November 30, 2010

{Travel Tuesday} Commonwealth in San Francisco, CA

Elegant food in a casual atmosphere, with proceeds going to charity - dinner at Commonwealth was the perfect way to end our San Francisco trip earlier this month.  We were really cutting it close - enjoying a multi-course dinner in the Mission District before rushing to the airport to make our red-eye flight.  But it was well worth it!

We debated between the 6 course $60 tasting menu ($90 with wine pairing) or the a la carte menu.  For every tasting menu order, Commonwealth will donate $10 to charity, which made me want to get the tasting menu.  But the night we were there, both proceeds from both tasting menu and a la carte menu went toward Meals on Wheels.  So instead, we decided to order off the a la carte menu to try more dishes.  Our first taste of the night were complimentary (and addictive) homemade chips with seaweed and pimenton (Spanish paprika) with a malt vinegar mousse (similar to an aoili) for dipping.  A tasty and playful alternative to bread and butter - we were in for a fun dinner.    
The kitchen provided us with a complimentary taste of their Shaved Carrots and Radishes dish.  It was a great starter with ash coated goat cheese, quinoa, spicy greens and walnuts.  
Asian Pear with chicory, pomegranate, cured ham, idiazabal cheese and peppers ($12).  The cheese, presented in a spherical shape, becomes runny and adds a creamy texture to the salad to match the tart pear, bright and sweet pomegranate, and soft fatty ham.  My husband loves salads like these - with so much cheese and salty ham that he does not realize he's eating a salad.
Kabocha Pumpkin with black kale, yuba, sprouting broccoli, coconut milk and peanuts ($12):  I love Kabocha pumpkin - it's sweet like butternut squash, with a pumpkin/sweet potato-like texture.  Yuba is a tofu skin that was fried and added a nice crunch.  Loved the deep, earthy kale and broccoli with the light coconut milk foam too.
Sea Urchin with sweet potato tempura, chrysanthemum leaf, shiso, scallion and yuzu kosho ($15):  I haven't been a fan of uni (sea urchin), but after having it at Marea in NYC and now here, I'm gaining a greater appreciation for this dish.  My husband loved the briny urchin with the sweet tempura, tart yuzu, and herbal chrysanthemum, shiso, and scallion.
Squid and Pork Belly with jidori egg salad, potato croutons and a drizzle of a herb vinaigrette ($13):  Two of my husband's favorite things to eat - squid and pork belly - combined on one plate.  Pork belly is one of those ingredients that we gravitate towards on a menu.  The vinaigrette and crispy squid keeps the dish from tasting too heavy. 
By now, we were both full, but I could not pass up on dessert.  I ordered the cinnamon mille-feuille with cardamom marshmallow, chocolate ganache, and burnt honey ice cream ($8).  I love mille-feuille (it's a French pastry that is normally filled with vanilla or custard cream in between layers of puff pastry) and found this cinnamon version interesting.  My favorite part of the dessert, however, was the homemade cardamom marshmallow.  I love the taste of cardamom and how it balances the sweetness of marshmallows. 
And then the chef came out to bring us a complimentary dessert of Olive Oil Cake with yuzu curd, huckleberries, pinenut brittle, and creme fraiche ice cream.  I was contemplating getting this dessert too, so I was thrilled when we were presented this dish by the chef. The cake itself was moist and the yuzu and creme fraiche ice cream was nice and light. 

We enjoyed briefly chatting with the Chef, who had also worked with the equally friendly, generous, and talented Chef Kate from Plum.  We found the staff superb and timely throughout the evening.  And though the plates are relatively small (similar to a tapas restaurant), we were very full by the end of dinner.  Overall, we had a great time and enjoyed dishes that reminded us of Coi but at a fraction of the price.

 Commonwealth is located at 2224 Mission St. in San Francisco, CA.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks Lindsay! I think as tourists or visitors to any city, we'd probably dine out more than some locals anywhere. Even in NYC, after living here for 5 years, I still feel like a visitor at times and need to try out new restaurants.

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