The last remaining place we went to on our San Fransisco trip, it was too good to lump up with the other ones.
The first one opened in San Fransisco, and they had recently opened up their second location in Oakland very close to where my uncle lives. With no idea as to what we should eat for the evening, he suggested Ozumo.
Labeled as “comntemporary Japanese cuisine”, there are three main areas, the bar, the dining (regular seating) area and then the “izakaya” area, where the chefs meticulously garnish sushi plates and do a much less flashy and showy version of grilling. We had a very eager and informative waiter, who told us about their vast selection of sakes and teas, of which he also made reccomendations according to our order. My dad got a $14 glass of sake. It was very sweet, almost no trace of alcohol flavor (good or bad thing?). The tea came in a very heavy cast iron? pot. Very good green tea.
Toro-which is probably the most highly valued part of tuna, the belly
This is my first time having toro, so I have nothing to compare it to except for standard tuna sashimi I’ve had at other restaurants, but this was fatty in the sense that it was incorporated fully and evenly throughout the entire piece. The most tender and melt-in-your-mouth tuna I’ve ever had. It was so rich that one piece was enough for me.
Bacon wrapped asparagus skewers
Simply two thick pieces of asparagus grilled with a slice of bacon wrapped around it. Besides that, the asparagus had some kind of sweetened oil that gave it a bit more pizazz.
This is actually two orders of the 6 oz. single sizes. Washu is the American Kobe, where Kobe beef in Japan is from cows who’ve been fed beer so that the fat marbling of the meat is almost at its max. The beef was grilled to a medium rare (just the way I like it!), a perfect charred sear, served over pan fried Matsutake mushrooms, topped with watercress and two huge dollops of a butter cream. The beef was cooked without any additional flavors, and the mushrooms were cooked in a mix of the beef fat and other seasonings. The butter/cream scoops were something akin to horseradish I guess in comparison to a standard American steak entrée, but not spicy at all, it was strictly butter, cream and more FAT! It was a really good dip for the steak, but like everything, in moderation.
Chicken Wing Skewers, and Chicken Cake (think fish cake):
The chicken wings were boneless, browned in something with at least soy sauce. It was good, but nothing too special. The chicken-cake was different, and was spongy like fish cake but with a much more potent tart lemony flavor.
Dragon Roll (right) and Soft Shell Crab Roll (left):
These were probably my favorites of the evening. I never eat soft shell crab because usually when they serve it at Chinese restaurants, its just shell and batter, but in these rolls, MAN, at least half of it was meat, and it was moist meat at that. The eel on the dragon roll wasn’t too soft and had some substance. I personally don’t like it when the eel is really jelly like -_-, so the way they did it at Ozumo was just the way I like it.
I was able to catch the head chef (or at least head of the grill area) at work
Nothing fancy, no shiny over done gizmo grill. Just the basic mesh over charcoal, like (I imagine) they’d have in the streets of japan (well minus the chic/trendy modern design of the rest of the restaurant).
Teetering over the border between Full and Too Full, I went home happy and definitely satisfied. This makes it onto one of my top restaurant lists, in the league of Au Pied du Cochon in Montreal, a good once-in-a-while indulgence that you can only go once every couple of months because its so good it fills up your Good Food meter all the way to the top. (of course when that starts running low, you’ve got to go back to these types of restaurants :D)
Oakland, CA 94612-3016