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San Francisco

Nara Now Open With Sushi Fusion, Sake On Haight

It's been almost eight months since neighborhood favorite Greenburger's closed its doors at 518 Haight St., and with the exception of a brief stint as pop-up Cool Beans, the space's doors have remained closed. 

Back in July, we caught wind that the space would become a second location of Polk Street sushi spot Nara, and at the time word was that a sushi/Korean fusion concept could come into play. 

Now, the new Nara has finally softly-opened its doors. Last night, diners could be seen seated amidst Nara’s rustic decor as the restaurant held its soft opening (the grand opening is scheduled for March). Wood-paneled walls and hanging Edison bulb lighting lend a rustic touch to the space, and the left-hand wall is lined with sake bottles. 

According to one of the owners, George Kim, Nara will be serving up sushi infused with Korean ingredients and flavors, like the Maguro Tar Tar roll ($10), which features sesame oil-seasoned tuna with Korean pear and avocado.

The menu, which we grabbed a sample of, includes more traditionally Japanese items, like miso soup ($2), assorted vegetable tempura ($6), Donkotsu ramen ($11) and a selection of nigiri and sashimi, but dishes get pretty creative from there, with unique dishes like Jalapeño poppers stuffed with spicy tuna and cheese unagi sauce ($6), a California roll topped with Pop Rocks ($10), and an unagi spring roll with "potato crunch" ($10). The menu is expected to change every few days, and Nara plans to serve dinner only, according to Kim.

In addition to its creative take on sushi, Nara’s other main attraction is sake pairings. Kim says there will be 40 different types of sake on hand at the restaurant, and they will be pairing them with their dishes the way sommeliers help you pair wine with your food.

The restaurant will remain "softly open" until March, but is now open for business from 5:00pm to 11:30pm, so stop by and let us know what you think of the new spot.

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