With its sleek design and hot concept, Roka Akor is a delicious addition to the San Francisco food scene. The restaurant artfully blends Japanese traditions and flavors with Northern California’s abundance from local farmers and artisans. Its Jackson Square location also boasts craft cocktails in Roka Bar on the lower level.
Throughout the open dining area upstairs and the more club-like lounge, repurposed wood dominates the décor. But it’s the wood’s imperfections that are the stars. They add character to the striking bar (created from dark Claro walnut from Petaluma) and the community dining table (from Sonoma County poplar) and let the natural beauty of the wood take center stage. At the restaurant’s entrance, a bridge built from solid Monterey cypress beams covers the opening over the downstairs bar.
Roka Akor takes its name from two Japanese words “ro” and “ka.” The first, for hearth, is a social place for people to gather and the latter represents warmth or fire. The open charcoal robata draws people in and provides focus whether you are eating at a table or the sushi bar.
The menu represents a modern approach to Japanese fare. Each item is meticulously prepared and plated. The succulent Mendocino uni (with a grilled lime to squeeze on top) is served with daikon sprouts and chicharrones. The robata grilled scallops are sweet and tender and kicked up with yuzu and wasabi. The wine list is international, but sake pairs perfectly – try the Mizubasho Water Lilly sake with the appetizers.
Favorites from the Robata grill include the Snake River Farms wagyu sirloin with decadent bone marrow topped with tempura flakes and sweet garlic soy. The juicy Madagascan tiger prawn is served in its shell with yuzu koshu chili and lemon. The distinctive flavors in the steak and seafood dishes go well with the bold taste of the Minato Nama Gensu Yamahai Bad Boy sake.
Be sure to save room for dessert! Indulge in the warm Valhrona chocolate cake with Straus milk ice cream and Chai tea anglaise. You’ll melt as you finish with the Meyer Family Port.
Visit Roka Bar (on the lower level) before or after a meal, or stay right there and feed your cravings with something from the bar menu. With oversized chairs and back lighting it’s an intimate place to hang out. The abstract wall sculpture is a remarkable piece of bamboo reminiscent of San Francisco’s endless hills. Jars of shochu, infusing with ingredients like chilis, mangos and huckleberries, line one wall.
Roka Akor is a fashionable spot for a fresh take on steak, seafood and sushi. The restaurant feeds your senses.