One evening after a 90-minute dinner, I waited nearly 30 minutes after all dishes had been served (and eaten) for a dessert which my sweet, adept server kept informing us was about to arrive. Though next time I'll skip dessert under those conditions, I was pleased with shaved ice ($8), or shave ice as it's known in Hawaii, which you can order doused in Four Barrel coffee and cocoa crumbles. My top choice is in coconut cream with coconut crumble and strawberries. The ice is creamy soft, feathery... and quickly devoured.
The brothers' Korean heritage shines best in their street food-style dishes, available at the Ferry Building Farmers Market as well as during the day at Namu Gaji, ideal taken across the street to Dolores Park. Their beloved nori "tacos" ($3) and okonomiyaki ($10 lunch, $16 dinner) still delight, while BBQ belly and Korean BBQ-style marinated chicken thigh ($10) are packed into pan de mie bun layered with Swiss cheese, soy glazed onions, pickled daikon, aioli, Dijon mustard — a buttery, fatty pleasure of a sandwich. Gamja fries ($10), essentially organic fried potatoes piled with short ribs, kimchee relish, gochujang, kewpie mayo, and green onions, are the fast food of your dreams. KFC ($12) is a quarter of a Marin Sun Farms chicken tossed in sweet and tangy sauce with dashi gravy. Each of these heartwarmers not only satiate but illuminate best why the Lee brothers have become an SF staple.
499 Dolores, SF
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