Named for a mythological man-monkey on a search for a never-ending sake river, Sh?j? soft opens today in Chinatown. While there is unfortunately no actual sake river, just a large mural of the myth occupying the back wall, the restaurant will serve up craft cocktails such as the ChopChop Daquiri (Brugal anejo rum, lime, simple syrup, house-made floral citrus foam, and flaming absinthe on top) and the Lisboa Cocktail (Earl Grey gin (infused in-house), Lillet Blanc, rose water, and orange bitters). Tiki classics will also be available for those who prefer a mai tai or fog cutter. As for the food, the theme is "modern Asian," and the menu is divided into lunch (11am-3pm), happy hour (3pm-6pm), dinner (6pm-1:30am), and late-night (11:00pm-1:30am). Ingredients are locally sourced when possible.
Lunchtime diners can expect light dishes such as crispy surf clam tacos (fresh jicama, cilantro, baby arugula) and noodle soup (star anise consomme with crispy egg noodle, scallion, duck). The happy hour menu features snacks such as duck fat fries (with sriracha aioli), steam-fried shrimp balls, and suckling pig bao (shaved cucumber, house-made kimchi). The dinner menu offers full entrees, like the Buddhist vegetarian (tofu steak, shiitake, fresh corn, baby bok choy, dashi) and braised pork short ribs (taro mash, pea tendrils, star anise broth). The late-night menu is similar to happy hour: light snacks such as tempura-fried pickles with house-made tartar sauce, popcorn with kimchi clarified butter, and crispy calamari with Szechuan peppercorn and jalapeno.
Owners Brendan and Brian Moy aim to create an approachable, modern spin on Asian food in a way that is not found elsewhere in Chinatown, and the industrial decor mimics this effort, yielding a space that feels young and open with a sleek bar and whimsical mural. The restaurant will host frequent events, such as sake tastings and parties sponsored by liquor companies. Already on display at the bar is a Sapporo-branded longboard which will be auctioned off at a party next month. Several nights a week, DJs will be present from 10pm until closing.