• What Makes it Special: Traditional prepared dishes inspired by Japanese pubs and the chef’s childhood culinary memories.

• The Space: A hipper-than-hip urban feel that would fit in any major city.

• When to Go: The bar is popular for lunch and after-dinner drinks. The restaurant will offer stiff competition to Va de Vi and Prima for fine dining and special occasions.

• Don’t Miss: The Riverstone steak: grilled flatiron steak served on a hot smooth rock balanced on chunks of raw taro root. Or, the empress rolls: deep-fried bananas set in a reservoir of thick chocolate sauce and vanilla gelato.

• Bonus: Many izakayas in Japan serve as second living rooms since homes are small. Sasa’s lounge pays homage to this, with cut agate coffee tables and comfy couches perfect for cocktails or dessert.

Contact: 1432 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 210-0188, sasawc.com .
Hours: Lunch and dinner daily.
Price: Small plates $5–$16, entrées $13–$20.
Alcohol: Full bar.