Restaurant Anzu at the Hotel Nikko in Union Square


To mark the one-year countdown to the big day, the fiance and I decided to go out to a nice dinner. Okay, I decided for us.

After some searching, I settled on a the lesser known Restaurant Anzu, located in the Hotel Nikko. It has a four-star rating on Open Table and some other sites, so I figured it must be decent enough! The establishment focuses on California cuisine with an Asian flair.

I was most intrigued also by “The Rock” appetizer that they are known for. It is an “ancient Japanese stone” that is heated to 400 degrees and you take pieces of thinly sliced beef and cook them on the rock. Think Melting Pot, Japanese style! It is served with a trio of different dipping sauces- spicy Korean sauce, kizami wasabi mustard, and cilantro pesto.

For our main courses, I selected the Ahi-tuna steak and truffle-uni butter, served with a vegetable sushi roll and aioli. The tuna was grilled to perfection and I thought the tuffle uni-butter did complement it. The presentation was lovely with a pretty flower (I’m awful at knowing what kind). The sushi roll made me wish we had tried more of the sushi as an appetizer- it was delicious!

I was also supposed to select a side with my tuna steak, and I went with a guilty pleasure- the truffle mac and cheese. Not the best I’ve ever tasted, the sauce wasn’t the right consistency- too soupy, and you couldn’t taste the truffle.

The ambiance of Anzu was…well, it would have been intimate had they not had the Thunder Down Under male strip show going on downstairs hahaha. The fiance thought I was taking him there initially and thought it was a big joke. Our dinner was peppered with big booms and the occasional song “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy” being the most memorable. We laughed because that’s just us, but definitely check to make sure they’re not having any shows if you’re really trying to set the mood!

Our waiter was fantastic though- Grafton was his name and he was very attentive without hovering. He made excellent recommendations and joked with us about the show downstairs.

We finished the meal off with the Smore’s dessert: Hazelnut Chocolate Tart, Marshmallow, Honey Graham Cracker. Good, but rich and not very memorable, but then again I’m not that much of a dessert person.

Overall, I would recommend this place for a nice meal or a date where you want to be able to have a nice intimate conversation (barring a show downstairs). It’s less crowded than your typical SF restaurant, and easy to get last-minute reservations compared to the other hyped places. That is one thing that has taken me a while to adjust to- having to make reservations weeks if not months in advance for the popular places around here. That only happened so often at the major places in DC, and more often than not you could sneak in, even on a weekend.

Recommended for: Date nights, nice meals, unique cuisine, adventurous foodies

Pros: Service was great (4 out of 5 stars), food tasty and on par with the price, unique selections (The Rock, sushi, etc.), and the steak options are a good bang for your buck with the sides and sauces; food also was very fresh and the restaurant focuses on sustainable cuisine (as does every other restaurant in SF)

Cons: Ambiance was slightly ruined by the Thunder Down Under show; it’s hard to find as it is located inside the Hotel Nikko and does not have a separate street entrance (have to go into the lobby and upstairs)