A Michelin-starred chef with acclaimed eateries across the globe is adding San Diego to his growing restaurant empire. Lumi by Akira Back will be part of RMD Group’s 15,000-square-foot restaurant project at the corner of Fifth Avenue and J Street. Known for his Asian cuisine, Back is bringing a modern Japanese menu to the 5,000-square-foot rooftop space in a partnership with the local hospitality group. Formerly the Grand Pacific Hotel, the multi-level building will be anchored by Huntress, the group’s previously- announced 7,000-square-foot luxury steakhouse and Japanese whisky bar.
Born in Korea and raised in Aspen, Colorado, Akira Back was a professional snowboarder before embarking on a culinary career, cooking throughout Japan and Europe before eventually returning to Aspen as the executive chef of Nobu Matsuhisa’s eponymous eatery. Back has gone on to open a series of restaurants including Yellowtail by Akira Back and Kumi by Akira Back in Las Vegas, where he was dubbed “Best Chef in Las Vegas” by Las Vegas Weekly, as well as a slew of namesake Akira Back restaurants in Toronto, Bangkok, Vietnam, Singapore, New Delhi, and Jakarta. Back is also a partner in Dosa in Seoul, one of the Korea’s top fine dining restaurants which has earned a Michelin Star for two years running.
Opening in Spring 2019 alongside Huntress, Lumi by Akira Back will showcase the chef’s signature dishes along with California-inspired plates created exclusively for the Gaslamp restaurant. There will be miso black cod with saikyo miso, ume oroshi, and basil miso sauce, seabass ceviche served with ginger bubble and tobiko, truffle whitefish topped with yuzu truffle dressing and micro shiso, and fresh salmon, toro, or wagyu beef stone-seared at 1000 degrees and accompanied by a ponzu dipping sauce, salt sesame oil, and mustard soy garlic. Sushi and sashimi will also be offered, including specialty rolls like The Harmony topped with foie gras, wagyu beef, lobster tempura, and truffle sauce and the Paru House, a blend of tuna, salmon, scallop, shrimp tempura, and yuzu miso. The restaurant will pour a wide range of Japanese beer and sake, as well as Back’s own brand of shochu and plum sake, and cocktails will favor Japanese whisky and sake. Lumi will also have its own Toki highball machine.
Designed by SoCal firm Davis Ink. with a blend of traditional Japanese architecture and modern elements, it features two large bars, including one that will float above J Street. Set up for intimate dining, the space will be able to transform into a more relaxed lounge later in the evening for occasional DJ performances. Open for dinner nightly, the restaurant will also serve weekend brunch. In addition to launching the San Diego restaurant, Back will be bringing new projects to Dubai, Dallas, Los Angeles, Bali, and San Francisco over the next two years.