It happens every year: holiday overindulgence, followed by New Year's resolutions to eat more sensibly. There's no better place to do just that than Medicine New-Shojin Eat-station, an inviting restaurant incongruously located at San Francisco's Crocker Galleria. Here, in an airy space full of blond wood, sample beauti-fully crafted renditions of Japanese temple cuisine so unusual you'll want to stop and think about each dish, which is fitting considering the food's Buddhist origins. "Jade Nuggets," tempura-fried shiso leaves that you dip in sea salt, taste like the sea. Sesame "Tofu," a savory sesame custard thickened with kudzu root, is as innovative and delicious a trick as any you'd find turned by a top Bay Area chef. And given how labor-intensive every dish is, prices are surprisingly low.
INFO: Medicine New-Shojin Eat-station ($; 11:30- 8:30 Mon-Fri, 11:30-4 Sat; 161 Sutter St., San Francisco; www.medicine restaurant.com or 415/677-4405)