Blair Warsham, a white boy originally from Atlanta who has French training and been cooking underground in San Francisco via his "guerilla dining" company graffEats, channels his passion for Asian cooking with American Bao Bar. He began the pilot series of this new project, which has aspirations to go brick and mortar, in February and is now extending his current schedule for it through June: Mondays from 7-10 p.m. at Nombe and Tuesdays from 7-10 p.m. at Southpaw BBQ, both located in the Mission. Each offers the same family-style menu for $37.
Warsham's Southern roots are showing up in current menu items like steamed bao with fried green tomato, though it's intermingled with Chinese black beans, and a Bouillabaise shooter, remixed with Malaysian inspiration and served with shrimp on a shrimp chip. He's also revisiting a favorite that customers loved when he made it at Tinderbox restaurant before it closed in 2008: chicken wrapped and fried in plantain, here served with banana sambal.
A research trip to Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, and Singapore last year helped him explore the holy intersection between sweet, sour, salty, soft, and crunchy that he strives to achieve in his dishes; it's something he nails with a five-spice smoked pork bao, which is layered with peanuts and big slices of jalapeño,
American Bao Bar has partnered with Nombe and Southpaw BBQ in particular as places where diners can order a good drink to go with their meal. Nombe boasts one of the most passionate sake curators in town, while Southpaw offers a solid whiskey list.
Reservations aren't required, but they are recommended and appreciated; mail firstname.lastname@example.org to secure a table in advance.