Oakland Rocks and Sushi Rolls
Ozumo Oakland opened in December with the kind of pizzazz that would have been spectacular in the best economy, let alone the rockiest. Sumo wrestlers and taiko drummers stopped traffic on Broadway. Inside, throngs of glam invitees drank with abandon from among the 90 brands of sake Ozumo pours, and they lined up for sashimi carved from a tuna that earlier in the day was alive and swimming off the San Diego coast. Chefs turned thin slices of Kobe beef into sushi treats. The décor, exotic while tasteful as well as large-scale and over-the-top, was impressive, even with a gazillion bodies crammed into the private rooms and jostling around the expansive bar and robata grill. The original Ozumo opened in 2001 in San Francisco [161 Steuart St.; (415) 882-1333]. The founder-owner of both is Jeremy Umland, who spent many years in Japan as a professional baseball player. He says he came to appreciate authentic Japanese culture and traditions during the years he lived there. The focus, at Ozumo Oakland, is on fresh and seasonal. Omakase dinners (chef’s choice of the day’s best sashimi) start at $30 per person. Izakaya (small plate) menu choices range from $12 to $18. Umland’s favorite sushi roll, Shacho (Maine lobster, mango, jalapeño and cilantro wrapped in tuna), is $23. Service and presentation, as one might expect, are exceptional.
Ozumo Oakland, 2251 Broadway, (510) 286-9866, serves dinner 5 p.m.–10:30 p.m. daily with the bar opening at 4 p.m., www.ozoumo.com.
Meanwhile, down Jack London Square way, at Oakland’s historic wholesale produce market, Leo L. Cotella Produce has partnered with Buy Fresh Buy Local and opened a market stall with a focus on sustainable produce from small independent farmers. While targeted primarily for restaurants and retailers, the produce stand will sell directly to casual consumers who want to buy in bulk. The minimum purchase, says Allyse Heartwell of Community Alliance with Family Farmers, is half a case. Go weekdays, and early, to find out more.
Leo L. Cotella Produce, 370 Second St., (510) 832-4625, open dawn to 10 a.m. Mon.– Fri., http://guide.buylocalca/localSpotlight.html.