Fans of Chef Ravi Kapur and his genre-defying Liholiho Yacht Club, where the chef combines his Hawaiian roots and California culinary pedigree, have a splashy new restaurant to check out. Since Friday, January 14, the Good Good Culture Club is now open for dinner and offers an electric menu inspired by cuisines from across the Asian diaspora. The restaurant has moved to the 18th Street space that once housed Dear Inga and more recently hosted Liholiho for most of 2021. It’s now been invigorated with vibrant murals, a touch of neon and dangling greenery .
But beyond being the latest project from one of San Francisco’s favorite chefs, Good Good Culture Club represents a big departure from the status quo of restaurant management, say Kapur and partner Jeff Hanak. The ownership duo say they and their management team have spent most of the last year identifying a series of fundamental values for the company, ideas that they will now implement during the debut of the Good Good Culture Club. “I would never call it an experiment because it’s much more intentional than that,” Kapur says. “But it’s kind of a departure from this top-down centralized management [where] the leader is the only leader at the top. It’s much more collaborative.
The changes go beyond the restaurant’s commitment to fair compensation, which required the abolition of tipping in favor of what the restaurant calls a “fairness tax.” The team also designed a more considered approach to hiring – they don’t accept CVs, applicants fill out a form which is reviewed by the committee – and prioritized the general welfare of staff when choosing. opening hours – which is why the restaurant is open for four modern hours five nights a week.
When it comes to food, Kapur is keen on not putting Good Good Culture Club in a box. “Liholiho was never meant to be a modern Hawaiian restaurant and it’s not a modern Asian restaurant,” he says. Although the menu references a number of Asian cuisines – with dishes like curry, Lao sausage and pandan bibingka – Kapur describes the menu as a collaborative effort between himself and co-chefs at Good Good Culture and Kevin Keovanpheng and Brett Shaw. The result is a kaleidoscope of ingredients, influences and textures. “I definitely have some comments on this menu, but it’s very collaborative and showcases the voices of our two chefs,” says Kapur. “They explore what it’s like to express what it’s like to be a heritage-driven cuisine.”
It is intended to offer a kind of Choose your own adventure dining experience, with diners mixing and matching tasty dishes to enjoy with the family. There are good good chicken wings shiny with adobo glaze, thin slices of beef carpaccio crowned with crispy pork ears and a neat pile of grilled oyster mushrooms drizzled with a chrysanthemum and soy fermented garlic dressing. . Larger plates include the familiar whole fried sole with turmeric-coconut brine, smoked prime rib in a pho glaze, and red curry available with catfish or sweet potato. There is also the option for the Ohana Menua sort of prix fixe option where, for $60 per person, the table shares an array of plates.
The two-story space more than follows the restaurant’s ambitious ethos and diverse menu. Still airy and bright, the main dining room now features an eye-catching mural of Oakland-based artist Kalani Ware and a cheeky neon sign everywhere asking the aunts and grandmothers question: “Have you eaten yet?” “Really, the idea was to try to take a space that was definitely built, very well designed for a fine dining restaurant and try to knock it down a notch and make it a little more comfortable,” says Hanak. Meanwhile, the huge, plant-filled rooftop terrace that has made Liholiho one of the hardest reservations to land during the pandemic continues to woo with turquoise cabins, fan palms and climbing vines.
But above all, Kapur says he wants to focus not only on food and design, but also on the team that makes Good Good Culture Club work. “It’s really the team of this one,” Kapur says. “Yeah, we’re owned, but day to day it feels like it’s not just Jeff and Ravi’s show.”
The Good Good Culture Club is open at 3560 18th Street, Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.