The first thing to know about Namikaze is that it can be a bit hard to find.
It’s on Champlain and Perrin in north Fresno in the same center as Five Restaurant and Sequoia Brewing Company, but you can’t exactly see it from the street. If you’re on Champlain Drive, there’s an entrance between the two restaurants.
“We’re in the back,” says Sayuri Edwards, who opened the restaurant three weeks ago and made sure there was a helpful map posted on all of Namikaze’s social media.
The restaurant has its official grand opening on Friday, with an all-day happy hour featuring drink and appetizer specials. For instance, $7 Namikaze Nachos (wanton chips with tuna, jalapeno and salsa) and $5 draft beer and drinks.
The restaurant is heavy on local craft brews, Edwards says.
They also have “chu-hai” a popular flavored mixed drink made with a Japanese liquor that’s similar to vodka.
Namikaze does fresh, contemporary Japanese cuisine, which is to say the stuff you’d expect from a sushi or ramen place (miso ramen, sukiyaki beef, tempura rolls) but also braised pork belly and Uni pasta, and odd-ball entrees like Miso Cioppino.
That one has crab legs, mussles, calamari, shrimp and scallops in a tomato miso broth and has been pretty popular, even in the summer heat. The restaurant also has an array of gluten-free and vegetarian options for those looking for something more substantial than a California roll.
And yes, they do have poke bowls.
“Those are like a trend right now,” Edwards says.
Namikaze (which shares its name with an anime character) is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.