Izakaya Yuzuki

Izakaya Yuzuki

By Sharron Wood

Though izakayas—boisterous Japanese bars serving snacks and copious drinks to an after-work crowd—are everywhere in San Francisco these days, none is remotely like Izakaya Yuzuki, a spare spot where the delicate food is as artful as an ikebana arrangement. Specializing in the use of house-made koji, the fermented rice used in a variety of preparations, the chef concocts everything from scratch, from the custardy zaru tofu, a silken dome of bean curd that releases its soybean flavor when dusted with crunchy crystals of sea salt, to the tsukemono, a perfectly presented plate of pickled vegetables. For something to sink your teeth into, try the kakiage, brittle nests of shrimp and vegetable tempura that shatter pleasingly between the teeth. And when in doubt always follow the advice of the excellent servers, who helpfully explain the craft behind each of the unique dishes.

... on the side

beans to spill
Not only is sake sommelier Yoshi Sako—formerly of Corkage Sake and Wine Shop in NoPa—an expert on the varied sake menu, he also clearly loves educating diners about the differences between, say, daiginjo and junmai varieties. If his diverse flights have left you wanting to know more, ask about the sake classes he teaches at the restaurant every month or so.

eye for design
The spare décor of the high-ceilinged room, with little more to entertain the eye than a few sheer curtains dividing the space and some line drawings on one wall, keeps the focus squarely on the food, which is elegantly presented on unique ceramic dishes that the chef purchased in Japan.

decibels
Low to medium.

hours

Mon, Wed–Sat 5:30 PM–10:30 PM; Sun 5:30–9:30 PM
Closed Tuesday

price range

$3.50 to $18
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