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Nestled in the heart of Mission Street, just across from Duc Loi supermarket, lies a tiny gem that is making San Francisco smile again - Chome. This quirky izakaya, which opened its doors in October 2021, is a delightful blend of upscale dining and whimsical charm. With no more than six small tables, Chome does not take reservations or offer takeout options, making it an exclusive dine-in experience.

The menu is a playful mix of traditional and innovative, with dishes like the "Big Mac" nigiri, a decadent combination of Wagyu beef, otoro, uni, truffle, and caviar. The food is not only delicious but also innovative, with dishes like calamari nanban, a twist on chicken nanban, and the egg yolk-creamy okonomiyaki. The mirugai plate, cut with surgeon-like precision, is a showstopper, especially for those who enjoy their shellfish with a bit of crunch. The dining experience concludes with a sweet note of mochi and fresh fruit on a skewer.

The ambiance of Chome is as unique as its menu. The intimate room, adorned with a chalkboard called the "Zone of Arbitrary Things," offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. The small space makes drinking a few bottles of sake feel like a main character activity, and it's not uncommon for a 76th birthday party to merge with the other tables in the shop for a late-night bash. Chome even embraces negative reviews with humor, proudly writing in pink chalk "2 people on Yelp hate us."

Beyond the outrageous food and lovely design, Chome is more than just a restaurant. It's a place where worn-out San Franciscans can unwind and escape from the relentless news cycle. Amid the fires hitting California's wine country and other depressing events, Chome offers a respite, a place where one can throw up their hands, laugh, and crack into that lobster.

So, if you're in San Francisco and looking for a fresh dining experience, Chome is a must-visit. It's not just about the food, it's about the experience, the ambiance, and the joy it brings in these challenging times.

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