San Francisco Dining

Two new spots

With the opening of Ozumo, a sleek Japanese restaurant overlooking San Francisco Bay, the city is enjoying its most inventive sushi-sake-sumo combination. Ozumo's kitchen, under executive chef Sho Kamio, a former junior motocross champion, offers superb contemporary Japanese seasonal cuisine. Diners can start with velvety house-made tofus and robata-grilled vegetables (okra, white asparagus) or fish and Kobe beef, and then progress to the chef's choice of sushi. Insiders rave about the rare selection of fragrant ultrapremium Junmai Ginjo and Daiginjo sakes, especially the Fukucho Junmai Ginjo "Biho" sake, with its blossomy aroma and poetic fruity flavors. It's served chilled, of course. Dinner: $65. 161 Steuart Street, 415-882-1333.

The city's South of Market district has its first big, splashy restaurant in the high-energy Bacar. Artfully situated in a ca. 1921 brick warehouse, the three-floor California brasserie makes a virtue of its verticality with a temperature-controlled soaring glass "wine cellar." Wine director Debbie Zachareas has selected 1,000 excellent bottles, along with 100 wines by the glass. Chef Arnold Eric Wong's menu includes crisp fried baby artichokes with aioli, veal osso buco with apple risotto, and spectacular wok-roasted whole lobster in buttery broth. Some diners come just for wood-burning-oven pizzas with artichoke tapenade and fresh chèvre, or Serrano ham, asparagus, and manchego. Bacar makes an ideal destination for solo business travelers, who have discovered the casual-chic downstairs Wine Salon. Dinner served until 1 a.m., a San Francisco rarity. $65-$150. 448 Brannan Street; 415-904-4100.