Oyaji Restaurant Circa 2005


 

This was the official website for the Oyaji Japanese restaurant in San Francisco, created by Hideki Makiyama, former owner of Saji Japanese restaurant in the Marina, Ca.
The site was never fully finished. Content is from the site's archived pages as well as from other outside sources.

The restaurant, now under new management, is still open at the same location with the name, New Oyaji Restaurant.

The recent Yelp reviews from 2015 -2018 are mostly positive, although some of the long time customers are not as pleased with the new owners. There are no Yelp reviews available from 2007, although a 2007 review of the restaurant when it was run by the original owner, Hideki Makiyama, is shown below along with the original 2007 menus.

3123 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121

hours
tue-thu: 5:30pm - 10:30pm
fri-sat: 5:30pm - 12:00am
sun: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
mon: closed

 



 

 

The Reign of Hideki at Oyaji Comes to an End; New Owner Taking Over the Business

The Chatterbox July 01, 2014

Some big changes at Outer Richmond’s izakaya mainstay, ~OYAJI~, namely that chef-owner and top dog boozer Hideki Makiyama has sold the restaurant after something like 11 years of holding it down and is said to be returning to Japan. He is reportedly going to try to open something in Japan, but it sounds like he could potentially open a smaller place here (with no sushi) if that plan doesn’t work out. His last day was Sunday June 15th.

The new owner, Masa Kumagai, worked for Hideki around eight years ago. Right now the restaurant is closed for a couple of weeks while the license transfers and inspections are under way. There is an interim team in place until the new owner returns from Osaka in the end of July (and it sounds like there won’t be any beer or sake to drink until Masa gets back because the ABC needs his fingerprints). They will be changing the menu since many of the dishes were from Hideki’s special recipes; expect it to include more nigiri and maki.

Hideki, thanks for always bringing the party, and I know some of us (but I’d wager probably not all of us) will miss your boob and testicle joke

 

 



Oyaji REVIEW

Oct 9, 2007 | tablehopper.com

With the rampant izakaya or izakaya-inspired openings in SF (Nihon, Umami, Hime, Sozai, and the soon-to-open O), it's time to pay homage to one of the originals, ~OYAJI~, tucked away on a foggy stretch of Clement out in the Richmond. The style of dining is Japanese tavern-style, a place where you get together with friends, eat small plates of home-style food while drinking (often too much) from shared bottles of sake, soju, and Sapporo. This place is one of my favorites to get a good-sized group together, like eight friends or so, who like to do damage with you. A cab is a wise idea, and since Oyaji is almost out in BFE, you might want to share the fare, because tonight, my friend, the odds are good that you are getting tipsy.

But no matter how wasted you get, it's hard to top the BAC of the owner, Hideki, AKA the (usually) rather drunk owner who will make comments about your breasts, your date's balls, or any number of inappropriate topics, all the while drinking your sake (hey, you offered it to him! Wait, or did you? Anyway.) It's not like you weren't warned: the name of the place is oyaji, which I was told means "dirty old man."

Personally, I found the whole thing hilarious the first few times, but the bottom line is the guy has a serious drinking problem, and the "Oyaji Show" (whose rating can veer from PG-13 to NC-17 later in the evening) can be a little much, if not a bit saddening when you step back and think about it. Anyway, don't bring mom or any prudish friends who get offended easily.

Last time I was here we had a group of eight or so sassy ladies (and our token homo). One of the ladies was designated to keep a close eye on Hideki, alerting us when he was "out of the box" and roaming around. He must have vibed our iron curtain, because Hideki actually let us be. Nary a boobie joke. He even sported us with a bottle of soju--he can be quite generous that way.

When I come here, I actually don't even consider the sushi--I'm too fired up to try all the other dishes calling me on the menu, from the tame (kani cream korokke: deep-fried crab croquettes with béchamel, onion and egg/$7) to the exotic (kurage su: jellyfish in a tangy vinegar dressing/$4) to the super funky/totally wrong (ika natto: raw squid with sticky, fermented soy beans/$6--I have no plans to repeat this one). It's the kind of place you can afford to experiment with the outré, because odds are it will only put you back $4-$7 if you don't like something.

Many tables opt for the Oyaji beef ($10), a saucy version of Japanese fajitas, served with onions and bubbling away on a sizzling platter. There are also at least ten different grilled skewers ("kushiyaki") you can order, from chicken thighs to pork tongue to duck to veggies ($3.50-$7.50)--extra delish with a hit of the spicy chili miso paste.

One trick when ordering here is to just order a little bit at a time, otherwise everything happens really fast, even if you ask them to take it slow--kind of like a 20-year-old boy. Just know when it's time to order some more dishes, you practically need to fire off a flare to get the somewhat overwhelmed servers' attention. This is why you should always have at least one bottle of something to drink in front of you--consider it self-entertainment. 

Some pals who lived in Japan invited me along for dinner here one night; they taught me about ordering a bottle of soju, and then you ask for ice, water, and lemon wedges--you fill up each glass with ice and soju, with a splash of water to your taste, and a spritz of lemon. Fab.

Hmmm, I need more to eat. Hello, buta no kakuni (steamed pork belly/$7.50) with spicy mustard, and let's try some yaki onigiri (rice balls with salmon and bonito/$3.50), which we didn't love so much. Much better was the gindara kasuzuke (grilled codfish in sake lees/$10), or the ankake dofu (deep-fried tofu with thick ankake sauce/$5.50). Actually, vegetarians can have some fun here, from burdock a couple ways to mushrooms to at least five different deep-fried numbers.

Here's the shocking thing: if you have a large enough group, you totally feast, and still walk out of there spending $40 or less. I don't know how it happened last time, but it did. Magic. I think it's the sushi that can jack things up quick. Speaking of the bill, you'll want to give it a once-over, no matter bow bleary you are: every time I've been here something is wrong, either being overcharged or even undercharged (yes, we told them they forgot to charge us for our second bottle of soju--mama raised us right).

So, let's recap: go in a group (make reservations in advance or you'll never get a table), take a cab, be adventurous, and keep a watchful eye on the drunk guy, or he might slip a live freshwater crab down your friend's shirt (true story). 
* Follow-up from a star tablehopper reader: "Oyaji does not exactly mean "dirty old man". It means "father" in a more informal sense, but in some cases they are one in the same, so your sources were partially right.

Speaking of Oyaji, the next time you go, ask if they have grilled hamachi cheeks available. It's not on the menu, but sometimes it pops up as a special. It's fabulously rich and you get so determined to pick off every bit off the bones.

MENU

     
Nigiri Sushi
2 pieces
Maguro Tuna  
Hamachi Yellow Tail  
Sake Salmon  
Ebi Shrimp  
Unagi Eel  
Hirame Halibut  
Ika Squid  
Tako Octopus  
Anago Sea Eel  
Ikura Salmon Roe  
Tobiko Flying Fish Row  
Tai Red Snapper  
Kani Crab  
Tamago Egg  
Uni Sea Urchin  
Mirugai Giant Clam  
Shiro Maguro Albacore  
Toro Fatty Tuna  
Saba Mackerel  
Amaebi Sweet Shrimp  
Hotate Scallop  
Roll Sushi
6 pieces cut roll or 1 hand roll
Tekka Tuna  
California Crab, Avocado, Fish Egg  
New York Shrimp, Avocado, Fish Egg  
Alaska Salmon, Avocado, Fish Egg  
Florida Tuna, Avodaco, Fish Egg  
Rock'N Eel, Avocado, Fish Egg, Eel Sauce  
Sophia Eel, Shrimp, Avocado, Sesame, Eel Sauce  
Oyaji Eel, Crab, Avocado, Fish Egg, Eel Sauce  
Rainbow Eel, Tuna, Yellow Tail, Salmon, Halibut, Avodaco  
Hawaii Spicy Tuna, Sesame  
Rusty Spicy Tuna, Yellow Tail, Cucumber, Fish Egg  
Monika Spicy Tuna, Green Onion, Cucumber, Fish Egg  
Negihama Yellow Tail, Green Onion, Sesame  
Spicy Hamachi Spicy Yellow Tail, Sesame  
Crunchy Wedding Spicy Yellow Tail, Avocado, Tempura Batter, Sesame (5 pieces)  
Tempura Shrimp Tempura, Shiso Leaf, Sesame  
Gina & Tina Shrimp Tempura, Eel, Avocado, Fish Egg  
Salmon Skin Grilled Salmon Skin, Green Onion, Sesame  
Mark Special Salmon, Avocado, Green Onion, Fish Egg  
Spider Soft Shell Crab, Shiso Leaf (4 pieces)  
12 Under Soft Shell Crab, Avocado, Green Onion, Fish Egg (4 pieces)  
Vegetable Roll
6 pieces
Kappa Cucumber  
Avocado Avocado  
Kanpyou Cooked Gourd  
Yanagobou Pickled Burdock  
Tofu Fried Tofu, Shiso Leaf  
Stamina Mountain Potato, Plum Paste, Shiso Leaf  
Oshinko Pickled Radish, Shiso Leaf  
Ume Shiso Plum Paste, Shiso Leaf  
Eggplant Grilled Eggplant, Tempura Batter, Eel Sauce  
Asparagus Asparagus Tempura  
Vegetable Tempura 4 Kinds of Vegetable Tempura, Eel Sauce  
Sushi Combination
 
A: 5 Pieces Tuna, Yellow Tail, Shrimp, Salmon, Eel  
B: 7 Pieces A + Halibut, Octopus  
C: 13 Pieces B + Tekka Roll  
D: 19 Pieces C + California Roll  
Sashimi
 
Assorted Chef's Choice  
Maguro Tuna  
Hamachi Yellow Tail  
Sake Salmon  
Shiro Maguro Albacore  
Hirame Usu-Zukuri Thin sliced halibut w/ ponzu sauce  
Mirugai Giant Clam  
Special Roll
 
Philadelphia Salmon, Avocado, Cream Cheese, Fish Egg  
Spicy Salmon Spice Salmon, Green Onion, Sesame  
Mongo Yellow Tuna, Salmon, Cuttlefish, Fish Egg  
Dave Deep Fried: Salmon, Shiso Leaf, Shrimp, Halibut, Fish Egg  
Shane Come Back Albacore Roll Tempura, Dip with Wasabi mayonnaise  
Julie-cyan Crab, Tuna, Eel, Avocado, Green Onion, Garlic, Sesame (5 pieces)  
B.K. Eel, Salmon Skin, Cucumber, Fish Egg  
Jenna Shrimp Tempura, Crab, Avocado, Fish Egg  
Stirling Shrimp Tempura, Crab, Avocado, Spicy Mayo, Fish Egg, Sesame  
Arif Shrimp Tempura, Albacore, Avocado, Fish Egg  
Spicy Scallop Hand Roll Scallop, Spicy Mayonnaise, Fish Egg  
Sparky Yellow Tail, Crab, Shrimp, Cucumber, Fish Egg  
Mon Dai Nai Halibut, Green Onion, Sesame  
Christy Grilled Albacore, Sesame  
PG & E Halibut Tempura, Avocado, Sesame, Eel Sauce  
Pain In The ... Eel, Avocado, Cucumber, Wrapped w/ Albacore, Topped w/ Green Onion, Garlic w/ PonzuSauce  
 
 

 

 

 

 

Oyaji Ramen
Japanese style noodles in homemade Tonkotsu soup (pork bone stock)
Oyaji Toppings: Sliced cha-shu (roast port slice), egg, bamboo shoots, corn, wakame seaweed and green onions
Ramen Japanese style noodle soup topped with Oyaji toppings  
Cha Shu-men Japanese style noodle soup topped with Oyaji toppings plus additional cha-shu  
Salads
Served with Oyaji salad dressing
Chicken Salad Mixed green topped with grilled chicken  
Seafood Salad Mixed green topped with chef's choice of sashimi  
Something for Vegetarians
 
Agedashi Dofu Deep-fried tofu served with tempura sauce  
Agedashi Nasu Deep-fried egg plant with tempura sauce  
Ankake Dofu Deep-fried tofu topped with vegetable Ankake sauce  
Hiryu-Zu Deep-fried tofu & vegetable dumplings served in tempura sauce  
Yasai no nimono Root vegetables simmered in soup stock  
Vegetable Appetizers
Tasty appetizers with your favorite drinks
Edamame Boiled soybeans in pods  
Goma-Ae Boiled spinach with sesame sauce  
Hijiki no itamemono Sauteed seaweed  
Hiyashi Tomato Chilled sliced tomato with mayonnaise dressing  
Kinokono agebitashi Deep-fried mushrooms marinated in special sauce  
Kinpira Gobo Braised burdock  
Moro-Kyu Japanese cucumber served with miso paste  
Sunomono Japanese cucumber in vinegar dressing  
Tataki Gobo Boiled burdock with sesame sauce  
Wakame Salad Seaweed in vinegar dressing  
Dessert
 
Green Tea Ice Cream    
Vanilla Ice Cream    
Apple Sherbet    
Melon Sherbet    
Peach Sherbet    
Strawberry Sherbet    
Side Order
 
Rice    
Miso Soup    
Oshinko Pickles

 



Yelp REVIEWS

 

Mike L.
San Francisco, CA
4.0 star rating 5/7/2017
You know, considering how little has changed about this place, it's a shame that the owners couldn't keep all of the reviews that the original Oyaji had accumulated over the years.  I get that with new ownership generally comes a new name, which then comes with a new Yelp page, but dang...everything is the same!  Which is actually a great thing, because it would've been pretty dumb to take over something great and mess it up!

Now, when I say that not much has changed about the restaurant, I really mean it.  The look, the layout, the friendly service...all of it felt oh so familiar.  If anything, it seems like the menu might be a little longer (there seems to be more sushi than I remember), but otherwise, it's largely the same, filled with the same izakaya favorites/staples - skewers, takoyaki, onigiri, ankimo, and ramen (no bento boxes).  So glad my friend was down to share!

-- ANKIMO - Steamed Monkfish Liver in Ponzu Sauce...$8.50
It was definitely a bummer to see just four chunks on the plate, but this was delicious!  Though they were particularly large, I liked how the chunks of ankimo were sliced rather thick.
What's more, the ponzu sauce was great for cutting through the richness of the liver.  Yum!

-- GESO KUSHI YAKI - Skewered Grilled Squid Legs...$5
The one major flaw of our meal.  It looked decent on the plate, but every piece I had was rather chewy.  What's more, they didn't have a lot of flavor to them; I liked the bit of char they had, but other than that, the squid were super light on seasoning.

-- GYU TAN KUSHI YAKI - Skewered Grilled Beef Tongue...$8.50
Pretty good, though I'm not huge on beef tongue (because it's pricier than regular cuts of beef yet it doesn't taste all that different, not because it's tongue).  Much like the squid, the skewers were charred nicely (and fairly tender).  Unlike the squid though, these were flavorful and well seasoned.

-- TEBA SHIO - Grilled Chicken Wings with Salt...$7
The portion isn't great for the money, but these sure were tasty!  I loved how juicy the wings were and how the meat had a slight sweetness to it.  The one knock on this was that one of the wings was pretty salty, but the rest were fine.

-- TAKOYAKI - Fried Wheat Cakes with Octopus...$7.50
More good than bad, but not all that impressive.  There was a decent amount of octopus in each ball, and I liked how there wasn't a ton of sauce, but the batter didn't do it for me.  The consistency of it was fine, but it tasted a little off (almost like it was burnt, possibly from old oil in the fryer?).

-- HOTATE NIGIRI - Fresh Scallops...$10
Although it wasn't the best hotate nigiri I've ever had, the cut was certainly one of the largest.  Quite literally, the slices of scallop were spilling over the sides of the rice.  Can't argue with how meaty they were, as well as how fresh and sweet they tasted.

-- RAINBOW ROLL - California Roll topped with Chef's Choice of Fish and Fish Eggs...$14
While the cuts of fish were both awkward and inconsistent (some fish were cut thicker than others), the roll as a whole wasn't bad.  The fish was pretty fresh and the rice wasn't gummy nor heavy on the vinegar.  Plus, the roll was stuffed with a lot of avocado, which never hurts!

While I didn't get a chance to try all of the things I've had before, I imagine they're probably just as good, given how nearly everything we had was rock solid (my friends seemed to enjoy their food).  All in all, I'm so glad that (New) Oyaji still remains the neighborhood gem that it's been.  Plus, there's not much else in the area and they stay open late!

+++

Alaina U.
San Francisco, CA
5.0 star rating 2/10/2018
I live a block away from this place and I LOVE IT. An absolute neighborhood gem. Amazing food (sushi is the best I've had in SF--seriously, and I've been to all the "best" places that are $25/roll--and you can watch the chef make it), super quiet on the weekdays, can easily get in during the weekends without a reservation, great, cold beer on tap, very reasonable prices (under $30/person for two rolls, a beer, and tip), and very friendly staff.

When I was there last, there were a number of tables of Japanese families and many of the staff were Japanese, including the sushi chef (to the person "complaining" that "this place now appears to be owned and run by Koreans or Chinese"...the owner is Japanese tablehopper.com/chatterb…).

What more could you want in a sushi restaurant?

+++

Acura Nsx T.
San Francisco, CA
2.0 star rating 1/19/2018
Guess I should have search Yelp sooner before heading over.  This place now appears to be owned and run by Koreans or Chinese. 

This is an Izakaya food and bar serving Horderves plates of small portions to supplement Sake or other alcoholic drinks.  Portions were extremely small but that's what Izakaya restaurant is.  The four of us were the only people there but service was extremely slow.  One of our orders, Tempura udon was served 30 minutes after we ordered.  Also, our scallops on one of our orders was extremely chewy.

This not your traditional Japanese restaurant that serve full dinners.

This is definitely not what it used to be when it was owned by japanese sushi master.    We spent $149 on just the food and we were all hungry again within the hour.

+++

Wendy h.
San Francisco, CA
2.0 star rating 11/3/2017
This was one of our favorite Izakayas for years.  You could reliably walk in and find the place full of Japanese nationals, who know their Izakaya food.  I took a group of friends to the new Oyaji after Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and I will sadly never return.  It's now run by non-Japanese (Chinese?) cooks.  The waitress didn't even know the names of the food.  The food was uniformly bad and not at all authentic. 

The former sushi chef at Oyaji was known for never allowing his underling to make nigiri himself (shades of Jiro.)  I doubt that the new Itamae has ever even been to a training with a real sushi chef.  If you know real Japanese food, don't go to the new Oyaji.  You will be sorely disappointed.

 



 

TripAdvisor REVIEWS

J G
San Francisco, California
Reviewed February 16, 2018
Ice quiet Japanese. But watch the bill v
We have been here often and have always enjoyed the excellent Japanese food and friendly service at reasonable prices. Last night I noticed something that I think may be new. They added about 4% for using a credit card. Technically, it was presented as there...More

+++

CathyMAustin
Austin, Texas
Reviewed July 13, 2017
Great bento boxes
Walked here from the Legion of Honor museum. Delicious miso and excellent tempura and katsu. My companion had sashimi and said it was super fresh. Even the salad in the bento seemed like it was freshly picked.

+++

WhereisMyHammock
SF, CA
Reviewed June 2, 2017
Delicious Flavors!
We discovered Oyaji a year ago and it immediately became our favorite Japanese spot. I crave the flavors of the grilled onigiri. Grilled, not fried! Crispy edges, moist rice inside, with soy and salmon. Something so simple, yet beautifully done. The menu is small plates...More

+++

PaulJR49
San Francisco, California
Reviewed April 30, 2017
Wonderful, casual, happy eating ...
I have loved Japanese food for 40 years and try it almost wherever I go. I San Francisco, Ebisu has been a favorite since it opened. Ojaji is a different experience. It is more quiet, more relaxed (not as busy) but very, very good. I...More

+++

Oliver F
Reviewed July 27, 2015 via mobile
Surprising lunch
We where on our way to Lands End by bike when we stopped at Oyaji for lunch with the kids. We did not expect too much but the food and friendliness of the staff was great. We had the Bento box which was very good...More

+++

TheBlum
Novato, California
Reviewed July 26, 2015
Boy Was I Surprised
I was meeting friends for drinks next door at the Tee Off Bar. I got there half an hour early so I figured I'd give this place a try. I was very surprised and I know sushi. The Ama Ebi was to perfection. The shari...More

+++

mysterydungeoner
Reviewed January 13, 2015 via mobile
Very good!
I went there for a good dinner and was not disappointed. The food was very good, the service was lightning fast, and all with a nice atmosphere with a little J-pop in the background.

+++

ToraOlfe
Reviewed June 4, 2013 via mobile
Classic Izakaya
I'm not a big fan of sushi. I like it but I am tired of all of the "Japanese" restaurants that only serve sushi. Most Japanese don't eat it that frequently. That's why I love Oyaji! It has a wide variety of authentic Japanese food...More

+++

Reviewed December 17, 2009
Went here with my girlfriend, we had some great tasty Japanese food. A reminder: the place is kinda small and I...
Went here with my girlfriend, we had some great tasty Japanese food. A reminder: the place is kinda small and I recommend you make a booking!

+++

Fernanda M
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Reviewed July 4, 2009
Best Japanese experience we ever had
My husband and I had dinner at Oyaji last night with 4 other friends. It was amazing! You know you are in to a good experience when you have been recomended by people from the Japanese Consulate! The owner was there and was super firendly. We did not experience any delay in the service. We made reservations and were seated right away. Not just an amazing fish but a well rounded Japanese experience! Although I have to agree with one of the reviewrs above the there are certain things just not meant to ocidental palates! Stay away semething called NATO. All the rest was spetactular. We will definetely be back and will recomend to our friends!


OyajiRestaurant.com