It seems as though upscale sushi spot and Japanese steakhouse Roka Akor (Jackson and Montgomery) is on target for their aforementioned summer debut. Today they issue a release saying June will be the timeframe, and announcing that former Alembic bar manager Daniel Hyatt, a respected barman about town, will be taking the helm of the cocktail situation. The bar menu, like the main menu, will be robata-driven, and to accompany the food there will be an international whiskey selection, Roka Akor's signature house-infused shochu, sake, wine, and Hyatt's cocktails. The kitchen will be headed by chef Roman Petry, and to get a taste of what's to come you should peruse the menu at the Chicago location.
Chef Petry says that the food at the S.F. location will "pay homage to Japanese flavors and traditions, utilizing the fresh seasonal ingredients available in the Bay Area."
As reported earlier, Roka Akor is the North American spinoff off London-based Roka, and it will mark the second time in a year that a London-based Asian restaurant has expanded here, after the fall opening of Hakkasan. Roka Akor already has locations in Chicago and Scottsdale, Arizona.
They're moving into the space formerly occupied by Scott Howard and Zinnia at 500 Jackson Street, but in order to shed the "curse" on the space, they're switching the address and entrance over to 801 Montgomery Street.
Arcanum Architects are handling the full-scale redesign of the space, which will include a basement "speakeasy"-style lounge, and a 25-seat sidewalk patio. The basement is being dubbed Roka Bar, and features a 17-seat island bar and 68 lounge seats. A focal point will be a large block of ice at the bar, and the whiskey and shochu display.
The word "roka" means "gathering place around fire," and as such the design of the main dining room will be a central robata grill. The grill will be topped with an illuminated glass hood that changes color to reflect fire towns of amber and red, and it's surrounded by a ten-seat shou-sugi-ban counter topped with burned wood.