ICHI Sushi + NI Bar's Expansion and Ascension into Greatness
It's hard to believe that ICHI Sushi won such a following in its original location, which didn't even really have a proper kitchen. It doesn't matter now, because that space is slated for a separate project, and ICHI has been reincarnated as ICHI + NI ("one" and "two" in Japanese). Tim and Erin Archuleta's gorgeous new space in the not-quite-Bernal-Heights strip sometimes known as La Lengua is a giddily anticipated spot for all your omakase needs.
The former grocery on Mission Street across from Pizza Hacker has been cleft in twain, with a 30-seat sushi bar in the front along with a smattering of tables, and an izakaya with a lower price point in the rear. Expect everything you came to love at the previous postage-stamp version of ICHI, plus fantastical creatures from the briny deep like hotaru ika (firefly squid) and kamasu, or Japanese barracuda. The NI Bar, in turn, has innovative hot and cold options that range from broccoli gorae to beef tripe stew. Drinks bust free of the beer-and-wine straitjacket with a number of sakes, including two ginjos and daiginjos (the most highly prized form), and even orange-ginger mead, which should be sexy to pair with some of the more acidic sushi.
Along ICHI + NI's long side wall is a stark, razor-sharp mural by Erik Marinovich that has instructions for the sashimi-challenged on how to consume it without violating common sense or taboos. (Or see the Bold Italic article the Archuletas collaborated on). Either way, La Lengua's taste buds are about to see some serious stimulation.
ICHI Sushi + NI Bar, 3282 Mission, 525-4750.