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Friday, July 15, 2016

Through the Kitchen Window, a (Mostly) Monthly Euro-Asian Pop-Up

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 10:30 AM

click to enlarge Frank and beans - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Frank and beans
Now that pop-ups are commonplace, it's good to encounter a truly creative one that's capable of serving more than six or eight dishes. Chef Joji Kumi and Alexis Katsilometes' Through the Kitchen Window, a mostly monthly enterprise formerly held inside Range (and moving to PizzaHacker for its August go-round) is one. Here, the small plates — of which there are an impressive 15 — all run between $8 and $12, supplemented by a couple meaty, for-the-table entrees for $30 to $50. (Full disclosure: Katsilometes is a former contributor to SFoodie.)

click to enlarge PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
It's a very eclectic menu, with few gimmicks. There are clear Japanese influences, from the pork gyoza with radish and ginger soy sauce to the steamed spare ribs to the uni BLT. There are eggplant with shishito peppers, plus a potato-and-egg dish that's redolent of kimchi and which would make for a wonderful breakfast on its own. But TTKW has one foot firmly planted on the European side of the Mediterranean, with a black bean noodle and vegan bolognese sauce whose texture approached that of ratatouille.

Simpler things do great, too: A dish of grilled summer squash, served with a romesco far creamier than the standard pesto family, could be the ideal side for a warm night of grilling in the backyard. If there was one dubious offering, it was the Frank and Beans, a plate of smoked sausage and a bean salad that's married to its own wordplay.  But the degree of umami mystery coaxed out of the bacalao over rice, then calmed through the use of smashed cucumbers, was as impressive from a technical perspective as it was delicious. (It was more Pink Zebra than Mission Chinese.)

click to enlarge Chicken liver pâté - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Chicken liver pâté
Through the Kitchen Window's unusual format might be an issue for some people. It's structured like formal dim sum or State Bird Provisions in that things wander over as the kitchen puts them out — but because of its small scale, it can feel like passed apps at a cocktail party where the one thing you really want keeps disappearing before you can get some. And in our case, the final course was a rich slice of chicken liver pâté, something many people would rather have toward the top. But if you can be a little patient with folks who are only renting out the space for the night, you'll likely leave rewarded.

Through the Kitchen Window, Thursday, Aug. 8, 6:45-9:45 p.m. at PizzaHacker, 3299 Mission St.

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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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