Kitchenette & Poc Chuc, SF
• Kitchenette, Dogpatch
Tasty bento boxes. Mellow sweet miso on eggplant, a beautiful piece of salmon, suave and moist, with a moderate but smooth salmon flavour . Boiled aromatic greens (some sort of Chinese veg that I can't remember), cucumber and cherry tomato, rice with a nutty, savoury topping of chopped seaweed and sesame (furikake). Pleasant lemonade.
• Poc Chuc, Mission
In the Mayan Platillo, a colourful array of elemental flavours. Most notable for me were the deeply flavourful shredded turkey, the earthy black bean puree, a multfaceted pork empanada and a mild smoky/peppery and very spicy habernaro salsa with a nice acidity.
Hand made tacos were warm, lightly crisp on the surface and puffy. Great with the poc chuc, exceptionally flavourful and tender, just the right porky sweetness with the citrusy shading of the marinate. Loved the grilled onions, just the right amount of savoury-sweet. More of the delicious sludgey black bean puree, pure comfort against the rice.
Went on Friday, surprised they were open on July 3rd.
Indian-inspired fried chicken sandwich was as good as the first time I had it, the salad with heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, artichokes, asparagus, and dilled yogurt sauce was fresh but turned soggy quickly.
My main complaint after 3 visits is the slow service. If I wait 20 minutes to order with only 5 people in front of me, then wait another 20 minutes for my food, I expect it to be piping hot (which it was not). Having one person taking orders but also packing & handing out food (most of the time when I'm there) seems to be inefficient. The food also seems to come out of the kitchen in spurts, which I understand for the sandwiches but don't understand for the cold salads, especially when we were there a little before noon. Maybe I happened to go on off days, anyone else experience this? I could tell people around me were being patient but also getting a little frustrated. The Sentinel's speed and service are light years better, here's hoping Kitchenette ramps up a little more.
I've only been once, and service was very, very slow. I figured that with such a simple menu -- basically two choices -- that the food would be ready to go. Nope. I guess there is a balancing act between making it fresh to order and assembly line pre-production -- Bakesale Betty's has been getting legitimate grief here for getting too far ahead of orders. But I think Kitchenette needs to speed it up.
And if I was one of Kitchenette's warehouse neighbors I'd be seriously pissed. Having a throng of customers clogging up the dock and parking willy nillly in front of others' docks... not good. They'd better be totally square with all their permits or some neighbor will drop a dime on them -- and that would be a sad loss.
That was the menu on Wednesday at Kitchenette. I went there for that too and it was fantastic. You can check their website for their menu offerings, which change daily. Typically they have a sandwich and a salad offering, so the bentos were a nice change up. This place has been covered a lot in some recent threads too.
958 Illinois Street, San Francisco, CA