Prubechu, SF (Mission)
Tablehopper/SFGate report a Guamanian-inspired restaurant opening up in the Roxy's Cafe space at 24th and Mission last night. Anyone tried it yet?
Another story on it here: http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/...
We loved the Guam food truck we went to in Portland, which is my only experience of it. Here's the menu for reference: http://www.pdx671.com/menu/ We loved the finadene sauce, the titiyas (Chamorro flatbread) and the keleguan mannok (chopped grilled chicken served cold).
Interested to see what their opening menu is like if anyone finds it online or reports. Oh wait, there's this pic on y*lp which confirms presence of the chicken dish, woot!: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/prubec... which in this pic looks to be served on the flatbread, woohoo!: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/prubec...
This was my introduction to Guamanian cuisine and we decided to go with the tasting menu instead of the ala carte items ( https://www.facebook.com/Prubechu/pho...
The place was pretty empty and the owner's/chef were conversational and informative.
The tasting menu incorporated lots of California ingredients, including seasonal garnishes. There were lots of unfamiliar products and flavors. Someone with more knowledge or better memory could elaborate on my below descriptions, but this is what I can recall.
The $40 5-course + dessert tasting menu started out with an amuse, a raw oyster topped with coconut vinegar and other stuff. The coconut's flavor and acidity nicely mellowed out the oyster's brininess.
Egg with salmon, smoked in house, with dots of (whipped?) avocado. The salmon was very salty, so it was more a flavoring for the other items than the focus.
Chicken keleguan : lightly cooked chicken that is finished by lightly pickling it. The coconut flavored shreds of fluffy chicken were mild, and were served on a griddled flatbread called titiya. It tasted like a mixture of masa harina and coconut milk.
Corn souffle with shrimp and asparagus : the chef said this corn dish is traditionally served in a different form. Good flavors, but a little dry. The pickles on the side were delicious. The soy pickled cucumbers were crunchy and not too salty and the kim chi was bolder and crunchier than what you'd get at most good Korean restaurants. There were also shaved raw sunchokes and their contribution eluded.
Achiote flavored rice porridge with boquerones, pea greens, pork belly, quail eggs, and smoked pork. This was my favorite dish of the evening. Each of components lent a different dimension to the porridge (salt and acid, vegetal, fat, creaminess, and smokiness, respectively). The short and cylindrical smoked pork pieces were described as a kind of "pork jerky." They struck me as a more subdued version of kabanosy, the Polish sausage sticks sold throughout the Richmond, only these are identifiable as actual food. These were excellent---they should sell bags of the stuff to-go.
Shortribs with vermicelli, rice, mung bean spouts, carrots, and smoked potatoes, topped with an umami rich gravy. Very hearty. The meat was tender, but not too fatty, and the smoked potato avoided being dry. The portion of starches were just enough to soak up the gravy.
The meal was finished with a creamy, and not too sweet, shredded coconut ice cream and a nut granola. By the end of the meal, my DC was very full and I was satisfied. I can imagine someone with a bigger appetite needing to get a taco across the street at Taqueria San Jose afterwards.
Whether because of cost considerations, the chef's vision, or how Guamanian cuisine is traditionally composed, the potent flavors of each dish are in limited portions, but at a level that's balanced with other elements. They're not trying to win people over with easy flavor bombs. In that respect, their style reminds me of that of the chef and owner's former boss, Manny Torres Gimenez, the chef behind Mr. Pollo, Roxy's, and now the Palace.