Best of the Bay 2012: BEST SPICY CRACKER



Noe Valley's new destination sushi bar Saru does an excellent job of revamping its closet-sized space, making it feel roomier, sleeker, and, thanks to large front windows and an elegant brown color scheme, altogether different from the previous two sushi spots occupying the same space. Any sushi bar serving "the lobster of prawns" — pristine, raw spot amaebi — is already savvy. In addition to the usual salmon and tuna offerings, adventurous eaters can try plenty of playful, unique bites prepared with care, including the wonderful "spicy cracker" — a crispy sheet of seaweed fried in tempura and topped with spicy tuna and avocado. Sushi nachos? Yes, please! Also neat: tasting spoons filled with vivid, raw fish, drizzled in elegant dressings like truffle oil. Snappy rolls satisfy while cheery service welcomes you back.

3856 24th St., SF. (415) 400-4510,