• Jarnard Sutton

Chef William Eick launches Modern Japanese concepts in Oceanside

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Chef-savant William Eick’s new Japanese to-go concept may have begun as a fun side project that serves the double purpose of helping to fund his highly anticipated Michelin-bound, Modern Japanese restaurant, Matsu, in eclectic Oceanside, CA, but Naegi, the sapling to Matsu (not yet open), is building a kind of fervor that has it poised to take root — and grow. Naegi has opened to the public from noon to 8 pm. or when ingredients run out. See Naegi’s full menu.

“I’m launching the concepts of my dreams from the ground up, with the support of my community,” said Eick, who formerly owned 608 Restaurant, also in Oceanside. “Matsu, in particular, is the culmination of years of time devoted exclusively to experimentation, foraging and getting to know food on a more intimate level.”

Courtesy photo

With a seemingly simple menu, all under $10, but for the whole chicken karaage ($29), Eick thoughtfully crafted Naegi’s offerings to spec — each item elegantly prepared using small-batch ingredients, prepared locally or imported from Japan: Shio Koji, Okinawan brown sugar, Shichimi Togarashi and more. In addition to his signature karaage, Eick and his capable team serve three types of Japanese “sandos” (sandwiches) on homespun Hokkaido milk bread, prepared on the premises and available for purchase in loaf or bun. Also on offer: Onigiri (karaage, ramen egg and opah belly bacon, in collaboration with neighboring elite chef-friend Davin Waite of award-winning Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub).

Eick will collaborate with other talented chefs for pop-ups across the county. In fact, both Naegi and Matsu were born of collaboration, launched in partnership with close friends, former co-workers and others who believe in and invested in not just two dazzling new concepts, but Eick — the pinnacle of hard work, creativity and perseverance — himself.

“Community is important to me and mine stepped up to make these concepts possible,” said Eick. “I’m eager to serve them and to bring guests and chefs in from outside of San Diego to experience something entirely unique to the region.”