No trend has been more popular in the San Francisco food scene in the last couple of years that than the pop-up where culinary school graduates as well as amateurs test out their recipes and restaurant concepts in borrowed locations and usually only for limited amounts of time. Now more and more of them are moving on to setting up their own full time brick and mortar restaurants.
Where as in a a pop-up it’s common to serve only until all your supplies run out and to not always have a full menu such rules don’t apply for a regular restaurant and there is a higher level of consistency and service expected.
While Chef Eskender Aseged may have just transitioned from having a pop-up to a restaurant he clearly has learned much in his 20 years in the industry and it shows in the food and service at his new restaurant. The menu may be small but every dish felt thought out and well prepared.
Now located in a new condo building right by a T-line station in the Bayview and with easy parking on the street the restaurant is modern but not trendy and they focus on a small menu that will change weekly. Bayview may not be the go to neighborhood for many diners but it has a small but always increasing food scene with most restaurants being at very reasonable price points.
We had no problem walking in and getting a table but as the word gets out I hope this places fills up with people that enjoy good food. There was a nice mix of people ranging in age from little kids to distinguished looking silver hair ladies and gentlemen and a mix of Latino, African Americans and Caucasians.
Every week the menu consists of 4 smaller dishes and 3 larger ones. They don’t have a beer or wine license yet but are fine with people bringing in their own.
We got two smaller dishes and two entrees.
We started with a Shitake and crimini mushroom wot crostini with English peas, Manchego cheese and basil ($9) . The bread through out our meal was really good and they didn’t skimp on the mushrooms.
The second starter was Albacore tuna kitfo with chives, mitmita, creme fraiche and jicama ($10), which was pretty much a tartare with Ethiopian seasoning. It was served with some of the best jicama I’ve had in SF. This was a very good solid and delicious dish. Kitfo is usally made with raw beef which some folks balk at so this is a good way to try the seasoning of kitfo, the mitmita in a more accessible preparation.
The entrees were both very good. The French Spouse has the vegetarian option, a Jerusalem artichoke “souffle”, with Ethiopian spiced lentils and butternut squash (15) Each element was good on it’s own but together they really worked great together.
I had the lamb (18) which was so tender and flavourful and the seasoning gave just the right amount of heat and really brought out the flavour of the lamb. It was served with couscous and zucchini.
The portions for all the dishes were large and you could be quite satisfied with just ordering two larger entrees. We were too full to try the sole dessert option.
Another I liked is they are using Square to do their credit card transactions. It’s saves money for the restaurant, the consumer and you immediately get an emailed receipt.
I look forward to coming back regularly and trying all the different menus.
Radio Africa & Kitchen
restaurant at 4800 Third Street