a post-dinner drink.

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