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439 Balboa St. (Sixth Ave.) Send to Phone
Seductive modern lounge attracts industry types for saké and textured Korean and Japanese flavors.
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Local Deals: 120 * 90

Dinner nightly, Brunch Sat.-Sun.
Open late Mon., Wed.-Sat.
  • Dress code: Casual
  • Entertainment: Entertainment Thurs.-Sat.
  • Heart-healthy dishes
  • Reservations suggested

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  • 4.5 star rating
4.5 rating over 4 reviews


: Not quite an insider’s secret, Namu’s location far from the beaten path lends this often-packed Pan-Asian small-plate and saké lounge the allure of a hidden find. The sleek, wide-open room seats roughly 40, with an additional five seats at a bar made from one polished, reclaimed tree. Late hours and DJ nights allow industry types to congregate once their own kitchens have closed, and 30 well-chosen, affordable sakés, soju and wines by the glass ensure they stay a while. Texture-rich share plates of contemporary Asian creations pack big flavor. Young chef Dennis Lee has the touch with beautiful crudos strung with lemon, infused oils and kombu; Asian-style dressings (Korean chili, wasabi) for fresh Hog Island oysters; and anything fresh and raw from the sea. Our turn with the spot’s famed light, tempura calamari fry was uneven, but a steaming hot bowl of shiitake dumplings in dashi-mushroom broth proved layered and memorable for only $9. Ask for rice pairings (white or wild) with larger grilled plates, such as miso-marinated line-caught black cod topped with leeks. Japanese rice beer is a crisp, refreshing option. The youthful owners also operate Happy Belly businesses around town.

User Ratings & Reviews for THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Namu
Average rating    5
Reviews 1 - 1 of 11
Refined Asian Food at its Best!
by elementsinculinary on Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:34 am
Refined, sophisticated and calculated. A perfect 5 star place. Everything is executed here with precision. It was a great way to end the restaurant sampling year of 2008. We really wish that we had come here the night before instead of going to Ame. The food here is way better executed.

Food: 5 stars
They cook their food here with respect to the ingredients' integrity. The best food comes from the best ingredients, and these talented chefs understand. We had the tartar, chicken wings, trout, ramen, stone pot rice and chocolate brioche and plum cookies, accompanied by a great bottle of Sancere.

Tartar was subtle and delicious, and came with the most beautiful romaine hearts I've ever seen. They were so fresh and good, even better than my beloved gem lettuce. The chicken was fried to perfection. The skin was thin and crisp and the meat was tender. It was not greasy at all and I loved it (I hardly ever like fried chicken wings.) The trout was grilled and poached to perfection, heavenly sitting in a perfectly harmonious broth of dashi, soy and others. The ramen was bold and the stone pot rice was really the best Korean food I've ever had.

Beverage Program: 5 stars
This is an intimate restaurant with a little shy of 50 seats. It makes a great sense for them to have a focused wine, sake, infused soju and beer list, and their list is wonderful. The Sancere half bottle we picked paired wonderfully with everything we had. It was a great sav blanc with a lot of fruit and structure. Also a great non-alcoholic selection with fine teas and other non-alcoholic beverages. I would love to try the infused soju next time. The entire list is very focused and composed with such class.

Service: 5 stars
The service style here is casual, but based on fine dining basics. Knowledgeable, warm, caring and not intrusive. Really no complaints here.

Atmosphere/Decor: 5 stars
This place is beautiful. The space is very well designed. The paintings on the wall are very tasteful but urban hip. The lighting is bright, yet carefully spotted at right places to create intimacy. The whole wood natural motif is just stunningly beautiful, and you can especially enjoy that in their gorgeous bathroom and the bar. Yes the bathroom sink has pebbles on the bottom covered by beautiful clear silicon. The way they placed the large screen TV is so tasteful and it will never make the bar look dive. The owners said that they did everything on their own. They are true artists both culinary and interior!

Monday night all the wine bottles are 50% off! (That's how we got to the Sancere!) and they are open late on some nights I heard. Ramen and Neman Ranch burger sounds like the ultimate after work restaurant industry people hang out!

Namu will have my absolute devotion from now on.
Reviews 1 - 1 of 11
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