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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bar Tartine Redux at Mission Street Food Spin-Off Commonwealth

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 8:11 AM

click to enlarge The designer of Range is on board for the interior remake of the old El Herradero space. - JBEASLA/MISSION MISSION
  • jbeasla/Mission Mission
  • The designer of Range is on board for the interior remake of the old El Herradero space.
Here's the first thing you need to know about Commonwealth, the Mission restaurant due to drop in early summer, whose co-owner is Mission Street Food founder Anthony Myint. Though the public announcement it released yesterday affirmed its commitment to a benevolent business model, clearly, Commonwealth is no Crossroads Café. The restaurant coalescing at Mission and 18th is not some scrappy, scrape-together-funding place - despite a well publicized cash-raising initiative on Kickstarter -- along the lines of the twice-weekly pop-up that put funky, fusty Lung Shan on the map. In a way, Commonwealth promises to reprise an earlier, finer-dining incarnation of Bar Tartine.

Commonwealth's four working partners are Bar Tartine alums (Myint, Jason Fox, Ian Muntzert, and Xelina Leyba, who still hosts there but has given notice) who had a hand in making the place blossom before owners Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt took it decisively Cali rustic last summer after bringing in chef Chris Kronner.

Jason Fox.
  • Jason Fox.
Yesterday, we spoke with Fox, Tartine's chef from 2006 to 2009, and whose cuisine we recall as flawless: spare portions of finely burnished food, plated with a miniaturist's diligence.

Commonwealth, in other words, will not be Mission Stoned Food.

"I guess we want the setting to be casual, but there's still a precision that we're going for with the food," Fox said. Indeed, Muntzert, who'll be Commonwealth's chef de cuisine, has spent time at Coi. "It's going to be a combination of visions," Fox said about Commonwealth's combination of a la carte selections and tasting menu.

"We're looking to reach beyond Mission Street Food." Fox --- who's spent his post-Tartine time consulting on a few other restaurant projects (in January, he was guest chef at a Portuguese dinner at MSF) and hanging out with his daughter - hinted at global influence for Commonwealth's menu. "One of the things I think you'll see is that we won't be so stuck in the Cal-Mediterranean frame."

As for the design of the 45-seat space, Fox called the vision "warm, organic, minimalist." Designer Eric Heid of Oakland's Martin Heid (Range, Adesso) is on board. "We're aiming for fine dining without being fancy," Fox said.

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