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Sorry, Vegetarians! This New Restaurant in San Francisco’s Japantown Is All About Chicken

Written by Han LiPublished Oct. 18, 2023 • 6:00am
The set menu at the new restaurant Edomasa in San Francisco's Japantown offers four pieces of yakitori chicken, including the “Heart Stamina.” | Source: Han Li/The Standard

After a year of preparation, a yakitori restaurant with a century-long history in Tokyo will open on Oct. 25 in San Francisco’s Japantown. And Edomasa’s opening menu is all about chicken, with nary a vegetarian option to be found.

Known for its bite-size chicken, grilled and skewered, Edomasa will offer a $30 set menu with a bowl of chicken soup, a chicken meatball, four pieces of chicken yakitori and a bowl of seasoned rice. Customers can order other skewers—chicken tenders, tail, thigh, belly meat, breast or neck—a la carte, for $4.50 each.

Daiki Sekiguchi, the general manager of Bay Area-based parent company EK Food Services, said the menu has slightly changed for the American customers but remains true to the original.

“We recommend the Edomasa seven-course set menu,” Sekiguchi said. “It's almost the same as the Tokyo menu.”

The new 39-seat restaurant Edomasa readies for its opening in San Francisco's Japantown. | Source: Han Li/The Standard

Talking about his own favorite skewer, Sekiguchi said he likes the “Heart Stamina,” which is a mix of chicken breast, skin and heart.

Opening in 1924 near Tokyo’s 350-year-old Ryōgoku Bridge, Edomasa started out as a small stall that later became a popular destination. It closed in 2022 amid a controversy over the risks of consuming raw or undercooked chicken, which had featured in the restaurant’s signature dish. 

Sekiguchi said EK Food Services persuaded Edomasa chef Hisatoshi Hamana to relocate from Tokyo to San Francisco and reopen a near-exact replica of the original location. Notably, the San Francisco restaurant will not serve that raw chicken dish.

Edomasa chef Takumi Noda cooks and grills chickens. | Source: Han Li/The Standard
Chef Hisatoshi Hamana had worked at the original location in Tokyo until its closure in 2022. | Source: Han Li/The Standard

Another key difference is the grill. At the 39-seat Edomasa, diners can sit at the bar counter and watch the chefs prepare the chicken—on special electronic equipment imported from Japan, not the traditional way, using charcoal.

“Because our chefs understand that the smell of charcoal gets on the chicken,” Sekiguchi said. “We also believe that electric heating wire cooks the chicken more slowly at a higher temperature, which brings out the flavor of the chicken more.”

But don’t worry, vegetarians. Sekiguchi said Edomasa will eventually have some grilled vegetable items, as well as other different chicken courses and a kids’ menu. But for now, for those who don’t eat meat, an iced matcha drink is your best choice.


🗓️ ️Wednesday-Sunday  | 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
📍 1581 Webster St. #270, SF (inside Japan Center Mall)

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