We have been going to Namu Gaji for years – since back when it was in the Richmond. The relatively new location in the Mission is in the thick of it all – right next to the ever-popular Bi-Rite Creamery. That block of 18th Street where Namu is located is probably one of the tastiest/”foodiest” blocks in the whole city and Namu Gaji with their “Korean-American” fare fits right in.
Stacie and I met up at Namu with families in tow for lunch some time back. It is perfect with kids as a lunch spot – you order at the counter and wait for the food to be served to you. It’s casual, easy and relatively “uncrowded” during the lunch hour, making it ideal for families. Our two families ordered a bunch of dishes and shared them family style.
We are huge fans of the Hawaiian loco moco and Ria was delighted that it was on the menu. Namu’s loco moco is even better than some of the versions we have had in Hawaii. The kimchi fried rice is stellar and is one of my new favorite versions of fried rice. The gamja fries (hand cut organic potato, kimchee relish, gochujang, kewpie mayo,
teriyaki, green onion, short rib) are the perfect hangover food – a Korean version of the Canadian poutine and a “must-order”. The Korean fried chicken (quarter of an marin sun farms pastured chicken tossed in a sweet & tangy sauce, spicy slaw, pickled daikon, dashi gravy) is also not to be missed and the kids enjoyed it a great deal.
They have a rather unique and appetizing kids menu (below) and next time we will order from it. Clearly they are targeting the foodie kids and trying to attract families to Namu.
mung bean sprouts, rinsed kimchee
and toasted Korean seaweed
choice of hot dog, chicken thigh or steak
Mini okonomiyaki pancake
cabbage, scallions, okonomiyaki sauce,
kewpie mayo, bonito akes
add chopped short ribs or chicken can be added
garlic ginger tsuyu dipping sauce
Side steamed vegetables
with miso dip
You are almost guaranteed post-meal whining for ice-cream (from Bi-Rite) from the little ones, and you might as well give in. You cannot really expect to take them right next to the mecca of ice-cream and then not get them any ice-cream. However, you may want to consider Namu’s shaved ice as an alternative. On the rare warm San Francisco day, the shaved ice is a delightful after-school snack. That coupled with a run around in the ever-welcoming Dolores Park, is just about the perfect play date!