Izakaya Yuzuki Sushi And Japanese | San Francisco

An izakaya brings new life to a cursed space

You may have recently sat in the space that Izakaya Yuzuki now occupies and eaten a burger, or some fish and chips.

Now, a visit yields chawanmushi with uni and karaage chicken.

The latest tenant of this coveted corner across the street from Tartine Bakery and down the block from Delfina is, yes, another izakaya. And though that restaurant genre has become overblown in recent years, Yuzuki is a welcome addition.

What sold us? Well, the pristine, delicate house-made tofu, for one, presented in a woven basket. "I tasted it against the stuff at Safeway," says our server, cutely, "and ours is way better." It tastes prominently of legumes, good on its own or gussied up with soy and filaments of scallion ($9).

Further evidence of this newcomer's merit comes in the form of crisp whitefish cakes, called satsuma age ($11), grilled chicken-and-pork meatballs topped with a sweet soy glaze ($4 per skewer), and the delicate kakiage, lacy fritters of white shrimp and burdock, accompanied by green-tea salt ($12).

At $12, the okowa–bamboo-leaf parcels containing sweet rice studded with creamy bits of fresh chestnut and dried shiitake mushrooms–are pricey. But as with much of the menu, they are simple and perfect.

Izakaya Yuzuki, 598 Guerrero St. (at 18th St.); 415-556-9898 or yuzukisf.com