International Food Court (Bush and Kearny) Reopens [San Francisco]
- soupçon Aug 7, 2012 12:04 AM
Ambling down Kearny Street this evening I noticed flashy new signage announcing the Grand Reopening of the International Food Court at Bush and Kearny, which closed a few years ago after an underground electrical fire. It was after hours and closed, but a Yelp review confirmed it had indeed reopened today. The Pho place and Sushi Tosuki, at the very least are back. I plan to check on it tomorrow.
Figures... I was working a temp job down there and kept searching Yelp for a Burmese restaurants which said it was in the food court. Of course Yelp hadn't updated their site to show it was closed and I couldn't figure out where the Burmese restaurant was.
Now it all makes sense and I'm no longer in the neighborhood!
I happily went to the Filipino place today, grateful for some lunch variety. I got dinuguan, a pork blood stew, and picadillo over rice for a little under $8. I didn't detect offal in the stew, and did not particularly care for the meat in it, which was cut into either dry, lean pieces with very little fat, or pieces that were completely fat. The stew itself, however, was pretty delicious, rich but balanced with vinegar cutting through the fat. I'll be trying the adobo in the next couple of days - the dark, thick adobo sauce looked very attractive.
Nobody knows if the people operating the Burmese place will be back; their kitchen still looks untouched. The Mexican place wasn't open yet either as of 10:30 AM today.
The chicken adobo was tasty enough - leans towards the tangier end of the adobo spectrum, and I was grateful for a big extra ladleful of sauce on my rice. Chicken was a bit dry, though. The real star was a taro leaf dish, braised to tenderness (but not mush) and laden with shrimp paste and shrimp - I got a couple shrimp and five (!) shrimp heads in my mound of veggies. After eating this, I am convinced that there is no vegetable in the world that shrimp paste does not improve.
I also got a sticky rice cake (biko?), still warm and saturated with fat and syrup - tastes like a sticky brick of sugar, which is to say: awesome, but I'm not sure I'm up for this challenge again at 11 AM.
A quick followup: had a bun bo hue from Pho Express in the IFC, which was quite a generous portion: I received two decent-sized pieces of pigs' knuckles, several cubes of blood, a handful of beef, and a few slices of steamed pork to boot. The broth was rich with an almost-thick mouthfeel, but underseasoned, one-note and not quite spicy enough. Good enough to have again, but not anytime soon with so many menu items to explore!
I finally made it here today, for my first visit. The tables were about half full, and none of the vendors had much of a line.
There's Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese, and a Mexican taqueria.
I tried the Korean/Korean-fusion place, BibimBar, and was pretty impressed. It's a similar premise to SpiceKit, but I thought it was better than what I get there. I had the regular rice bowl (white rice) with spicy pork belly, and all of the veggies (fresh lettuce, two pickled veggies, cabbage, carrots, scrambled egg), along w/ the spicy sauce (i.e. normal bi bim bap sauce). Portion was large, and it was a nice spice level, and I thought the pickled veggies were great. This came with a free soup --- tofu w/ shrimp in a spicy base, which was quite good too.
I'm definitely coming back to try more items here, and to try things at Pho Express (which has a pretty big menu, as drinkmoretang alludes to).
Photo of my bibimbap attached
I went again today for lunch, and this time I tried the Vietnamese place, Pho Express. I had #47, which is written in English as "rice noodle plate" or something like that, but it's Banh Uot.
The portion was huge. Lots of rice noodles (slightly warmed, but essentially room temperature), some herbs, carrot, lettuce, a freshly fried Imperial roll (very good), lots of grilled pork (also good), and some sliced deli meat. Topped w/ scallions and crispy shallots, and served w/ sweet fish sauce to pour over.
I thought it was a very good rendition of this dish, rivaling versions I've eaten in the Sunset and Tenderloin. Tea and water are complimentary.
I also got a bubble tea from Lee's Kitchen, the Chinese place, and it wasn't bad! The almond milk tea was a mixture of almond powder and black milk tea, and the boba were pretty decent. I'd give it a B+ which is pretty good for this neighborhood!