3218 Mission St. b/t 29th & Valencia
hours: Tues-Sat 6-11pm
Beer and Wine
What a find! A little funky restaurant
deep in the unsuspecting Mission steps up and serves brilliant,
fresh, creative food. Everyone is friendly and knowledgable.
The timing is perfect. It seems like they've raised the bar
on what I can expect from my dining experiences.
Two rooms. The front room has an open kitchen, high-backed faux
antique seats, wooden booths and an enormous modern painting
(that has something to do with music notes, though I'm no art
critic...). It's well lit on account of the kitchen I suppose,
but has a noisy, rustic, funky feel. The back room is painted
all red with hanging ole English-style latern chandeliers. It's
a little calmer and classier in the back, but more difficult
to get a seat there. The front had walk-in tables available
until about 8pm.
"Printed fresh daily," we were told. Upon further
questioning, that doesn't mean a new menu every day, but new
items based on produce selection. Basically, they're flexible,
creative and interested in serving you fresh, seasonal foods.
The menu itself is somewhat small, but terrifically interesting
and written with mouth-watering poetic description. The highlight
is not what foods they offer, but what they combine them with
and how it's put together. Appetizers $8-$10, entrees $17-$20.
Wow. Fresh, exciting, perfect. Our scallops (all three of them)
were resilient and flavorful. So were the apple-root strings
that came with them. My pork chop was on the bone and embarrassingly
enormous, but cooked to perfection with delicious cheddar grits
and some kind of green bean. Doesn't sound good? Don't trust
the menu, trust the chef. My interlocutor had a paprika chicken
with smoked sausage that infused the entire dish with a deep
smoky flavor. It was served with two manilla clams. Clams! With
Our waiter was the smartest guy in the world. Okay, probably
not, but he did seem to know everything, from why the soup was
name si melone (we didn't ask, but found out anyway)
to how the dessert wine was pressed. His wine service was impeccable
in the beginning, and we served ourselves wine throughout the
meal, which is fine with me. I don't need a waiter hovering
every five minutes. Our food was correct and on time; our waiter
was on hand. They gave me an appetizer fork for my main course,
but, people, that is my only complaint about the entire experience.
And that fork did the job just fine.
Suggested, but not necessary before 8pm. You probably need to
reserve early for the back room. Day-of reservations are fine
for the front.
What a great experience. I doubt you can go wrong here.
Reviewed : Dec 2003