The Tonkatsu Sandwich @ Nojo Restaurant, San Francisco

The Tonkastu Sandwich. Although I always chuckle at crustless bread, this is one serious sandwich. The pork cutlet is perfectly crispy, with great balance provided by an Asian-style slaw and spicy ponzu mayo. One of the good ones.

Nojo has been on my radar for quite some time now, ever since I was hipped to this restaurant by my good buddy Dirk, a former chef-colleague who now lives and works in San Francisco. The menu at Nojo certainly looked intriguing, and ever since Dirk had mentioned this place to me, the restaurant had definitely been garnering some great buzz online. Still, the trouble with dinner-only restaurants, at least for me, is that great food pictures are nearly impossible to obtain, especially during the wintertime, when daylight is so fleeting. Personally, I can’t even bring myself to run a cell phone pic on these pages, and certainly not any pic that relies upon a garish light bulb for illumination. So when Nojo finally expanded its hours to include lunch just a few weeks ago, I took that as my cue to finally make the trip and snap some photos. And to stuff my face with Japanese pub food, of course. Click any picture for a full-screen view.

Oyster mushroom, Meyer lemon, and sweet potato tempura. Very light batter, but with substantial crunch. The daikon oroshi dipping broth was subtle in this context, and the gluttonous Westerner in me would probably request either (a) ponzu or (b) the spicy ponzu mayo next time. Crass, I know.

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Black sesame ice cream, with hachiya persimmon and peanut thunder crackers. The lone dessert offering for lunch, but a tasty one. And how can you resist anything billed as a “peanut thunder cracker” (which is essentially a peanut and crispy rice brittle)?

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Nojo’s lunch menu for February 22nd.

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