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Restaurant Review: Craft Izakaya

posted on February 18, 2015 at 9:39 am

Eric Meadows

Eric Meadows

When I was in high school, Sushi Huku was my family’s go-to Japanese restaurant because it reminded my parents of Tokyo, where they met. I learned about Japanese dining customs at Huku, and how beautiful raw fish could be when transformed by deft hands. I also learned how raucous the sushi bar experience could be as I watched my father jest with owner/chef Kimio Fukuya in Japanese. There was often beer and/or sake involved. When Fukuya sold his restaurant to a Korean family, the Ohs, in 2007, I was skeptical the restaurant would retain its magic and dependability. I was especially dubious considering the family’s young son, Jerome (who goes by Jey), who had been working at Japanese restaurants in the Bay area, would be the chef. How could a Korean dude in his mid-twenties possibly compare to an old Japanese master like Fukuya?

Oh won over the existing customer base, of which many were Japanese expats, by showcasing how true his cooking was to classic Japanese technique. He largely stuck to Huku’s tried-and-true formula. Every time I had his fish — especially omakase-style where the chef creates a custom, coursed-out meal at a fixed price — it was clear he had surpassed his predecessor. When the announcement came in March 2014 that Oh would open a hip izakaya at Krog Street Market, it felt like a natural next step.

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