I believe the greatest compliment you can give a restaurant is to say the food reminds you of what your grandma or mom would make. Now, I have officially found that spot in San Francisco at one of the Mission’s newest restaurants, Izakaya Yuzuki.

The restaurant is very minimalist, not a lot of fancy bells and whistles. It seats about 45-50 people, with a lot of nice Japanese touches. I love the main wall, which has a white background and what looks like stenciled vegetables on it. Despite the small space, seating is very comfortable throughout the restaurant.

First-time restaurant owner Yuko Hayashi and chef Takashi Saito are offering a “Japanese comfort food/izakaya menu.” I love the simplicity of the menu and dishes. It reminds me a lot of one of my other favorite authentic Japanese spots in San Francisco, Kiss Seafood, only without the sushi and sashimi element. Dishes are fairly small portion sizes so you can order plenty and try a bit of everything. It was all really well done and the presentation of many of the dishes made it even more appealing, giving it a truly authentic feel. I thought everything had a really wonderful, authentic taste to it.

House Made Tofu

I especially loved the vegetables three ways, house made tofu and chawan mushi. I think what people might not understand is that this is not your standard izakaya place; it is definitely focused on dishes that bring you home. A huge plus for me is that this might have been the first Japanese restaurant I have been to in the Bay Area that served okara, a dish that my grandmother always used to make (it is basically soybean pulp and hard to describe). This is not a place where you grab a bunch of skewered items and drink beer and sake; it is more about getting a true taste of traditional Japanese fare in it’s simplest form, which for me is a breath of fresh air.

There is also a nice variety of sake, wine and beer on the menu. I think there were a few hitches in the service in terms of timing of dishes served but I notch that up to being open for only a few weeks. The spot has been a bit cursed in terms of restaurants coming and going, but I truly wish them nothing but the best. It’s fun to go back in time to your childhood with a really great meal.

Izakaya Yuzuki is located at 598 Guerrero Street. The restaurant is open Monday-Saturday from 5:30-10:30.