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Monday, June 7, 2010

Old Favorites, New Beginnings at Saturday's Mission Street Food Farewell

Posted By on Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 2:11 PM

About two dozen people waited for Mission Street Food to open on Saturday night. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • About two dozen people waited for Mission Street Food to open on Saturday night.
Looking forward to the launch of new restaurant Commonwealth, Anthony Myint's Mission Street Food project concluded its regular weekly service at divey Chinese restaurant Lung Shan with a "greatest hits" meal on Saturday. While it wasn't the only pop-up style eatery in the city, MSF was the only one with a serious charitable business model, donating more than $20,000 to local charities feeding the hungry in just over a year and a half, a strategy Myint has said will continue full-time at Commonwealth.

click to enlarge PB & J: Berkshire Kurobuta pork belly with marinated jicama, cilantro aïoli, and red jalapeño. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • PB & J: Berkshire Kurobuta pork belly with marinated jicama, cilantro aïoli, and red jalapeño.
Reservations were difficult to procure. We didn't score one, but an e-mail let us down gently while asking us to try and walk in, that a lot of seats would be left open for that very purpose. We arrived 20 minutes before the 6 p.m. start time and, with about a dozen people ahead of us, still got a table when the doors opened. Within five minutes of sitting down, every table in the room was full.

We cherished our final order of PB & J sandwiches, savoring the interplay between fatty pork belly and crunchy jicama, as well as the imagination that continually twisted expectations at MSF.

click to enlarge Peking Chinito: Rice noodle-wrapped Chinese doughnut with cucumber, duck and duck skin, cilantro, spicy hoisin. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • Peking Chinito: Rice noodle-wrapped Chinese doughnut with cucumber, duck and duck skin, cilantro, spicy hoisin.
We also tried the Peking Chinito, a fried Chinese doughnut wrapped in a rice noodle and stuffed with duck and crispy skin, cucumber, cilantro, and spicy hoisin sauce. We enjoyed the contrast between the soft doughnut and the subtle give of the rice noodle; it tasted like the end of a dim sum meal, when you combine bites of everything together. The couple who sat across from us, communal style, were less impressed.

"I've had better," said our new friend, "because I'm Chinese." She was far more enamored of her plate of Monterey Bay squid stuffed with marrow and served with fried chickpeas, tamarind pork, and Castelvetrano olives.

We're not allowed to let the cat out of the bag just yet, but we have a strong suspicion these two dishes will resurface very soon after Myint and Mission Burger cohort Danny Bowien announce one of their new summer projects. With that, the opening of Commonwealth, and the hopeful eventual return of Mission Street Food, there are quite a few reasons to be excited about the next moves of this crew.

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Tamara Palmer

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