O3 Bistro & Lounge Now Open in San Francisco
O3 Bistro & Lounge is now open in San Francisco, providing the city with an intriguing new dining option. Executive Chef Joseph Villanueva presents a menu fusing American eclectic cuisine with Pan Asian flavors and influences prepared with seasonal, often locally sourced organic and sustainable ingredients.
Chef Villanueva, 38 years old, was previously the Executive Chef at Le Colonial in San Francisco, a restaurant where he debuted in the food industry after leaving a corporate job to pursue his passion for the culinary arts. At Le Colonial, Villanueva was promoted from busser to Executive Chef in three years, a notable accomplishment in a business known for its challenges. Now at O3, he has the autonomy to create his own menu, something that he was not able to do while at Le Colonial. Both Villanueva and his O3 partners are Asian Americans who were born and raised in the Bay Area, a melting pot of cultures and cuisine, and who grew up eating food from all parts of the world. They have thusly been inspired to open a restaurant showcasing that background.
Among the notable offerings found on the O3 Bistro & Lounge opening menu are such appetizers and small plates ($8.00 to $11.00) as Bone Marrow with onion marmalade, beef broth and crostini; Crispy Pork Belly with a savory caramel glaze and a quail egg; Oxtail Taco with jicama and cabbage slaw; and Kalbi Beef Burger Sliders on brioche with pickles Among the entrees ($14.00 to $27.00) are Seared Scallops with uni garlic noodles, kale, savory caramel and soy sauce; Braised Pork with bean ragout, lop cheong, mustard greens and chili aioli; Sake Steamed Clams with house made sausage, cilantro and croutons; and Fried Chicken with paprika salt, soy braised potatoes and green beans. For dessert, diners can enjoy Thai Tea Bread Pudding or Chocolate and Vietnamese Coffee Layer Cake.
Given the restaurant’s proximity to the City’s symphony and opera houses, pre-show service and menus are a specialty of the house. O3 will be developing packages and promotions related to this and, at all times, is an ideal lunch and Happy Hour destination for City, government and office workers. For large groups, special prix fixe menus are available.
The O3 Bistro & Lounge bar showcases an intriguing selection of contemporary and signature cocktails, plus classics with a twist. These include a Wasabi Bleeding Mary (iced Bloody Mary cubes spiked with wasabi and combined with Ketel One vodka); Sakeflower (Kai vodka, Eiko Fuji Ban Ryu Sake, fresh lemon juice, St Germain Elderflower liquor, muddled cucumber); Sweet and Spicy (Hangar 1 Vodka, mango nectar, Thai chili, agave syrup, fresh lime and a dash of orange bitters); and Desert Heat (Don Julio Silver Tequila, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup muddled with cucumber and jalapeño). The select international wine list includes 36 vintages with 15 available by the glass. During Happy Hour, which runs from 4:00 to 7:00 PM Monday through Saturday, $7.00 glasses of wine are offered along with discounted cocktails, and the bar menu has reduced price appetizers and small plates.
The restaurant has seating for 45 people in the main dining room and a substantial bar and designer lounge area with room for 35 additional guests. Highlights of the chic, engaging interior include a black, silver, grey and purple color scheme, wood accents throughout, fabric covered banquettes, oversized glass windows affording substantial natural light and cityscape views, contemporary chandeliers and recessed spot lighting, a polished concrete floor, and a large impressionistic print of a Buddha’s head. Sidewalk cafe seating for 12 will be available, weather permitting.
The origin of the name of the restaurant arises from one of the partners also owning the two Ozone Thai Restaurants in San Francisco. Given the new venue and a new partnership with a different vision and cuisine in mind, Ozone didn’t seem appropriate a third time. When the new partners learned that O3 is the molecular formula for ozone (three oxygen molecules), the name stuck.
O3 Bistro & Lounge is located at 524 Van Ness Avenue, near McAllister Street, in San Francisco, California. The restaurant is open Monday through Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. (kitchen closes at 11:00 p.m.). Large parties are welcome, with groups of 20 or more asked to make advance reservations. There are private garages in the area and metered neighborhood street parking is sometimes an option. For more information or for reservations, which can also be made via the restaurant’s web site or on OpenTable.com, call (415) 934-9800. The web address is http://www.o3restaurant.com.