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French-Japanese Restaurant Chaya Swaps Chefs, Adds Raw Bar Downtown

A quiet reshuffling.

Chaya, Downtown
Chaya, Downtown

Chaya, the well-known French-Japanese hybrid with locations in San Francisco, Downtown, and Venice, has swapped in a new executive chef at their Flower Street location. And, as expected, with the switcheroo comes a redesigned menu — including a new raw bar.

The former lead in the kitchen, Atsushi Kenjo, has shuffled off to take over the kitchen at the vegan-leaning M Café. And with that departure comes the arrival of Joji Inoue, who has worked in-house with Chaya since 2004, and is trying to ride the recent L.A. raw bar wave to a new round of success with the business crowd in the area.

With Inoue’s swap-in comes a reformatted menu, including a Kaisen raw bar. Inoue will be giving the on-site yakitori grill plenty of work with new meat skewers, as well as serving Osaka-style sushi.

As for the raw bar, Chaya Downtown is the latest location in the company to start the experience, which often serves fish straight from the famed Tsukji Fish Market in Japan. There will also be Santa Barbara uni offered in the shell, and a wider line-up of ceviches and other raw preparations.

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