The Mission District in San Francisco has a very bohemian feel to it … A working class neighborhood that is equally edgy and artsy. There are neat looking bars alongside dives and boutiques alongside dollar stores. Walking through the streets one experiences a wonderful mishmash of great little restaurants, coffee shops and mom and pop retail establishments.
On this fine spring evening, we chose to experience the culinary delights at restaurant Grub where owner Johnny Jantz assured me that most of the ingredients came from the bounties of the local Bay area. Mr. Jantz is a friendly host and eager to discuss dining options with recommendations from a menu that can be best described as a selection of interesting eclectic comfort food.
First up on appetizers, our menu choices included Dinosaur Kale chips and Prawn Corn Dogs courtesy of Johnny. Why? just because he is a nice guy and wanted his Southern California guests to have a memorable dining experience. Thanks chef! The chips were dark, crispy and flaky with a salty, sublime mouth feel. The corn dogs fried in a batter with sweet soft prawns were accompanied by house made tartar and cocktail sauce plus a jalapeno slaw with a nice kick to it. My beer choice for this dish was the refreshing Green Flash West Coast IPA.
The asparagus was grilled and seasoned to perfection. The fresh flavor was nicely complemented by meyer lemon jam.
Next courses included Local Dungeness Crab Cakes, Tombo Tuna and a selection from the Mac & Cheese bar. The crab cakes were lightly pan fried with Japanese Panko crumbs with lumps of deliciously seasoned moist crab meat on a plate garnished with tropical salsa, starburst farms micro greens and cilantro vinaigrette.
The charbroiled tombo tuna also arrived with a colorful presentation of grilled spring garlic, baby leek and fennel, delicate cauliflower puree, meyer lemon jam and pickled peppers. The medley of flavors worked nicely with the fish. Johnny explained that this variety of tuna from Fiji is cooked a bit more on the well done side compared to the ruby red color on the ahi.
To the rescue came the creation from the Mac and cheese bar. With toppings ranging from lobster, steak, prawns and veggies and other condiments, this is comfort food at it’s best. We chose lobster and fennel. The Fusilli pasta is blended with a creamy white and sharp cheddar cheese and then topped with grana padana parmesan breadcrumbs. This dish was in equal parts rich, meaty, crunchy and just good for the soul!
And yes, it was gone in no time at all …
Our lovely server Narayana returns to asks us if we have room for dessert or should she just let languish in our carb filled euphoria? Gluttons for more we scan the dessert list and order the Banana Cream Pie and Strawberry Pie.
The banana pie arrived with chocolate drizzled on the plate, the crust bearing the weight of a thin slice of fresh banana layers topped with a thick cream and chocolate covered bacon. The bacon was a nice touch!
The strawberry pie was even better. Topped with Lemon whipped cream, the strawberries had beautiful fresh flavors with the right balance of tart and sweet.
With desserts tucked away, we bid adieu to the friendly staff and walked 3 miles back to the hotel to offset some well executed and calorie laden damage to our bodies.
As a well satisfied customer, yours truly would highly recommend this establishment for comfort food with friendly service. Thanks Johnny!