Poleng Lounge gets rave Bauer review in Chronicle mag
Todays San Francisco Chronicle Magazine features a glowing review of Poleng Lounge. I don't think Michael Bauer said one negative thing - can't remember the last time that happened. The food sounded delicious and, rare for a Bauer review, made me want to go. Any Chowhound thoughts?
I'm a little bummed about the review. There are some places that need good reviews to stay open and there are other places that are ruined by....the masses?....tourists?...the people that follow Bauer around but not necessarily get "it".
I like Poleng Lounge's food and I really like their sensibility, hopefully the "fame" won't damage either.
I went there last week after work with a group of 8 so we tried many of the small plates: Green Papaya & Mango Salad with Sugarcane Shrimp, Crispy Adobo Wings, Garlic Crab Noodles, Garlic Pea Shoots, Purple Eggplant Adobo, Sweet Potato Fries with Banana Catsup, Buddha's Treasures, Burma Samosa. Most of the dishes were tasty, but three stars? No. The three different drink menus are very confusing (teas, sochu and sake, and wine whiskey). They do not have regular well drinks. Their website said they had a happy hour from 5-6, but we were not offered anything even though we were there before 6. The atmosphere is nice, it was not at all crowded, but that could change. The service was not nearly as friendly as Mr. Bauer had. The server was about 12 and it seemed like it was her first day on the job. One of my party ordered the almond milk roobios tea and she never told us they were out of it. I ordered a sochu with passionfruit juice and there were three separate glasses - a little too precious. It was a enjoyable evening. I would not cross town for it and parking is iffy.
After reading this post i checked out Poleng Lounge tonight. I got there at 8 and it was slammed. made a 930 reservation, left, and came back at 9.
The decor is great. nice vietnamese foresty vibe going on. the tables arent too packed in like so many restaurants in SF. the
bar is sizeable. all in all a great space.
the food is the deal breaker however, and i was not dissapointed in the slightest. We had the garlic pepper filet cubes served with bone marrow, my favorite thing ever, a great, non-boring mango salso, and some coconut bread sticks. it also had some fried shallots on the filet cubes which was a great garnish.
the shredded chicken salad with sesame dressing was very nice and healthy. good sized as well.
the buddhas treasures were amazing. perfect ponzu with some sliced birds eye chili, and the vegetable stuffing was so delicious i actually felt like there was pork in it.
the poke was spot on. good spice and sesame flavor.
the bok choy with fried shallots and mushroom sauce was a huge portion of bok choy for the price and very good as well.
all in all the the three of us had 2 beers, a shochu on the rocks, and the 5 dishes. we left pleasently full, not stuffed, and better yet we felt healthy. total bill was 60 bucks before tip. not bad at all.
considering how close this place is to me and the lack of other options in the area i will probably be back very regularly. this place brings everything together for me as a total package like canteen aziza and Nopa did.