Mission Street Food

Last night, I took the mighty Caltrain Baby Bullet up to San Francisco to experience Mission Street Food. This is not quite an underground restaurant, in that they operate in the kitchen of an actual establishment that is (presumably) inspected and licensed and all that. That establishment would be Lung Shan Restaurant (beware of automatic music if you click) whose flash-heavy website belies the essential cheesy-SF-Chinese restaurant vibe of the place itself. It is, as you might expect, on Mission St.

MSF (as the cool kids seem to call it) brings in guest chefs to cook locally-sourced food in evening events that benefit local charities. It is quite the scene. I arrived about 15 minutes before the 6:00 pm opening, and I was one person behind the cutoff for the first seating. All the chairs are filled; if your party is not big enough to fill a table, you share with others. I came back at 7:00, and was seated with a couple who had ordered everything on the menu, to their great enjoyment.

I didn’t go quite that far. I had the king trumpet – mushroom with triple fried potato, garlic confit and charred scallion sour cream on a homemade flatbread – $6

(my apologies for the exceptionally underwaterish iPhone photos. What ambience exists is created by turning all the overhead lights off and using candles and mini Christmas lights as illumination.)

That was followed by crispy pork belly, filipino breakfast style. with fried garlic rice and a fried egg egg – $9

Both dishes were exceptionally tasty. The flatbread was flaky and warm, the mushrooms juicy with crispy edges, the sour cream rich and unctuous. I even ate up every bit of the fried rice, and I usually won’t cross the street for rice. I was also very happy with the portion sizes and the prices.

And, evidently, so were many other people. As I said, I couldn’t even get in to the first seating, and when I left, I heard the hostess telling newcomers that they could maybe be seated at 9:30 pm. The atmosphere was definitely Mission Hipster, but cheerfully so, with people who love food and their neighborhood. (My table-mates were amazed that I had schlepped up from San José.) I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I’ll be following their blog from now on.