Oysters are as San Francisco as sourdough, as the city's proliferance of $1 oyster happy hours can attest. Now you can get your fix at Ichi Sushi's new happy hour -- specifically, at Ni Bar in the back of the recently expanded spot, where there are all sorts of deals to be had from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
When I talked to owners Erin and Tim Archuleta about the new space, they both emphasized how much they wanted Ni Bar to serve the neighborhood as much as be a spillover spot for people to wait for a table. Ichi's exquisite omakase is worth the money, but it's an investment of both time and money. The idea was to make a more casual space to explore the menu beyond sushi, or just hang out and watch the game.
Here's the new happy hour menu:
$1 Oyster Specials Daily
$6 Yuzu Chicken Wings
$6 Kama Shioyaki
$6 Pork Tonkatsu Minchi
$4 Shishito Peppers
$6 Happy Hour Wine
$4 Sapporo on Tap
Specialty Sake changing daily
It's worth noting that the Archuletas still have their original, smaller space down the street -- and plan to eventually turn it into an oyster bar.
Across town at the Ferry Building, Hog Island Oyster Co. has reopened after an expansion into the space next door, formerly Ferry Plaza Seafood. The new space is a looker, with a central U-shaped oyster bar looking out over the bay and Bay Bridge, 65 tables inside and 65 out on the patio, a cocktail bar, a chef's counter, and a nifty ceiling sculpture of wood and rope meant to symbolize the company's original boat, Spatz.
The menu, too, has expanded. Along with former favorites like the lengthy raw bar selection, the clam chowder, grilled oysters, and bowls of steamers, the menu now offers small plates like crispy smelt; grilled squid with fingerlings, fiddleheads, and squid ink vinaigrette; and cola-braised pork with Rancho Gordo black beans, as well as a steak frites entree. Check out the sample menu on the company's spiffy new website.
Considering that my biggest criticism of Hog Island's Ferry Building restaurant when I reviewed it back in 2012 was that it didn't have a lot to offer those who didn't want to eat oysters -- as is the case sometimes when you've got a mixed group in town and want to eat somewhere near the water -- this is a big improvement. Though I will miss that creamy, stupidly good oyster stew.
And yes, there is a happy hour here too, at least two days a week: Monday and Thursday, 5-6 p.m, with half-price oysters on the half shell and beer/wine specials.