When did suburban complexes get so cool? Joining the dining lineup at The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch, which includes the Mediterranean-inspired Crudo, upscale bar Westroot Tavern and the incoming Breakfast Republic, is a new Japanese eatery that’s prepping to open early next week.
Starting with dinner service before expanding into lunch in a few weeks is Wokou, another offering and the first in North County from local group Social Syndicate which just launched OB Surf Lodge in Ocean Beach. Designed to be a scalable and replicable concept, the restaurant offers the combo of trendy Japanese eats served alongside a full bar program.
The counter service styled eatery, decorated in murals by local artists, spans 3,000-square-feet and includes an 800-square patio, a ramen counter along a glassed-in kitchen and a central bar. The Legal Restaurants team, led by executive chef Antonio Friscia, consulted on the cuisine and will help launch the restaurant before passing the torch to chef Kouki Shabanguh who will oversee a menu which ranges from carnitas-filled steamed buns and rice bowls to salads, noodles, and ramen varieties including vegan miso shoyu, traditional tonkotsu and a spicy version topped with carnitas. There will also be skewers of yakitori, cooked up by a chef on a grill installed between the bar and patio. Both kid and dog-friendly, Wokou is also trying to set itself apart by its drink selections; there’s a long craft beer list plus wine, sake, Asian-influenced craft cocktails and 15 kinds of Japanese whiskey.