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The Early Word on Commonwealth on Mission Street

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Anthony Myint and Jason Fox opened Commonwealth in El Herradero taqueria's stead six weeks ago to the day; so we're due for our round-up of popular sentiment among the blogs and the UGC. Since we last chatted about this sleek and charitable charmer, Myint has received national recognition from CHOW, while Fox and sous chef Ian Muntzert have been cranking on all manner of liquid nitrogen- and foam-laced creativity on the menu. There's no denying the foodies have showed up en masse to sample the goods here, but whether or not the joint can garner the larger allegiance it needs remains to be seen. Take a moment here to digest the good and great of what's been said to date, then place your bets in the comments section.

The Good News: SFoodie had a very positive experience at a pre-opening preview dinner all the way back in August: "The old El Herradero taqueria on Mission at 18th has become a polished urban eatery that exudes self-confidence, without totally losing its sense of fun (see: glittery disco ball visible through a hatch cut into Commonwealth's drop ceiling). Ex-Tartine chef [Jason] Fox has assembled an opening menu that displays a probing intelligence in dishes with muted, earthy flavors." Tom Armitage of Chowhound adds: "There is the creativity, the careful balance of flavors, and near perfect execution of the dishes, the extraordinarily artistic plating, and knowledgeable service -- but there is a synergy at work here that, in combination, raises each of these separate elements several notches...Our group included an artist, and when the marrow-stuffed squid was placed on the table, he, along with the rest of us, marveled at the artistry of the composition. If it were possible, I would have hung it on my wall at home. " [SFoodie, Chowhound]

The Tasting Menu News: Single Guy Chef and his dining partner FoodHoe both went for the tasting menu with wine pairings: "In the end, I felt the tasting menu was inventive and creative, but it seemed to be working on a refined and delicate position instead of bold and assertive. I have to admit that I did feel a bit hungry afterwards (such is the case with some tasting menus when the portion sizes lean on the small side) but when I remember that $10 from the $60 price tag goes to a charity, then the meal seems worthwhile after all." [Single Guy]

The Stinky News: No Salad as a Meal must include Commonwealth in its ditty on eau de restaurant: "The menu is quite impressive; a nice selection of inventive and appetizing dishes. But you pay a price...The food is very good but while my favorite meals are the ones I find memorable, taking home their smell doesn't make for a good memory." [No Salad]

The Dessert News: The Perfect Spot's Virginia Miller has a favorable experience: "Dessert ($8 each) left a final impression of balance with Cinnamon Mille-Feuille, a cardamom marshmallow, chocolate ganache and burnt honey ice cream. The cardamom lingered with me throughout the night. A playful take on a White Russian was coffee ice cream, vodka gelee, raw milk mousse and genoise cake. Each part came together seamlessly, evoking the spirit of that dessert cocktail." Most Yelpers, like Christina L., fall in love with the cinnamon creation as well: "The cinnamon mille feuille was to die for. Burnt honey ice cream, cardamom marshmallow, spiced wafers, and chocolate ganache? Heaven." [Perfect Spot, Yelp]

The Interior News: Most diners like Yelper F.P. enjoy the playful accents inside: "Oh, and loved the window in the ceiling through which you can see exposed wooden beans and a disco ball. Nice touch! Definitely one of my new favorites." Yelper Sam M. also sums things up nicely: "So if you like creativity, foam, seaweed, misnomers, and great service, head over to Commonwealth! Also disco balls in the barn roof!" Although Tom Armitage thought it a bit noisy: "The hard surfaces in the room made the noise level unpleasantly high and made it difficult for me to hear what my tablemates were saying." [Yelp]

The Compared-to-LA News: Chowhounder Porthos has this interesting perspective: "You have Ludobites here in LA getting national acclaim doing weird dishes that work about half the time and charging about 50% more. Commonwealth is by no means trying to hard in my book. I highly recommend it." [Chowhound]

The Not As Good News: Although Ms. Miller raves about the ingenuity of most dishes, there are a few lackluster items to watch out for, according to her: "The dishes I was less enthused about are Brown-butter poached Skate Wing ($13), fine enough with cauliflower and sea beans in a dashi broth, but not particularly memorable compared to the rest of the meal. Young Hen & Spot Prawn ($16) sounded exciting (I adore spot prawns), but I couldn’t quite taste the chocolate or almond in the emulsion and spinach and artichoke bits did little to enhance it. Also, where was the hen?" And Yelper Emi H. had issues with the entire menu: "On tasting each of the dishes, we all reached the same conclusion: 'almost good but not quite.' Most of the dishes were overly salted yet lacked flavor. For all the rich, fresh ingredients on the menu, this was really surprising...I'd also give Commonwealth a few months to refine the menu, nail the flavors, and make the meal worth the price." [Perfect Spot, Yelp]

All Previous Commonwealth Coverage [~ ESF ~]

[Photo: Jennifer Yin]

Commonwealth

2224 Mission Street, , CA 94110 (415) 355-1500 Visit Website

Commonwealth

2224 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA

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