Restaurant Doings Around the Bay Area

Oakland's new Ozumo (Photo courtesy of Ozumo).

An East Bay outpost of San Francisco’s Ozumo has opened in Oakland at 2251 Broadway. Jeremy Umland,  Japanese professional baseball player turned entrepreneur and Ozumo founder, has created a similar set-up to the San Francisco contemporary Japanese restaurant, with a sushi bar, sake lounge, and robata grill under one roof. Enjoy small plates to be enjoyed individually or family-style.

Executive Chef Jennifer Nguyen, who has worked with famed “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto, oversees it all.

Sip more than 90 different brands of sake, while enjoying yamabuki (uni, shimiji and shiitake mushrooms in a Genmai rice risotto, $12); and slices of hamachi and avocado drizzled with warm ginger-jalapeno ponzu sauce ($18).

Culinary star and Napa Style store-proprietor Michael Chiarello has opened a new restaurant in one of Yountville’s most historic buildings.

Bottega Ristorante, 6526 Washingon St. in the V Marketplace, is all about Chiarallo’s bold, rustic flavors. The 116-seat restaurant, named for the Italian word that means “artist’s workshop,” features Venetian plaster and Murano glass chandeliers.

Take a load off your feet in the glam lounge of the new Bottega Ristorante.

Look for dishes such as veal tortelli in brodo di carne with browned butter and butternut squash ($18), and goat’s milk braised lamb shank with roasted wild mushrooms ($24).

The Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco debuted its new restaurant earlier this fall, Aurea. Dine in splendor under a Tiffany-style dome atop Nob Hill while enjoying dishes the likes of cioppino with aioli ($25), and stout-braised short rib with mashed potatoes ($26).

Meat lovers will want to check out the new Espetus Churrascaria in downtown San Mateo, a sister restaurant to the original one in San Francisco.

Skewers of meat, 12 to 14 different types, will be brought to your table and sliced onto your plate — until you say stop. Offerings include filet mignon, pork loin with Parmesan, chicken hearts, lamb, housemade sausage, and grilled prawns. Dinner is $49.95; lunch is $23.95 Monday through Friday and $32.95 on weekends.

The price includes a salad- and hot-plate bar that includes rice, beans, sushi, lasagna, and vegetarian dishes.

Another San Francisco institution, Hog Island Oyster Bar, has cloned itself in another location — this time in Napa’s Oxbow Public Market.

Chow down on the freshest oysters, on the half shell, barbecued or baked. You’ll also find a selection of chowders, salads, and the famous Hog Island grilled cheese sandwich.

Dine at a participaing San Francisco restaurant on Dec. 18, and do a good deed at the same time. The “Give the Gift of Food” event is the brainchild of Maverick restaurant. It, along with 11 other restaurants, will donate 10 percent of dinner sales that night to the San Francisco Food Bank.

The other participating restaurants are: Slow Club, Serpentine, Foreign Cinema, Magnolia, Sociale, Slanted Door, Kuleto’s, Delfina, Americano, A16, and SPQR.

Celebrated San Francisco chef Arnold Eric Wong has taken over the helm as executive chef of Southeast Asian-cuisine E&O Trading Company Restaurants in the Bay Area and Honolulu. Look for a more chef-driven, personal menu when Wong rolls out his debut one in March 2009.

And on a sad note, the very sweet and charming Yung Le’s Fusion in San Jose is expected to close mid-month for good. Owner Yung Le will take a deserved break by traveling to Vietnam. Beyond that, she’s not sure what she will do. But she’s contemplating everything from a cookbook to private chef stints.

I, for one, will pine for her fabulous espresso flan.

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  • i’m sad i didn’t get to try Yung Le’s Fusion now that you mentioned espresso flan. The website mentioned Dec 14th close date. Bummer.

    Any other place you recommend for good flan?

  • I’m surprised so many restaurants are opening in this economy. It’s hard to keep up here in the Bay Area. Ozumo in Oakland is so close to my work, I may have to check it out one night for happy hour or something.

  • Ann, I can’t say that I order flan a whole lot when I go out. I think maybe because it sometimes ends up being a disappointment. To me, there’s nothing worse than flan that has air bubbles in it, which mar the smooth texture it should have. Yung Lee’s version never had that. It was always thick and smooth and decadent. And of course, it had that addicting milky, coffee flavor. Maybe we can start a petition and get Yung Lee to sell it out of her house. 😉

  • Will Hog Island in Napa have the same oyster happy hours?

    Will E&O move away from its Southeast Asian fusion menus?

  • Yes, Nate, Hog Island Oyster Bar in Napa has a “Happy Hour” special on oysters and beer, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

    As for E&O, we’ll just have to wait and see. Arnold Eric Wong is a talented chef, so I’m sure whatever he comes up with will be top-notch.

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