Add another property to chef Daniel del Prado's growing portfolio of restaurants.
He's just opened Sanjusan (33 N. 1st Av., Mpls., sanjusanrestaurant.com) in the North Loop, taking over the street-level home of Kado No Mise, which has moved upstairs and is now sharing the second floor with chef Shigeyuki Furukawa's Kaiseki Furukawa and Gori Gori Peku whiskey bar.
(The connection? Del Prado's business partner John Gross is also a Kado No Mise owner).
After running the kitchens at Bar La Grassa and Burch Restaurant, del Prado opened Martina (4312 Upton Av. S., Mpls., martinarestaurant.com) in 2017. His DDP Hospitality operates Colita (5400 Penn Av. S., Mpls., colitampls.com) and launched Rosalia (2811 W. 43rd St., Mpls., rosaliapizza.com) last fall and Café Cerés (3509 W. 44th St., Mpls., cafeceresmpls.com) with pastry chef Shawn McKenzie in January.
The company's Josefina is set to open soon in the former home of Bellecour (739 E. Lake St., Wazyata, josefinawayzata.com).
"I'm always thinking of the next concept, and creating the next concept," said del Prado. "That's what I want to be doing for a living."
At Sanjusan, del Prado is fusing Italian and Japanese traditions.
"I like to play, and get ideas from what's going on in my life right now," he said. "I don't know much about Japanese cuisine, but Shige is my master. I'm picking his brain and learning from his knowledge. It's exciting."
The smallish menu starts with a series of small plates ($9 to $13) that del Prado describes as "cool and adventurous."
Examples include foie gras-wood ear mushroom gyoza, fried prawns with shiso and lemon, and beef carpaccio dressed with a vinaigrette made with pickled Japanese sour plums.
There are four pastas ($14 to $18), including squid ink pappardelle with a seafood Bolognese, and cavatelli with pistachio pesto. Yakitori ($2 to $5), too, grilling and skewering the entire chicken: skin, hearts, livers, thighs and more.
Del Prado has also installed a wood-burning pizza oven in the kitchen, similar to the ones at Rosalia and Josefina.
"After Burch, I want to have a pizza oven all the time," he said. "There was no space at Martina to put in a pizza oven, and it didn't fit the concept at Colita. But we're going to have a pizza oven in every place we open. We use them to cook a lot of things, not just pizza."
There are six Neapolitan-style pizzas ($11 to $16) on the Sanjusan menu (which, by the way, has its very own font, the work of local designer Tomoyuki Aoki), with toppings combinations that range from pickled ramps-togarashi to a miso pesto with burrata and walnuts. Del Prado noted that it's not such a stretch to feature a wood-burning pizza oven in a restaurant with Japanese overtones.
"Some of the best Neapolitan pizza is in Tokyo," he said.
The restaurant opens daily at 5 p.m. (with two exceptions: it's closed on March 22 and 23) for dine-in and takeout. Peter Thillen is executive chef and Megan Luedtke is beverage director.
Del Prado says he's got more plans for the historic four-story structure.
"This building is so cool," he said. "It has all of this brick, and the light is perfect, it reminds me of the Bachelor Farmer. I'm thinking of eventually doing a bar on the upper floor. I'd like to see different concepts on different floors."
Rick Nelson • @RickNelsonStrib