A set of twin bars is opening in two San Francisco neighborhoods this January, ready to take on the sake- and wine-loving crowds of SoMa and Union Street in the Marina. Dento Coffee & Wine and Dento Union are two new concepts debuting this month from the Mins Group, known for restaurants including Sushi Sato and Sushi Hon. Unlike the company’s other projects, these two spaces will focus on drinks, with a selection of dishes to accompany them.
Dento is the Japanese word for “tradition” and both bars aim to be a blend of both French and Japanese influences — “what they share in tradition, such as rich history and culture,” Richard Yeager, wine director of Mins Group and the lead at Dento Union, says. That means diners can expect deep sake and French wine menus. The two bars aren’t quite identical, perhaps more like the fraternal twins, to continue the analogy. As Yeager explains it, each Dento location will have its own unique style: the Folsom Street location in SoMa will be more focused on sake and Champagne, with the addition of coffee. Meanwhile, Dento Union will offer sake but also wine and will be more food-focused with the inclusion of brunch.
Dento Union is already welcoming customers at 1849 Union Street, formerly home to Tamashisoul Sushi Bar, ahead of its grand opening on Thursday, January 26. To start, there will be options for pours or bottles of junmai, junmai ginjo, honjozo, and nigori sake. The longer wine list also has options available by the glass, bottle, or flight. The wine list tilts heavily toward French, but there are also California options and wines by the bottle from Europe (Italy, Spain, and Germany), South America, and South Africa.
As for food options at Dento Union, the menu offers a choice of cheese or charcuterie plate, with a daily dessert option. The cheese plate comes with a selection of three dressed cheeses — meaning Humboldt Fog goat cheese will come with a blueberry gastrique and blueberry jam, for instance. Fra’Mani in Berkeley is supplying two of the three charcuterie options, a salame Toscano and a soppressata. The menu is expected to expand in mid-February with a “Belgian-style brunch” such as baked bread with Nutella and jam, blinis with creme fraiche and caviar, open-faced tartines, and more, Yeager shares.
Across the city in SoMa, Dento Coffee & Wine is opening on the ground floor of an apartment building at Folsom and Dore streets. This location is currently open for coffee and pastries from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. but will expand its hours when the Champagne-and-sake-bar side of the operation opens on February 1. Details on the menu are sparse so far but expect items such as caviar, crudo, and carpaccio, a Mins Group representative says. This location is also likely to be the first place outside of Sushi Sato to pour exclusive beers made by brewmaster Dave McLean, which are brewed in the restaurant’s basement and made to pair with sushi. The hope is to eventually expand the bar’s offerings to include educational classes on wine and sake.
If all goes well, Yeager says, the group wants to expand with more Dento locations.
Dento Union (1849 Union Street) is now open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; closed Wednesdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Brunch is slated to begin February 2, on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dento Coffee & Wine (1339 Folsom Street) is now open 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On February 1, hours are set to expand to include 5 to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday.