Noodles are making news this week, and we’re not mad about it! After years of experimenting with dinner parties and pop-ups across the city, chef Tracy Goh has found a soft place for her Malaysian laksa noodle bar to land in Noe Valley.
More noodles abound over in Union Square, where Japantown ramen spot Hinodeya just opened a second outpost for dashi, the umami-rich soup. Also new to Union Square is Harlan Records, a Japanese-style hi-fi listening bar that spins classic vinyl between four “walls of sound” and mixes artful cocktails.
Over in Hayes Valley, months-old favorite Hazie’s just launched a brunch menu that pairs comfort food with Instagrammable drinks. And in the Inner Richmond, an all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue joint just fired up the grills.
1781 Church St.
Damansara is the name of chef Tracy Goh’s childhood home, a suburb on the outskirts of Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. Home, in the literal and figurative ways it nourishes us, is at the center of Goh’s new restaurant of the same name. She first experimented with Damansara as a pop-up, serving thousands of bowls of laksa noodle soup—a Southeast Asian specialty made with potato, rice or tapioca—from her one-bedroom apartment. In 2019, she joined La Cocina’s culinary incubator program. Now, she’s found a new home in Noe Valley, debuting a menu of laksa and other Malaysian staples on Oct. 19.
501 Hayes St.
If Hazie’s were someone you knew, she’d be your friend’s cool older sister with surfer hair and vintage Swedish Hasbeens. Luckily for Hayes Valley, Hazie’s is a new neighborhood eatery where elevated dishes like halibut crudo with avocado and grapefruit happily coexist with comforting pub staples like pretzel knots with truffle cheese sauce. Three months in, chef Joey Altman has launched a boozy brunch menu on weekly rotation, playing on Old World delicatessen favorites like smoked salmon, braised beef brisket and potato latkes. All the better to pair these filling options with a shareable cocktail—the “Sunrise Spritz,” made with aperol, prosecco and soda, comes to mind—or one of the other tipples from Hazie’s comprehensive cocktail list.
852 Clement St.
One of SF’s newest Korean barbecue joints quietly opened two weeks ago. With KBBQ, it’s best to get down to brass tacks. Zajang is an all-you-can-eat, grill-your-own, $40-per-person restaurant with a 90-minute time limit. Meat offerings include all the usual suspects, from kalbi to bulgogi, while the spicy baby octopus accentuates their seafood menu. Complimentary ice cream is a thoughtful touch.
More Noodles, Check
Hinodeya Ramen Bar
219 O’Farrell St.
Building on the success of its Japantown noodle parlor, Hinodeya debuted a second location near Union Square last week. (Strangely enough, there’s already a third in Dallas.) Hindodeya sets itself apart from other Bay Area ramen bars by focusing on dashi broth, a lighter, umami stock made from seaweed and bonito flakes. Those who prefer their noodles with a kick may enjoy the ramen that’s laced with chashu and chili oil, while vegans have a solid option in the soy-based “zen ramen.”
18 Harlan Place
What’s “big in Japan” might just become big in SF. An emerging trend of Japanese-style listening bars—drinking dens that play classic vinyl through pristine sound systems—is moving the nightlife needle at Harlan Records. Spinning LPs until midnight, Harlan Records is an audiophile’s ideal third place, and you can expect throwbacks like J.J. Fad alongside up-and-coming artists like Khruangbin. SF designer Marissa Jade Marsh created acoustically treated “walls of sound” so that patrons can enjoy the house picks free from distortion. The cocktail menu pays special attention to alcohol-free drinks, melding surprising ingredients like papaya leaf tea and bubble gum.
Sarah Holtz can be reached at [email protected]