The highest-profile opening since the return of dine-in service in San Diego is scheduled for Tuesday, June 23 when Lumi by Akira Back touches down in the Gaslamp. Spanning a 5,000-square-foot rooftop, the restaurant is the first activation within a new 15,000-square-foot, multimillion hospitality development at the corner of Fifth Avenue and J Street, which is being operated by RMD Group (Rustic Root, Side Bar, Volcano Rabbit) and will also house the soon-to-come Huntress steakhouse as well as additional event space.
Lumi is the first local project for acclaimed chef Akira Back, whose portfolio of eateries runs the global gamut from San Francisco to Saudi Arabia and Dallas to Dubai; his restaurant Dosa, in Seoul, Korea, was awarded a Michelin star in 2018. Born in Korea and raised in Colorado, Back trained with famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa, also known as an ambassador of Peru’s Nikkei cuisine. Named for the members of the Japanese diaspora, it brings together Peruvian ingredients and Japanese technique into now-classic dishes like tiradito, which features sashimi-sliced fish in a bright citrus sauce.
This style of Japanese-Peruvian cuisine as well as his own Korean heritage are major influences on Lumi’s menu, said Back, who told Eater that he has great confidence in the experience of Lumi chef James Jung, a longtime collaborator who also worked at Nobu Malibu and Rosaliné, chef Ricardo Zarate’s Peruvian restaurant in West Hollywood. San Diegans will also get to taste Back’s signature dish, a “pizza” topped with sashimi grade tuna that has a new addition of cured yellowtail.
Designed by Davis Ink., with an outdoor bar area constructed from large granite boulders with live greenery overhead, all of Lumi’s seats are in the open air. The restaurant and bar will be open for dinner nightly, with hours starting at noon on Saturday and Sunday and extending until 2 a.m. on weekends.