San Francisco Alphabet Dining, Letter N: Nombe
For letter N of our Alphabet Dining, Rebecca and I ventured over to Nombe in the heart of the Mission. Nombe is a Japanese Fusion restaurant, known for it's unique menu.
We started with Bacon-Wrapped Mochi. I like bacon, and I like mochi, but this dish just didn't quite cut it for me. The mochi was deep fried before wrapped in bacon, resulting in too much fried food and not enough mochi flavor or consistency. I prefer the bacon mochi at Izakaya Sozai, since they do not fry their mochi. Instead, they serve regular mochi wrapped in bacon.
The fried popcorn-like dish at Nombe was far too chewy and bland for our taste.
Bacon-Wrapped Peach Salad
I enjoyed our second dish much more than the first. The Bacon-Wrapped Peach Salad was interesting because the peaches themselves seemed to be grilled along with the bacon. This made for a different, tougher consistency than you are used to with peaches. These peaches combined with the greens gave a healthy, refreshing flavor, while the crispy bacon provided a crunch and added some protein to the dish.
And now, for the Shoyu Ramen Burger! In place of buns, this burger offers fried ramen noodles to sandwich it's main ingredients: 50% Wagyu, 50% Nombe Pork Belly Patty, Mizuna, Tomato, Sushi Vinegar Onions, Shio-koji Japanese Cucumber Pickles, and Bacon.
The Ramen Burger was an innovative and tasty dish. The beef and pork belly patty overpowered any taste of the ramen itself may have had. I'm a huge pickle fan, so I enjoyed the tart, pickled cucumber flavor. The only thing I would change would be the size of the burger (they were very tiny), as well as the stability of the ramen bun (it fell apart as you ate the burger).
The atmosphere of Nombe is relaxed and casual, and we had a few different waiters who made sure we were taken care of.
The only downside I saw was that a lot of their menu twists seem to be centered around deep frying and/or bacon. While this can be a unique fusion to classic Japanese dishes such as mochi, it does not need to take over the entire menu.
That said, I always appreciate a restaurant who takes a risk with unique menu twists. Nombe's Ramen Burger is delicious and different, with Japanese pickled cucumber flavors and fried ramen for buns. I would come for this burger but skip the bacon mochi.