499 dolores st. @18th
San Francisco, CA
Why did we dine here? – Namu Gaji succeeds Namu from the Richmond district. It is smaller and in a much hipper neighborhood. They have received some good press from many reviewers, so we felt it was time to give it a try. This expands this awesome Gourmet Ghetto block with Tartine Bakery, Bi-Rite, Delfina, and Pizzeria Delfina.
Insider Tip – Go early to beat the crowds
Cuisine – Korean Fusion
Location – Mission
Opened – 2012
Service – Namu Gaji service started out ok, faltered, then bounced back. Clearly this is a small restaurant where the few servers can get overloaded and cause glitches.
Verdict – Namu Gaji lived up to its reputation with some creative Korean-American dishes coooked very well. The small restaurant can get loud, and the counter seating by the window is pretty narrow making this a lively spot. Dessert selection is weak, so go hit Bi-Rite next door. Also hit Tartine Bakery for some damn fine bread and pastries.
Namu Gaji Signature Dishes – Okonomiyaki, Burger, Stonepot
Namu Gaji’s Menu contains Happy hour specials along with a good assortment of fusiony starters and large dishes.
Namu Gaji Food Picks:
Potato puff ($8) parmesan, fried garlic, gochujang aioli had 4 balls of deep friend goodness with a soft interior.
“the real” korean taco ($5.50) kimchee salsa, kimchee remoulade, seasoned rice, toasted seaweed, nori, galbi short rib was cutting edge with its seaweed wrapper and nice chopped up meat.
Okonomiyaki ($18) kimchee, oyster, yamaimo, cabbage, bonito, kewpie is mentioned by many folks as their favorite. This is a pretty exotic dish that some will not like.
Stonepot ($16) prepared market vegetable, kimchee, egg, rice, gochujang (steak +$5)* was recommended by the server. Huge pot, but not a lot quantity-wise compared to traditional bibimbap in Korean restaurants. High quality ingredients and lots of crispy burnt rice.
Burger – 8oz grassfed pattie, kimchee relish, pickled daikon, sun dried tomato aioli, hand cut fries was HUGE and cooked to a very aggressive level of doneness. Medium rare is pretty darn red inside. Highly recommended dish as its juicy, meaty, and includes some nice fries.
Prepared market vegetable, kimchee, egg, rice, gochujang (steak 5)*+
Shave ice ($6) – hand cranked ice, mrkt fruits, daily toppings was meyer lemon with candied kumquats on this night. Nice and refreshing after all the strong flavors.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)