To keep tabs on every San Francisco restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past 30 (or so). Bon appétit.
You know what’s super overrated? Choice. Choice makes for confusion. There is neither choice nor confusion at new NoPa sushi spot Ju-ni: If you’re eating, you’re having the $85 12-course omakase. Everything’s super buttoned-up, from the minimal decor to the tightly edited program of wine and sake (courtesy of Gary Danko sommelier Justin Chin) to the infinite loop between the name and the concept: ju-ni means “twelve” in Japanese. Just go with it.
Leo’s Oyster Bar
The world can’t possibly have enough glam throwbacks to the mid-century heyday of American oyster dining — which is why the eminently glossy Leo’s is such a treat, even if it wears its conceptual heart on its cocktail menu: The appearance of “The Mad Man” (rye, smashed citrus, benedictine) is no coincidence. Gather your friends, order a table’s worth of Grasshoppers, and as many oysters as your table can fit.
If you’re angling to get a Michelin-quality meal before the star is actually awarded, our money’s on Mosu, which has earned a rapturous response for its 10-12 course kaiseki-style meals, which mine not just Japanese tradition but Korean and Chinese as well. Early menus offered evidence of cured tuna belly with pickles and yuzu soy and white sturgeon caviar with sesame, green apple, and bonito. Pony up the $185 for a seat now or fight for a seat later.
Kevin Schuder for Feastly
When chef Kevin Schuder jumped the Citizen Fox ship in January, we wondered what his next port of call would be. We now have the answer — at least through the end of March. Schuder will be hosting a series of Saturday-night dinners through Feastly, the sharing economy’s remaking of dinner. Our choice of the four: “Vegan Rite of Spring: Sous-Vide Artichokes, Fresh Favas, and Early Spring Offerings.” A good deal at $45 a pop.
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Looking for a date spot? Want to spend rather less than Mosu? Set your course for the mid-Market Cadence, which shares a kitchen with Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio. Head there for jazz and cocktails, then settle in for something more substantial at Cadence — perhaps the four-course chef’s tasting menu (think: “roasted hen of the woods [with] pickled beet greens and sesame seed mushroom jus.”