Sometimes a girl just needs to slip on a pair of heels and paint the town red. Sexy and chic, Ozumo is the perfect place to channel your inner geisha. With a hoppin’ after-work crowd, see and be seen in the flattering candlelight of Ozumo’s Sake Lounge.
Ozumo’s prices reflect its prime location along the Embarcadero, but for special occasions (preferably those that entail the use of an expense account), it will not fail to impress. Ozumo will seduce you with its sensual décor, extensive selection of premium sake, and a menu full of thoughtfully crafted dishes.
Glancing at the menu, you will notice that Ozumo is about more than just sushi. It has taken to heart its mission to take contemporary Japanese cuisine to a whole new level, and shapes its patrons’ experience with a menu highlighting a number of small plates that are complexly composed, creative hot pots, and selections from the charcoal robata grill.
With a dizzying array of options to choose from, I have taken it upon myself to highlight a few must-trys. Because I love you, my dear readers.
First up, the Futago. A perfectly balanced dish of tender sautéed garlic spinach, wrapped in grilled Washu beef, and placed on a slice of Japanese eggplant with miso sesame sauce drizzled on top. A bite of heaven. The rare beef was rich with flavor, and the buttery, creamy eggplant was the perfect counter.
The Suzuki Kusshi Yaki was a skewer of Mero seabass, wrapped in applewood smoked bacon, served atop an Asian mushroom medley, and garnished with a fine chiffonade of flash-fried green onion. Bacon-wrapped anything is an easy hit in my book, and this was no exception. The bacony goodness infused the seabass and kept it nice and juicy. And the bed of mushrooms in a soy sauce glaze was full of umami.
Something on the lighter side, the Ama Ebi Tartare was a pleasant take on tartar. A cake of minced sweet prawn glistening with a golden crown of tobiko, it was served on top of a cucumber salad dressed in wasabi vinaigrette. Two lightly fried prawns accompanied the dish and added a nice textural crunch.
Shabu-Shabuuuu! I just like saying that. A great option if you are dining with a larger group, the presentation alone was fantastic.
Our spread included super thin slices of Washu rib-eye that melted in my mouth, silken tofu, meaty shiitake mushrooms, straw mushrooms, mountain yam, Napa cabbage, and a medley of other greens, all served with a steaming hot pot of aka miso-dashi broth and daikon radish ponzu dipping sauce.
As far as main courses go, I was tempted by the Gindara, the miso black cod that everyone raves about here, but opted for the Hotate since it featured two of my favorite things: scallops and risotto. Pan-seared dayboat scallops with shimeji mushroom risotto and shibazuke sauce. The scallops were plump and tender, but the risotto was a bit on the salty side. Points though, for pushing the envelope on a contemporary concept.
Ozumo’s specialty rolls boasted some creative combinations. The Shacho roll was a stunner. A gorgeous creation named in honor of Ozumo’s head honcho (shacho means "boss” in Japanese), this over the top sushi roll was comprised of Maine lobster, mango, jalapeno and cilantro, wrapped in tuna and hugged together with pretty soy paper speckled with bits of nori. A cascade of black tobiko spilled over the top. While I loved the beautiful presentation and ingredients used, there was a lot going on here and I preferred to savor each element separately.
My hankering for sushi was satisfied with the sweet simplicity of some delectable nigiri.
Uni (sea urchin roe) is the foie gras of the sea. Luxuriously silky smooth, rich, and satisfying. It contains the essence of the deep and mysterious, salty ocean. Treat yourself to some uni. Just do it. Pure decadence.
We ended our sumptuous meal with chocolate, naturally. The Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta topped with a sprinkling of sesame seeds stood out amongst the mix. Like cool, airy, chocolate milk, it left a perfectly light sweetness in my mouth.
Note: Word on the street is that Ozumo’s new locale in uptown Oakland has followed in big sister’s footsteps and is making a big splash across the bay.
161 Steuart St
(between Howard St & Mission St)
San Francisco, CA 94105
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2251 Broadway Ave
(between 23rd St & Grand Ave)
Oakland, CA 94612
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My cocktail of choice was the tasty Karaitini. With sweet muddled strawberry, flecks of finely minced jalapeno and ginger, this pretty cocktail looked like a party in a glass...and if I do say so myself, it made me feel quite festive as well.