Wagyu-Focused Ittoryu Gozu Opens in San FranciscoAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
Last month, Ittoryu Gozu opened its doors in San Francisco’s SOMA district, inviting culinary adventurers to come explore world of wagyu, the famous Japanese beef that’s known for its versatility and subtle nuance. The new restaurant employs the craft of robatayaki, a Japanese style of open-fire cooking and executive chef/owner Marc Zimmerman serves a kappo-style tasting menu. Along with co-founder Ben Jorgensen of the newly formed MZ Dining Group, Zimmerman is calling on his connections across Japan, Australia and America, to offer diners a “nose-to-tail” wagyu experience.
You might know ribeye, New York, and tenderloin, but Gozu offers something special with kappo, which features five different cooking techniques: grilling, steaming, frying, simmer, and raw. With prices ranging from $95 to $150 per person, the two simple menus are fully immersive experiences. The Gozu menu is a 2.5-hour session of fifteen items spread over ten courses and the Mezu menu is a 1.5-hour dinner comprised of eight dishes spread over five courses.
Gozu is a big believer in “full-cow utilization” and plans for a minimal waste program that highlights the wagyu cow beyond plated dishes. Expect behind-the-scenes practices like bone burning in place of charcoal, rendering wagyu fat for preserving and aging other meats and vegetables, and fermenting lean cuts to make house-made “shoyu.”
When it comes to drinks, Gozu’s beverage director, Lindsey Young has worked closely with Zimmerman to put together a selection of wine, nihon-shu, beer, Japanese whisky, and scotch designed to complement the meals. Diners have the option of choosing between five beverage pairing menus, which features a mix of cocktails, rare and exclusive spirits, sake, wine and beer throughout the course of the meal. Or they can order a la carte from cocktails served with Japanese sensibility.
The restaurant’s distinct personality is all tied together with an aesthetic presentation from the James Beard award-winning studio, a l m project. Gozu’s palette centers on subtle shades of charcoal highlighted by hints of natural plant and sediment colors. The restaurant also features a sequence of site specific cloth murals curated by Lenardin-Madden and created by mural artist Elkpen.
Beyond the front entrance is a blackened steel wall that encases Gozu’s private dining room/whisky chamber. Inside, the 12-seat space is paneled with cloth, creating a quiet refuge from the hustle and bustle of the public area. The centerpiece marble table was also designed by a l m, and is flanked by leather-cushioned oak seating from Germany’s E15. The restaurant will also create custom plaques for guests to store their private whisky bottles on the shelving.
The open fire robata designed specifically for Gozu, features a set of grills finished in blackened steel and a Heath tile back, with seating in a U-shape for 25 guests around the hearth. The Kitchen Table, located toward the rear of the restaurant, provides a family-style setting for 6-8 guests.
The Lounge Area, with seating for 10, is perfect for pre-dinner drinks and features a custom banquette with Kvadrat fabric, integrated mood lighting custom made by Arancia and side tables by Cappellini.
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