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The new kids on the block at Market Street.

Opening a successful restaurant usually takes the steady hand and guidance of a seasoned restauranteur. Luckily Nomica, the newest eatery to hit Market Street, has four of them. Hiroo Nagahara heads up the kitchen with an eclectic assortment of Japanese-inspired fusion foods, while Paul Quinn, Mynor Morales and Yoshimori Tome, the team behind Sausalito’s hit sushi spot, Sushi Ran, encompass the face and attitude of the newly opened San Francisco restaurant. The inspiration behind their menu stems from the respect its owners and their staff have for their patrons. “They’re really open-minded. They want to experience new things, new foods,” Tome says of his guests as tables begin to fill up. “So you have to bring some sort of culture and background, then customers can experience a little bit, and not just with taste buds.” If that’s the goal then Nomica is hitting it in stride. Unique drinks using Awamori, a traditional Okinawan spirit, make their debut on the cocktail menu with Be My Hiroo, an affectionate nod to the head chef, but it’s the fusion side of this upscale restaurant in a casual setting that’s really drawing the attention of critics.

Turns out taking its name from the 3 neighborhoods that border it— Noe Valley, Mission, and Castro— isn’t the only creative trick Nomica has up its sleeve. Its moniker is also a clever hat tip to its ancestry, translating to ‘drinking house’ in Japanese. Menu items like seared sea bass with tomato marinated blue prawn, red quinoa, and black togarashi begin to paint the picture of a unique dining experience. But it’s the chicken and waffles, made with cubed karaage chicken, matcha butter and truffle maple syrup that completely blows the lid off of any preconceived expectations. It’s in this regard that we’re glad we found Nomica. It embodies the dare to be different spirit that makes this city so great, and it’s with the utmost respect that we wish them the best of luck in their continued efforts to challenge San Francisco’s already sophisticated palette.