A Japanese (and more) hotspot that brings a burst of youthful energy and adventurous culinary experiments to Irving Street
Taking chances does raise the risk of failure, and Sozai's kitchen takes more chances than most, perhaps with the understanding that even serious culinary failures are almost sure to fall well short of inedible disaster. But one of the desserts, fig tempura ($5) arguably crossed the line. It consisted of halved figs, dipped in a light tempura batter and fried just enough to be crisp (why couldn't the croquettes have been this crunchy?) and arranged around a helmet of vanilla ice cream.
The figs were neither sweet nor mealy inside, so call that a draw. The ice cream was fine. But why oh why drizzle everything with a too-tart balsamic reduction? It looked nice, like chocolate syrup, but knocked the dessert off balance. If not for the ice cream, the figs and balsamic could have been served as an hors d'oeuvre. As a dessert, it left us deflated.
Dinner: Wed.-Mon., 5:30–11 p.m.
1500 Irving, SF
Beer and wine