Namu Gaji

Wonwoo Lee

Namu Gaji

By Marcia Gagliardi

The Lee brothers’ New Korean–American restaurant is all-too-perfectly located on the Gourmet Ghetto strip of 18th Street in the Mission, serving their crowd-pleasing hybrid of Korean dishes with top-notch ingredients—many sourced directly from their own farm. The menu is creative and varied, from street food mash-ups like Korean tacos in nori with poutine-like gamja fries, to homey dishes like okonomiyaki and bibimbap in a stone pot.

The new lunchtime sliders are big on flavor; choose thick slices of meaty pork belly and spicy slaw, or messier options like bulgogi with soy-glazed onions. Vegetarians can have a rich slider of sweet potato noodles with Kewpie mayo and hon shimeji and enoki mushrooms. Fortunately, the house-pickled items—from daikon to kimchee—keep things from getting too heavy. The place gets packed at dinner, while lunch has a more leisurely vibe, with sun streaming through the open windows, and Dolores Park just kitty corner.

the crowd

It’s definitely a Mission mishmash, from young couples having a lunch date, to solo diners eating a dosirak lunchbox at the counter, to busy worker types (or those bound for Dolores Park) grabbing a bite to go.

... on the side

on the stereo
From classic hip-hop like A Tribe Called Quest to new-school Kendrick Lamar to The Karate Kid soundtrack, brother David (who is a DJ) is often behind the choice tunes.

eye for design
The first thing you’ll notice is the long communal table of reclaimed bay laurel that runs down the center of the room which seats 12, while overhead is a large redwood branch stained black (gaji means “branch”—so now you know).

decibels
Medium

hours

lunch: Weds–Sun 11:30 AM–4 PM
dinner: Tue–Thu, Sun 5 PM–10 PM; Fri–Sat 5 PM–11 PM
happy hour: Tues-Sun 5 PM-6:30 PM

price range

$10 (BBQ belly chicken sando) to $16 (stone pot)
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