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Mission Street Food

Any 'hounds check this out yet? Thinking about going Sat. night.


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  1. I haven't been but I have heard that the food is good and the lines are long (like 1 1/2 hours long). It sounds like a great idea but I am just not into waiting that much.

      1. Ditto SFDude's remark. I'm salivating to check it out, but don't know if I have the patience for that kind of a wait. Will definitely keep it on my radar screen to check out future menus.

        1. Lines are very long and service is slow. Try to go early, because the wait gets longer into the night. Mileage may vary depending on the menu of the day. I went on a Southern themed night and the food was kind of meh. Another nite I went was much better. It is a fun experience though.

          Oh, and give some love while you are waiting to the Mexican bakery on the next block. They set up a taco stand at night with cabeza, and they are very friendly. Some tacos and tamarindo soda made the wait much more bearable.

          1. I went once when they served at the Chinese restaurant on Mission between 18th and 19th. I won't attempt again. Everything we ordered was served at room temperature to cold, including the soup. The PB&J was good but a very small portion and cold. The Duck Smoked Fried Rice was my favorite.
            The service started off well but that didn't last long at all. We were pretty much ignored for a long while while champagne was being uncorked and enjoyed in the kitchen among the staff. Then there was a lot of confusion with serving our order. No utensils for a while then giant serving spoons given to us to eat from small paper concession containers.

            It was not an experience for the hungry or anyone looking for a bargain. You also need a lot of patience and the ability to play along.

            1. We went last night and had a great time. We put our names on the list around 6:15, went down the street for drinks and were seated around 7:15. We ordered one of everything on the menu. The standout was the pork belly, which we ordered a second of for dessert. Service was actually better than I expected.

              1. Click on the Place link for more info:

                Mission Chinese Food
                2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. Finally, after months of watching the MSF phenomenon, wanting to check it out, having all my plans dashed (including plans to go the night of the infamous burnt acorn stew!) -- finally the stars were aligned. And it could not have turned out better. The food was phenomenal. We went with old friends that were visiting and they had a great time . And best of all, no crowds, no hassle, no problems. Maybe the twitterati are flocking to other new flames, Spencer on the Go? flour + water? Maybe it was just a holiday weekend and folks were out of town. Whatever, the skies parted for us and we had a ball.

                  The guest chefs were from Epic Roadhouse and Farallon, and each delivered memorable dishes. The four of us ate our way through the whole menu. There were no duds. Nothing to complain about. OK, so I thought the smoked pork with cannellini beans, artichokes and creme fraiche was going to blow me away and instead it was maybe the 4th best dish. It was delicious. I'd probably be raving about the meal if that had been the star. But no, tonight it was eclipsed by two dishes that sounded interesting on the menu, then blew us away when we bit into them.

                  The first surprise was the rare beef tostada that featured some sort of salsa cruda with basil, lime, and tomatillo topped with cress tossed in aoli. Sounds like a cacophony of different flavors, but it worked - no it exploded on the palate. The lime and the aoli jumped out first. Then the crunch of the tortilla shell revealed the supple texture of the beef. Finally the cress and tomatillo salsa started swimming around on my tongue somehow pulling out the flavor of the beef -- and I was a very happy man.

                  Other dishes came and quickly went. I'd love to pour over and praise each. The lamb belly gyro really deserves to be singled out. But I'll spare you and focus on the next bomb to explode on the table. The menu described it as: "braised, battered and fried sausage with caramelized onion and wasabi aoili." It was a shooter like no other. We got two of them which meant we each got one. Frankly, I have no idea what was in there, or how they cooked it. The soft lighting at MSF does not make it easy to deconstruct the dishes. In this case I think I'm glad I don't know what hit me. All I know is the sausage was delicious, succulent and juicy and bursting with flavors that blended perfectly.

                  Our server was a pleasure. Very affable, friendly service. In fact everyone was infectiously mellow and happy. Just when we were starting to worry that our server was too mellow, he saved the day. There was a mixup with the gyro that had not arrived. Turns out he hadn't heard us order that. But not only did he straighten that out quickly, he also quietly checked that we wanted desert and he nabbed the last baked Alaska for us when he put in the gyro order.

                  Ahhh... the baked Alaska. I'm inspired to try this at home, even if it won't be anywhere near the work of art that this chef created. It looked like a geodesic dome of meringue flowerettes. Hidden inside were layers of chocolate sauce, sponge cake, and ice cream. Candied nuts spritzed here and there on the plate. Nothing pretentious or over the top here in terms of ingredients or flavors. It took a dowdy all-american classic and applied expert technique to make it a work of art. Not that I spent much time admiring it. Oh, there was a carrot cake too that blew my friend away. Said it was the best desert he'd had on this trip -- which spanned a lot of high end meals. It was way better than any carrot cake I've had. But that baked Alaska is what got me. Gotta dig out some recipes and try my hand. I'll at least get the flavors even if I lack that technique...

                  Before I let you go, a few useful tips. The menu is never the same. They publish each night's menu blog style on their site. Its worth checking since the whole idea is to foster creative daring. Our menu would not have worked for a vegetarian, for instance, though many other nights menus would be fine. I'm told that Saturdays are less busy than Thursdays. I've heard others here say that the wait gets long quickly and keeps getting longer, but we found that going at a relaxed, normal time (7:00 ish) worked well. Less than a 30 minute wait, hardly enough time to catch a beer at the Beauty Bar across the street. We almost missed the last of one dessert, so I guess going late can be risky. But it worked well for us this Saturday. The other point, and I can't believe I had not read this elsewhere, bring your own wine. The corkage is $5. I had to live with a reasonably priced DeLoach cab from the unexpectedly-not-too-shabbily-stocked corner grocer up the street. Next time I'll definitely bring my own wines.

                  My wife is already making plans to return...

                  Our menu: http://blog.missionstreetfood.com/200...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: BernalKC

                    >I'm told that Saturdays are less busy than Thursdays. I've heard others here say that the wait gets long quickly and keeps getting longer, but we found that going at a relaxed, normal time (7:00 ish) worked well.<

                    Does anyone have experience there on a non-holiday Saturday night re lines/waits, etc?

                    1. re: Mick Ruthven

                      We returned last night, expecting a wait since the N Mission streets were one big Pride party. Instead, we got there around 7:00 and were seated immediately. Less crowded tha our prior visit! I think the advise about it being less crowded on Saturdays is true.

                      Our companions, who eat at a lot more high-end places that we do, loved the whole experience and loved the food -- even if it was on the greasy side. Our friends loved the sausage corndog. My favorite was the rare ahi w/foie gras. I also appreciated the chance to savor the PB&J that started the whole phenomenon. Not as stellar as our first visit, but very enjoyable. In fact, our friends, who fall into the TFL-is-overpriced-and-pretentious camp, liked it better than a recent trip to TFL -- not that direct comparisons are at all meaningful.

                  2. I went last Saturday night and it was great. Got there about 5:50 so we were one of the first group admitted... would definitely recommend that. A plus is that it will be light enough to see your food. The Chinese restaurant uses overhead fluorescents, I assume, but Mission Street Food leaves them turned off and there are just some strings of Xmas lights along the wall.

                    All the food was fine, some fantastic. Trumpet mushrooms with pancetta and a deep fried sausage roll were highlights. Service was great and I would definitely recommend you bring your own wine and pay the $5 corkage though they have a couple beers and I believe some kind of spritzer available.

                    There were 3 of us and we tried almost everything on the menu, were full at the end, bill was $72 something including tax but before tip.

                    1. My friends and I are going to try to go this Thursday. What time do you experienced "Hounds" suggest that we get there? Thanks!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: pwu_88

                        If you get there at 5:30, you'll be seated right away once the doors open at 6. At least that's my experience on Saturdays.

                        1. re: t.susannah.chen

                          i have been at least 6 times at the early seating, with a wait of maximum 25 minutes. sometimes that meant you get in line at 5:30 and wait 25 minutes for your seat, sometimes that meant the "second seating:: which is typically at around 7:15 p.m. i have only gone on thursdays. i have, thru, my sister, heard twitters that they end up, on Saturdays particularly, end up having no waiting, plenty of food. so the myth seems to be that you have to wait for hours to get a seat. my experience has been you get in line at 5:45 or so, put your name in, either get in on the first seating, or you can ask for 2nd seating, you can go away to a local bar (and in fact, at Beauty Bar down the street, if you mention you are waiting for MSF, you get a discount on cocktails), and the latest you get seated is about 7:15. my sister's twitters seem to say that come 7:30, 8:00 p.m., especially on Saturdays, you can get in right away. It is very good food, very casual and not bad by any means service, and a lot of fun. I have loved seeing the Chinese couple who own the place watching in seeming awe at their place being that full! the food has been mostly uniformly really good in my experience, with only an occasional miss. (the mushroom flatbread - once, a repeat performance, was greasy; and a friend reported a strong dislike for the soup dumplings, tho i've had them and loved them.) i've had duck fat fried rice, pork belly, humphrey slocombe ice cream .... all really well prepared, great, imaginative pairings. overall, a great experience, not what you're used to in a restaurant setting - which is why it's so great - so out of the norm of what we're used to, and i encourage others to try so that they don't end up wasting food and deciding to abandon a worthy project. it kills me when they twitter and say "hey, lots of food left, and no wait!", which is about every week, and to me is not a reflection of the quality of the food but rather the perception of when people can get seated - and to think that this concept won't last. Try it! it's great!!!

                          1. re: mariacarmen

                            >>come 7:30, 8:00 p.m., especially on Saturdays, you can get in right away<<

                            That agrees with what the cashier told me this past Saturday, and what I've read on their site. Saturdays are better than Thursdays, and no/less waiting if you go later. But I can only vouch for my one visit.

                            1. re: BernalKC

                              If you follow them on twitter, they will often update the wait time and menu availability.

                      2. Has anyone been to MSF as a single diner? I just moved to town with S.O. who is away for work & was thinking of treating myself to an evening out.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jdem

                          I have not gone solo. But it does not strike me as being set up well for solo dining. The room has mostly 4 seat tables with no communal tables and no bar or counter seating.

                          1. re: jdem

                            I haven't gone as solo, but all the tables are shared, even the four tops are often made up of two sets of couples who don't know each other. I bet if you went by yourself, you might be seated with another couple at the four top and you might think of it as a communal table and have some people to talk to during dinner if they're nice enough. Most people attracted to MSF are foodies so they'll always be willing to talk about the menu.

                          2. My first visit last night, attracted by the offal menu. I made a reservation but there was no line at 7:30.

                            trotter flatbread: ham hock rillette, cornichon, sauce gribiche, on a homemade flatbread - $6.5: This was one of my favorite dishes, Great textures. It was like a taco except instead of a tortilla it was a small Malabar paratha / malawach so that added a third kind of crunch.

                            charcoal grilled tripe with preserved melon, salmon roe, sweet herbs, shallot pickles, bitter greens - $9: Awesome, especially if you composed a bite with some of each ingredient.

                            seared beef tongue with blackened grits, spicy mustard greens, pickled anchovy - $9: Another great one. The anchovy was a genius touch, really made the dish. Definitely southern-style.

                            country-fried chicken livers with brussels spouts, buttermilk dressing - $7: The texture was great, but I thought the dish was a little short on acid. The dressing was essential.

                            roasted bone marrow with fresh dill, tomato toast - $7: Good though it would have been easier to eat if the toast had been a different shape.

                            crispy sweetbreads with spicy scallop crudo, pear and elderflower soubise, pea leaves, white soy - $13: This didn't work so well for me, the sweetbreads were good but the sauce was a bit sweet and tasted like bananas. Might have been better if I'd found the spicy scallop hidden under the salad before I finished the sweetbreads.

                            I skipped the foie gras sundae (vanilla ice cream, huckleberry compote, shaved foie, corn pops - $7) and ordered another trotter flatbread instead.

                            Great place. One of everything was about the right amount for two. Such a bargain.

                            Cash only. Limited selection of bottled beers. Corkage $5.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              I was there last night too! I agree that it was great.

                              For me, the beef tongue was a standout, tender and perfect with the crunchy exterior of the blackened grits. The flatbread is good in whatever form they have it -- nice description of it as paratha, buttery, flakey, chewy and crunchy at the same time. The sauce gribiche and the cornichon added the right herby acidic contrast to the rich trotter. I've always been impressed when Anthony, the founder/owner is cooking.

                              1. re: wanderlust21

                                That flatbread was definitely a Malabar paratha. It had the distinctive spiral.


                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  yes, I see. I was actually thinking of it like a Chinese green onion pancake which is also spiraled, but thicker. MSF sometimes has it in the form of a Peking Duck flatbread, definitely worth checking out when it's on the menu again.

                            2. They just announced the last one of the year will be this Thursday, and it will be a vegan menu. More importantly, they announced that they will not be open this Saturday so that Mission Burger can do late-night, including delivery to the inner mission. This makes me so happy.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: vulber

                                I don't think delivery is a good plan for the burger. You really want to eat that sucker hot off the grill.