Celebrated chef-restaurateur Kyle Itani, who helms both Itani Ramen and Hopscotch Restaurant & Bar in Uptown Oakland, has just launched a brand-new project: a takeout sushi spot.
Operating out of Itani Ramen and serving its fare via pickup and delivery, Nikkei Sushi will be open Wednesday through Sunday, 2 p.m. – 8 p.m. during its soft opening with hours extending in the future.
Itani, whom the San Francisco Chronicle named a Rising Star Chef in 2013, began planning last year to open Nikkei Sushi in an Uptown location, but given the Covid-19 situation decided to operate the concept instead through Itani Ramen, which is located across from the Fox Theater.
“Seeing the private dining room at Itani Ramen empty for over a month now had me thinking about how we could adapt to better serve our community and our staff,” said Itani, whose résumé includes winning an episode of the cooking reality show Knife Fight in 2014.
“Now more than ever, we are forced to be innovative and nimble because there is no road map for how to survive these circumstances. By creating Nikkei under the same roof as Itani Ramen, we are quickly able to create jobs and additional revenue to cover our rent and utilities,” Itani said.
He has loved working with sushi ever since his early days as a young chef at Yoshi’s Oakland under chef Sho Kamio — who sent Itani to apprentice in Japan, then tapped him to oversee the extensive sushi kitchen at Yoshi’s flagship San Francisco location.
Comprising classic and specialty rolls along with sashimi and nigiri and more, Nikkei Sushi’s menu was designed specifically with affordability and delivery in mind.
“Everyone is struggling right now, so we are doing our best to keep the price point down so more people can enjoy sushi delivered safely to their doorstep, but also maintain the high standards of foods we have built our reputation upon,” Itani explained.
Diners can also add to their orders Itani Ramen starters such as gyoza or edamame — and even carry-out cocktails, sake, and Japanese whiskey.
Nikkei is a Japanese word denoting someone of Japanese ancestry not living in Japan. As a fourth-generation Japanese American, Itani is proud to launch another new project celebrating his roots.
Takeout orders can be placed by calling 510-788-7489. Delivery orders can be made through the Itani Ramen Caviar page (with other platforms forthcoming).
“Many of my colleagues and friends who own sushi restaurants have been forced to close,” Itani said.
“So I am planning to offer some of their team members’ temporary work as well.”