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Aug 16, 2006 06:13 AM

The Front Porch Opens -- (long)

The Front Porch (29th between Mission and San Jose in the outer Mission) opened tonight...and by 6:45 every seat in the house was occupied. I guess even with Emmy's Spaghetti Shack and Blue Plate right around the corner, there is still room in my neighborhood for more inventive American food (yay for me).

A tad less expensive than its aforementioned neighbors, The Front Porch is cozy and relaxed with a distinctly funky vibe and a potentially high noise factor. Tonight, the overall energy of the room was very happy and positive. The menu is very very interesting. Service was friendly and genuine.

It's worth noting that they have a small but thorough wine list, several bottled beers, several draught beers, and a cask barleywine. After we ordered drinks, we were given two warm cornbread ladyfingers with a jalapeno butter (yum).

We started with Chicken Liver Pate bruschetta with mango chutney, and a Cherokee tomato salad with pickled wax beans, carrots, golden beets, mache and a creole mayo (or maybe it was Cajun?). The pate did have a metallic aroma, but it was nice with the chutney and the bread was toasted perfectly. It was well-constructed. The tomato salad was great -- surprisingly piquant, so I would avoid it if you're looking for a pure tomato experience.

For entrees, we enjoyed:
Fish and chips: fries were very lightly done, not to my liking. But the potatoes were fresh and sweet. The batter on the fish was crumbly and not doughy. The fish itself was juicy and flavorful. Malt vinegar was provided without asking.

Grits, crab and sweet corn porridge: WOW this dish was exceptional. Prepared with habanero and green onion, it managed to be hearty, intriguing, and refreshing all at the same time. Really innovative. If you love risotto and/or grits, order this.

The dessert list was "short and sweet" as our charming waitress told us. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting, apple crisp, and an interesting-sounding peach thing with pistachios and dried currants. We ordered the yellow cake, in part because our server informed us that it's baked by a neighborhood lady who is trying to put her daughter through college. But even without the good karma points, the cake was worth ordering. A blast from the past, it was satisfying, simple and moist.

I hate to gush so much about a brand-spanking new place, but it is definitely worth checking out. I am tempted to try to keep it a secret, but that seems futile and a bit selfish. Good food must be shared!!!

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  1. hi absonot, i went to the front porch last night, too. i didn't know it was their opening night, and by the looks of the crowd, holy moly they are hopefully going to do great. i had the crab porridge also, and my toes were tapping. of course, patience was needed, seeing how it was their first night, they will need some time to work out kitchen flow. i think they were surpised about how many people showed up, which i think is a great problem to have. good luck front porch, welcome to the neighborhood!

    1. Yeah, it was a bit slow -- but I was hesitant to mention that since it was their first night. And they did offer to get us a free round of drinks to thank us for waiting. I've been at places where I've had to wait much longer for worse food and no such offer was made.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Absonot

        Most new restaurants assume business will be slow at first and pick up slowly. When a place is packed from day one, often that will mean they're understaffed and thus slow.

        You can't really judge a place's service until it's been open for a month or two as they often need to adjust staff levels to match demand, which may mean new hires.

      2. Anyone have a phone number?

        1 Reply
        1. Went there with a group last night. Many of us ordered and enjoyed the fried chicken. The meat was amazingly juicy and piping hot; the coating thick, well-spiced, and not at all greasy. You get a choice of side dishes; I enjoyed the black-eyed peas + collard greens and a thoroughly grilled ear of corn.

          The aforementioned yellow cake was terrific; moist, buttery, and with a balanced, sweet chocolate frosting. Just like your idealized grandmother's cake.

          The apple crisp dessert was unusual, highly spiced with fresh nutmeg. It's more of a savory dessert than sweet. Some of us loved it, others thought it tasted too savory.

          Good prices, great music (bluegrass early; louder stuff as the night wore on and the lights went down); toddler-friendly early in the evening. Overall, a great addition to the neighborhood.