Commonwealth | Modern restaurant | Anthony Myint | Jason Fox | Sarah Elliot | San Francisco | Mission Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Commonwealth HeartHeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
San Francisco
Location: 37.761411, -122.419517
Open: Dinner daily
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: 415 355 1500
Address: 2224 Mission St (near 18th)
San Francisco, 94110
Country: United States

Commonwealth is a jewel in the San Francisco dining firmament. The food is focussed, friendly and exciting, the restaurant is a pleasant space to be in, the wine offerings are exciting and the service is friendly, caring and clever. This is a San Francisco 'must visit' restaurant!
We knew about Commonwealth from our prior research which alerted us to Mission Chinese Food, which is just two or three doors down Mission Street. Commonwealth seemed to be a place we must visit.
So, after a couple of most enjoyable visits to Mission Chinese Food we were booked into Commonwealth. We headed for Mission St and the number 14 bus soon whisked us from downtown to the corner of 18th to bring us very close to the restaurant.
We started with the complimentary potato chips which are mandolined to extreme thinness and flecked with nori to make a perfect first taste that simply melts carrying the flavour with it. The chips were accompanied by a light-as-air vinegar mousse that was equally stunning. What a great start to the meal!!
The next dish that arrived was a visual delight with ginger snow sitting atop the puck of perfect raw tuna which in turn was swimming in a sea of scallion and green bean puree which sat of a black slate along with some fresh hazelnuts and flecks of Aleppo pepper.
This worked very nicely with a Scholium Project Naucratis 2009 Lost Slough Vineyards Verdelho which had enough life and weight (and a slight oiliness) to match the richness of the tuna. We were surprised with the balance of the wine considering that it weighed in at a hefty 15.3% alcohol.
Next in line were incredibly light, yet crisp on the outside, porcini churros sitting in a white bowl on top of a mixture of thyme and huckleberry jam. The huckleberry sauce added punch to the dish.
A salad of shaved carrots and radishes, ash coated goat cheese, quinoa, spicy greens and walnut powder came next looking and tasting delicious. It was all sitting on a carrot emulsion.
Summer squash as an extraordinarily good chilled soup drizzled with spicy vadouvan flavoured oil and crispy fried squash blossoms on the side was our next adventure. We were delighted to see the French/Tamil influence of the vadouvan oil because this dish is quite obscure having been taken up in some parts of France as a spiced long-cooked onion-garlic condiment and sometimes the term is used to refer to a spice mix. We believe that this has come from exposure of the French to the Tamil cuisines of southern India where precedents of this dish can be traced. In the soup it provided a mild but noticeable curry flavour. This was a very good dish.
We then moved on to squid and pork belly with jidori egg salad, potato croutons and herb vinaigrette which was an intelligent melding of different flavours and textures and a pairing of the fatty pork with seafood which always teams well together.
Next was a delicious corn custard with a foamy sea urchin and lobster emulsion with chorizo and jalapeno peppers followed by sierra mackerel on the plancha, smoked potatoes, avocado, meyer lemon and fresh wasabi. This was a very pretty dish and one where the flavours were all complementary and well-balanced.
Another pretty dish of slow cooked farm egg, matsutake mushrooms, Jerusalem artichokes, barley and yuzu was also delicious and satisfying.
Pork pieces, mustard greens, turnips, onion soubise, mustard caviar (made from mustard seeds) and juniper jus was the final savoury dish. This was a lovely dish with some puffed skin and some very crispy pigs ear for added interest.
Our two desserts were frozen matcha meringue, pistachio and berries sitting in a light but intense strawberry consommé and a dish of cinnamon mille-feuille, cardamom marshmallow, ganache and beautiful burnt honey ice cream.
This was a memorable meal where the chefs showed intelligent use of ingredients, incredible control and a fine hand in plating. The use of spices was restrained yet full of promise. The sequencing of dishes was perfect and the service was caring and attentive.
A great meal and a restaurant that we definitely want to go back to soon.

The location of Commonwealth on Mission St near 18th

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