Satisfying a sweet tooth is a cinch. (Cue Scharffen Berger Extra Dark.) But a hankering for salty (No. 15 with fried rice) can leave you singing the MSG blues.
For a balanced taste experience from top to bottom, go to Umami, Sustainable Restaurants and Vintage415’s new Marina hotspot.
The bi-level space (very Swingers meets The Last Samurai) caters to all sorts of appetites. Downstairs, grab a colonial Vietnamese barstool for cocktails, take a seat at the tiny sushi bar, or share private bites in the nook beneath the staircase.
Head upstairs with the posse for a roomy booth or the long communal table. Chef Sam Josi’s Pan-Asian menu (wok-tossed St. Louis spare ribs, Korean BBQ, and green papaya salad) is made for sharing, as are the many sakes on offer. Ask the sommelier for a riesling to pair with the shabu-shabu.
Umami, 2909 Webster Street, at Union Street (415-346-3431 or umamisf.com).