CH Addicts post about a Mission Street restaurant serving food from the Yucatan, Vietnam and pizza was too difficult to resist for my tastes.
Id be interested in reading the dishes that Chowhounds scope out here. Ill probably be back but more out of curiosity to see what else is on the menu rather than anything that struck me as outstandingly delicious. It is really an interesting place and prices are good.
- relleno blanco, creamy chicken soup with a chicken leg and a hunk of ground pork
- 1/2 dozen thick, hot from the griddle tortillas
- two tacos, one turkey and one pork I think
- tamarindo aqua fresca
- very good Vietnamese green milk/noodle/bean dessert
The soup was $7 and the total bill was $14.
They had panuchos, but I skipped them because they were fried and I already had a donut elsewhere. There was also pastores and cochinita pibil. Sorry I missed out. This link to Yucatan dishes has a picture and description of panuchos (scroll down).
I did take-out.
The Vietnamese dessert was really good and subtly sweet. It was pistachio green milk with red beans, yellow beans and lime-colored gelatinous noodles. That doesnt make the noodles sound good, but I would have been happy just with these in the milk. Sort of like soft green gummy worms. No really, it was good.
Tacos were eaten immediately in the car (parking place right in front. Had to stop
These are nice thick tacos fried in lard. I dont know if one was a mistake but it was a little crispy on the bottom. That was really nice.
The pork, I think, was a little chewy with fat attached to the chopped pieces. Not bad, but not memorable. The turkey was better with thin sliced pink pickled onions, shredded turkey, and other stuff Im forgetting.
Thats where the mystery salsa comes in. Im not sure if this was for the tacos or the soup. Found it too late for the tacos.
That sauce doesnt look like much pale, creamy tomato-y and thin it was killer hot. No really. I dont ever remember having something this hot. To make matters worse, after lunch was over and I was driving home, I rubbed my eye some invisible layer of that sauce was on my fingers and I thought I was going to die my eye was burning so much.
The soup wasnt obvious on the white board and I though it said relleno blanco. I was told to dip the tortillas in the soup. It had an orange drizzle of something on a thick soup that reminded me almost more of a chicken gravy or a chicken divan type of sauce. The whole drumstick and thigh wasnt especially chicken-y and I was thinking the dish was a little one dimensional until I hit the huge piece of ground pork.
You couldnt really call it a meatball because it was more like a slice of meatloaf. It was the best thing with lots of spices and flavor maybe a variation of picadillo? Made the mistake half-way thru of dumping the little cup of hot sauce in it. It was too much. Just too much fire and had to dump the soup part.
The one dimensional aspect of this soup may just the dish. The only other references I found were on Chowhound where Windy had it at Mi Lindo
Looking forward to maybe some of the people who attended the above chowdown comparing how Yucatasia stacks up.
What is served that day is written on a white board. There jars of aqua frescas, a cooler of juices, soft drinks and cups of Vietnamese desserts. Today there were a few Vietnamese dishes wrapped to go on the counter near the register. Thick pizza whirled in a heated glass case in the window.
There are 3 tables with four chairs each and three fast-food type of plastic table/chairs that seat two. It was very busy and it seemed there were as many customers as there were people in the kitchen.
The husband seemed to be Vietnamese and the wife Mexican. She was rushing around calling out andante, andante to the people in the kitchen. They were really nice to me but it was busy so explanations were not that good. Also, I hadnt planned on stopping here, and never having tried food from the Yucatan, I didnt go in prepared. The husband said that after 2 pm it is usually not so busy and they served pho during the week. Dont take any of this as gospel because it was busy.
Heres a link about Yucatan food. Funny I saw a whole red ball of Edam cheese on the counter, so maybe they make queso relleno, mentioned in this link
Thanks for the tip CH Addict. Had a good time there and was obviously entertained.
Open seven days 8:30 am 8 pm
(between 17th and 18th on the side Mission street that is closer to Valencia. Near the Foot Locker).
Oh, I'm so glad someone posted because I didn't want to post about my Yucatan side of things since I know so little and I didn't want to say anything that might throw others off this restaurant unfairly.
I, too had the relleno blanco and really didn't like it. BUT I DON'T LIKE OFFAL so it is really unfair of me to judge this dish. P., who really does like offal, detected a real string whiff of it. That force meat thingy in mine was half covered in egg yolk.
That salsa: I literally put a single drop on a piece of chicken in my soup and it was plenty hot. I nicknamed it fire water and grew to fear the stuff enough that I didn't put it on my turkey taco or panucho. These were fine but needed some sort of salsa. I think if you like fat or gamey meats, you'll do fine here.
They were out of half the dishes they had had at lunch. At lunch I saw someone eating mole and man! that looked good.
But this place is seriously entertaining. The wife is half Mexican, half Vietnamese and the husband is full Vietnamese. For anyone speaking Spanish, listening to her would be a hoot. For reasons I completely don't understand, she ran from one end of the restaurant to the other shouting in Spanish and dragged an Hispanic prep cook to the front. Why is a mystery but it was seriously funny. She then immediately started shouting in Vietnamese to her husband. She is as sweet as can be and very enthusiastic (when you can get her to stop running back and forth) but she is a wee bit frazzled.
She doesn't do any of the Mexican cooking and said point blank she knows nothing about it. She said, and I AM paraphrasing, that "I saw that there were a lot of successful Mexican restaurants in the Mission so I opened a Mexican restaurant." Priceless quote of the year...She has hired a battalion of Hispanic cooks. When I asked what some dish was on the board, she turned to two Mexican customers and asked them, "It's tongue, right?" I'm sorry but I thought this was adorable. She refers to everyone as amigo or my friend.
The pizzas are there because I guess the previous place did pizzas and the outgoing owner taught her how to make them. I gently suggested she didn't really HAVE to use the pizza ovens but she said something like, "But I don't want to loose any of the old customers."
What she does know are bahn mi. When I ordered those at lunch, she dug through a pile of papers, dug out two photos and said, "Which one?" So I only had those choices and went with the radio-active pork headcheese and ham. Later that night, when things were calmer, she showed me the other pictures. They looked GREAT! She does sardines, some stewed meat her mom does, chicken, etc. I saw her make the chicken sandwhich and the roasted leg she was using looked fantastic. She hasn't even had time to write down the list of sandwiches, she is so busy.
The demarcation between the dining room and the kitchen is totally arbitrary and we had a Spanish language talk show blaring over the radio. At the end of the night, she ran around with cut oranges for everyone for their dessert and she didn't have enough orchaca (sp?) for a full serving so gave what she had to P. for free. She is seriously sweet but just too busy. I think this may be her first restaurant. Be gentle, Chowhounds, and give her time to settle in.
re: CH Addict
re: Melanie Wong
re: CH Addict
re: CH Addict
re: Melanie Wong
Mmmm, you gals are making me hungry. I love habaneros. Fire water sounds right up my alley.
You know the trick to eating something that spicy, right? You keep eating, and eventually your tongue goes too numb to be bothered by the spiciness, but magically can still pick up the rest of the flavors of your food. A Korean friend taught me...
This "technique" also keeps you eating well after you're full because about ten seconds after you stop is when the burn comes back. And when you need that tall glass of coconut milk.
So what should I order? The mole? Consensus seems to be all over the place here.
re: Melanie Wong
There wasn't anything floral about it that I detected, but I'm not that good on detecting complexity in food.
However, that was something that struck me. I gave the soup and the sauce a quick bite while the soup and tortillas were hot ... that's how the sauce got on my fingers.
After trying the soup, I was thinking it was really one dimensional. To try the sauce, I dipped a little of the tortilla in it to try it out.
It just struck me as ... hot ... but nothing other than that. In fact, that so stood out that I dipped it a few more times to see if there was anything else beyond the heat. Not that I could detect.
That was sort of why I thought maybe it was meant to be put in the soup with the hot complementing the bland. Nope.
Inspired by the same post from CH Addict, I tried Yucatasia yesterday. We had the panuchos (like tosadas -- crisp tortillas with chicken and pickled onions on top), pork tacos, tamales, and what was supposed to be banh mi. The panucho was the winner: the tortilla was just greasy enough to moisten the chicken, and the pickled onion and black pepper was the right amount of spice. I thought the pork in the tacos was a little off, almost gamey, and way too greasy for my taste.
Craving banh mi, but not so into the ham or headcheese, I asked for banh mi with roast pork, hoping to get something similar to the BBQ pork banh mi at Wrap Delight. Alas, we ended up getting the same pork from the taco in a french roll without anything else -- no cilantro, pickled vegetables, and so on. The owners were both so gracious yet so frenetic with the crowds that I didn't say anything, having already felt guilty about asking for something off the menu. But, since I already disliked the gamey pork from the taco, I didn't get far with the sandwich.
In response to the OP, the soup was indeed written on the menu as relleno blanco. We didn't order it. A family behind us was eating something not on the menu that they described as a large tamale, though it looked like it had a red sauce on it. It looked to me like a big round calzone. The owner discouraged us from getting it, saying the filling (turkey) was a little dry, but the table eating two of them sure were enjoying themselves. They called it a "bibi" or "bibin" -- again, I'm not sure since it wasn't written anywhere. That's the one thing I immediately regretted not ordering.
I guess, overall, I was disappointed relative to my hopes. I plan to go back in a few weeks -- I suspect the owners will have the place running more smoothly and they said they hope to have more Vietnamese food available than just banh mi.
re: david kaplan
I'm so sorry about your banh mi! That definitely was a mistake (no veggies) due to nerves. Unless she thought you wanted just a Mexican torta because I did see someone ask for a torta and got essentially what you did. I would probably stay away from pork in general (unless stewed or something or if she says it is Vietnamese pork), the meats are very gamey.
re: Robert Lauriston
No ... no ... if the 99 cent store sold pork, this would be it.
I have no predjudices about using inexpensive ingrediants, after all I love Curry Corner.
However, it has to be cooked delicously. The fact that CH Addict mentioned in one of the posts that the woman not only said she didn't cook, but wasn't sure what some of the dishes were on the menu, explains alot, especially when I was asking questions about some of the dishes. It resolved itself by her pointing at some dishes on the table.
I'm interested in hearing about what the pho tastes like.
There certainly is creative thinking there and hope the restuarant will keep improving as they get in their groove. However, not a good name for a restaurant if the food turns out to be bad.
I think the strategy here is to see what is on the other tables and ask for that. Given the thumbs down on the pork items so far (allthough I liked the ground pork in the soup alot), maybe it was good I passed on the cochinita pibil.
re: Robert Lauriston
It seemed to be the way their customers liked it. Like I said, if you like gamey meat or fat, you should do fine here. It's not my cup of tea. I don't really even care for carnitas.
I guess what I was trying to say is that unless she specifically tells you it is VIET pork, it most likely won't be.
re: david kaplan
Today I ordered Yucatasia's chicken bahn mi. My analysis:
Pluses: As an earlier post mentioned, Yucatasia's roasted chicken is succulent. The most succulent chicken I've ever had in a sandwich, including home made. Lovely pieces of high quality chicken. The carrots and cilantro were fresh. The roll was fresh with the right consistency. The sandwich was hefty and a bargain at $2.50.
Can be improved: Needs more zing. Needs hot peppers. Needs more cilantro. (Next time I'll ask for these) Didn't detect any of the mixture containing fish sauce used in other vietnamese sandwich places. What else is in this sauce?
The owners are extremely friendly and welcoming. I'm thrilled to have this restaurant and a supply of bahn mi in this neighborhood.
re: elise h
re: elise h
Damn, the chicken banh mi I had was VERY zingy/spicy. But that was a while ago. Guess they've toned it down in response to complaints. Hounds need to stand up for their spice rights.
Agreed it lacks sufficient cilantro and fish sauce. But I was digging on the great chicken, the fresh, warmed roll, and the kind vibe that permeated the sandwich.