Now open in the former Wexler’s space is LEO’S OYSTER BAR from the Big Night Restaurant Group (Park Tavern, The Cavalier, Marlowe), and it’s a looker, which is what happens when Ken Fulk is your group’s design director (he worked with Jon de la Cruz on the space). The custom floral wallpaper, hanging ferns, gilt scallop shell sconces, and bamboo-caned barstools lend an air of sultry, tropical glamour.
As you make your way past the “conservatory,” you’ll note the hand-waxed mahogany paneling, a hammered brass raw bar, banquettes, and uplit onyx cocktail bar. The 40-seat space will also be gaining a Champagne bar, due to open on Valentine’s Day.
The menu is heavily focused on seafood, with executive chef Jenn Puccio assembling a list of oysters (raw or hot, including a “carbonara” version with pancetta), crudos, and toasts topped with fried shrimp and bacon (a spin on the classic Chinese shrimp toast) or urchin. Housemade tater tots, gougères, and a couple of variations of french fries (don’t miss the burger fries, topped with cheddar cheese sauce, aioli, bacon, caramelized onions, and crisp shredded lettuce), all so properly built for Champagne. Louie salad with rock shrimp, crab, or a combo of the two, check.
Warm plates include seafood bisque, clam chowder, and larger plates like a lobster roll and mussels en papillote. And for those who aren’t leaning toward a seafood entrée can go for the braised short ribs. You can finish the night with desserts by pastry chef Emily Luchetti served in vintage glassware.
You can come by for afternoon cocktails (many are low alcohol) and bites starting at 3pm, and then make your way into the evening menu at dinner service. The list of Champagnes is extensive and deep, plus some local and international sparklers are available too. As for the name, it’s an homage to partners Anna Weinberg and James Nicholas’s adorable son, Leo.
Hours (for now) are Mon-Wed 3pm-10pm, Thu-Fri 3pm-11pm, and Sat 5:30pm-11pm; lunch will be added soon. 568 Sacramento St. at Sansome, 415-872-9982.
Custom floral wallpaper at Leo’s. Photo via Leo’s Instagram.