Namu Gaji Grows Up | San Francisco

Namu Gaji grows up

We prefer to enjoy the food at Namu Gaji rather than wring our hands over authenticity.

Is it Korean? Japanese? American? Who cares? It's good.

Consider the fried rice ($10), laced with house-made kimchee and shot through with pieces of bacon, onion and 4505 Meats' hot dogs; the fried-egg topping is a brilliant addition (click here for the recipe).

The Lee brothers, Dennis, Daniel and David, recently relocated the restaurant from its original Inner Richmond location to Dolores Street. It's now open for both lunch and dinner. The CK Sando ($10), available at midday, is a delightful cross-cultural treat: Its chicken thighs are grilled, Korean-style, then combined with Swiss cheese, aioli and pickled daikon, all on a sweet pan di mie bun.

Rice-flour-dusted squares of fried tofu ($14) are crackly-crusted sponges, soaking up the browned butter and ginger-garlic dashi beneath; the okonomiyaki ($10 at lunch; $16 at dinnertime), a traditional Japanese savory pancake, is loaded with oysters and market-fresh vegetables and arrives beneath a fluttering blanket of shaved bonito flakes. Soon, the majority of the vegetables will come from the Lee brothers' newly planted one-acre farm in Sunol.

It doesn't get more California than that.

Namu Gaji, 499 Dolores St. (at 18th St.); 415-386-8332 or