Stick Figures

Meat on Sticks, Lager Diabla and Sake Ice Cream

None 3 Photos Nojo
Forks and knives can be a bit cumbersome.

Of course, digging into food with bare hands comes off as heathenish.

Walking that fine line... sticks.

Introducing Nojo, a nimble sushi-free Japanese eatery devoted to the kind of pub fare and meat on skewers you’d find in restaurants across the Pacific, opening next week in Hayes Valley.

This is the sort of industrial, floor-to-ceiling-windowed and concrete-walled retreat you’d swing into spontaneously for beer, sake and skewers, according to the izakaya custom (think of it as the Japanese version of an Irish pub). So the fact that they’re giving a portion of their proceeds to Japan is a bonus—not to mention a good reason for a few extra rounds.

If you understand Japanese, you’ll know the name actually means “farm” (because everything minus the sake and soy sauce comes from local farmers and producers), but the vibe—down to the anime artwork—would never give that away.

The counter is your best bet for a quick stop of Lager Diabla and skewers of Pork Belly Kushiyaki. Or, if you’re planning a longer stay, slide into one of the two-seater booths by the window where you can pay ample attention to the non-sticks side of the menu like Beef Cheek Pot Roast as well as the pro-sticks side.

And you’ll want to save room for the Nojo Sundae, made with Humphry Slocombe’s sake ice cream.

Fair warning: it’s not on a stick.

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