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Sep 3, 2010 10:42 AM

Commonwealth SF Report

This week I had a chance to visit Commonwealth which opened in the Mission last month. The restaurant, run by Bar Tartine alumni, offers a fine dining menu in a casual environment. The style of food is sophisticated yet accessible and the value is outstanding. We sampled the majority of the menu and found each dish expertly executed.

The standouts were the dishes at the top of the menu card. The chilled summer squash soup was perfect for a summer evening, both rich and refreshing with some complexity from the vadouvan and a crisp fried blossom. The compressed watermelon dish was also a hit, the watermelon was sweet and bright, with a crunch texture that played against a savory dollop of creamy sauce. We enjoyed their gnocchi which was light and creamy with the full flavor of mushroom and truffle coming through. This is a familiar dish executed perfectly and probably the most boldly flavored of the first courses. Out of the entrees, I enjoyed the marrow stuffed squid, but wasn't as taken by the black cod or hen preparations, though my table mates enjoyed all the entrees.

We ordered all the desserts they had available. The desserts were so good that as soon as we finished them we briefly discussed the idea of ordering another round of all of them. All the first course dishes are worthy of ordering again as well as the entire dessert card.

The tasting menu had a few interesting items such as goat cooked in hay and a foie gras dish, that we did not have an opportunity to try. I love seeing a kitchen take some risks and offer creative dishes, at their prices there's every reason to give them a try. The place is off to a nice start, I'm looking forward to seeing how their menu evolves.

2224 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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  1. Thanks for the report. Visiting SF next week and have a reservation to Commonwealth. Wasn't sure whether or not to keep the reservation, definitely leaning on keeping it.

    Anyone care to share their experiences?

    How are the portions?

    1. Interesting. I've walked by and looked at the menu a few times, and everything sounds like it's trying too hard (marrow stuffed squid?). Plus the prices are not cheap.

      I like the MSF folks a lot though. Maybe I should start with dessert.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Windy

        I was taking a look at the menu and saw that nothing on the menu is over $16. Unless the portion sizes are two bites each, I would say this is very cheap.

        Never been, so maybe someone could enlighten us.

        1. re: TNT Adventures

          I thought the prices were very reasonable - the food actually reminds me a lot of Commis', but at a lower price point and in a noisier, more cramped environment. I loved the black cod and the lamb tongue. The gnocchi is almost identical to the prior version at Bar Tartine - it was one of my favorite dishes there, but it didn't seem to mesh well with the rest of the menu.

          The silverware is the same as Commis' as well... I'm looking forward to seeing if Bauer blasts Commonwealth for being pretentious too, or if he just saves that for ambitious restaurants in the East Bay.

          Bar Tartine
          561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

          3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

          1. re: TNT Adventures

            I went on Friday. It's great from a Socal resident perspective. The cooking is superb, the portions are decent sized, the ingredients are fresh and highlight the season. Everything was tasty and not too experimental. Prices are more than fair.

            You have Ludobites here in LA getting national acclaim doing weird dishes that work about half the time and charging about 50% more. Commonwealth is by no means trying to hard in my book.

            I highly recommend it.


            1. re: Porthos

              Echo those comments - my report also on the linked thread.

              1. re: Porthos

                great prices. i liked summer squash, chilled soup fried bloosoms, shaved salad, vadouvan
                and the corn custard, sea urchin, chorizo, lobster emulsion, jalapeno
                compressed watermelon, tofu, nori, cucumber, wild greens, togarashi was interesting

          2. i'm dying to try this place. there's another thread on here by someone else who tried and loved Commonwealth within a couple weeks i believe of its opening.

            1. I went last week and tried the tasting menu with wine pairings. I was impressed by the creativity of the dishes, a bit of molecular gastronomy in the goat dish with the yogurt blobs, but overall I did leave a bit hungry. I think, looking at the other tables around me, that the regular menu is the best route to go here because you get a bit more portions and there are just as creative dishes on the regular menu compared to the tasting.

              I really liked the chilled summer squash soup and the uni egg custard from the tasting menu. The goat was pretty good, and probably the only decent sized dish, but the foie gras was a bit underwhelming and the final dessert plate was a bit mixed (not a fan of flavored marshmallow).

              The service was super nice, although the girls at the front seem a bit inexperienced or young because they seemed a bit confused.

              The tasting menu is $60 and $10 goes to a charity, which is nice. If you add wine pairing, it goes up to $90. I wasn't in love with the wine pairings. There were interesting selections, but the matches didn't seem to sing to me. But decent size pours.

              You can check out my photos of the tasting menu here:

              2 Replies
              1. re: singleguychef

                Great pics, really nice review on your blog. Dying to try this place. And to review the rest of your blog!

              2. I have a reservation there this Friday, would a la carte be the best route to go? And how many items per person would be suitable? Thanks

                2 Replies
                1. re: Justin L

                  I actually think a lot of people are going the ala carte route. You can get some of the dishes from the tasting menu on the ala carte menu. I haven't ordered off the ala carte menu, but just from looking at the tables around me when I was there for the tasting menu, I would recommend maybe sharing a couple of starters and then each order an entree. When ordering entrees, you can also ask the server if they'd recommend getting any sides because sometimes dishes in fancier places like this just serve the main ingredient and that's it. Let us know what you think of the ala carte menu!

                  1. re: singleguychef

                    Thanks for the advice! Yea it looks like you can order and taste much more of the menu that way. I can't wait! I'll report back thanks again.