Local Mission Eatery, San Francisco

Local Mission Eatery is a dining concept that celebrates local ingredients, local purveyors, and the community in which it resides. More than a restaurant, it offers cooking classes, a library of 140 cookbooks and a transparent atmosphere designed to promote the values of eating local; here and at home.

Located in the heart of the Mission district, in one of the few commercial blocks that until now showed no signs of gentrification, it’s façade stands in great contrast to the surrounding Latino setting. A foreign visage that breaks the flow of Mexican eateries, lucha libre mask vendors, and small specialty markets.

The restaurant serves appetizing sandwiches, soups and salads for lunch six days a week. But only on Thursday and Saturday nights, it offers a four-course, one-seating dinner.

A few minutes before 7:30pm, diners start gathering outside waiting anxiously for the doors to open. Among local passersby, it’s not hard to spot who’s coming to the restaurant, their high heels and eveningwear standing out, fully lit under the bright spring sunlight. Strangers in a strange land.

As the doors open, each party is taken to their seats. At the host’s discretion, they are assigned between four two-tops, a high communal table and a counter that overlooks the open kitchen. Reservations are recommended.

The space is nicely designed with juxtapositions of concrete floors and warm redwood slats. On the side wall, contemporary images of 24th Street silk screened over wood tiles stand in contrast to two vintage crystal chandeliers that hang from the ceiling.

Blue Heath ceramics tiles are used on tabletops and Flora Grubb wall gardens adorn the entrance giving the room not just a warm feel but also a local signature.

The menu

On the week of your reservation, the restaurant emails you the fixed menu to check for possible dietary restrictions. To avoid surprises, prospect diners are also alerted that no alcoholic beverages will be served (their license is still pending).

Each night’s fare is sourced from season’s peak ingredients, celebrated with pride in all its locavore glory—a picture of the twenty-pound California halibut was posted on their Twitter feed in advance of the dinner.

Running the kitchen is Executive Chef Jacob Des Voignes (Craft NY, Fifth Floor). But Jake, as he’s called, is a hands-on cook too; you will see him behind the stove, plating and serving his dishes all night long.

The fixed menu is comprised of four courses plus amuse bouche and petit fours. The price, $65 inclusive of service and taxes, is one of the best deals in town.

The meal

Not unlike Saison or Commis, Local Mission Eatery is demystifying fine dining by making its tasting menu casual and approachable. Jake’s cuisine brings sophisticated technique to simple preparations that highlight their main ingredients. Flavors are pronounced and well balanced and the freshness of meats and produce shines beautifully.

As an amuse bouche, Chantenay carrot soup. Creamy and tasty.

First course, Asparagus and potato salad. Peppercress, asparagus vinaigrette. Crunchy, chilled asparagus served with dots of with Meyer lemon purée.

Second course, Grilled Monterey Bay squid. Fresh farfalle, roasted carrots, green garlic, lemon thyme fumet. Another celebration of fresh ingredients with house-made pasta and a buttery broth so good it should be accompanied by a spoon.

Third course, Slow-roasted local halibut. Oyster mushrooms, fava beans, sweet peas, turnip purée. Topped with fava leaves, a celebration of spring and, according to a recent article in the Chronicle, the latest “it” ingredient in Bay Area menus.

Local Mission Eatery shares space with Knead Patisserie, from its separate kitchen comes the delicious desserts of Chef Shauna des Voignes.

Fourth course, Roasted strawberry parfait. Ricotta, lemon, lavender. A simple yet perfectly balanced dessert I’d have ordered seconds.

On the lunch menu, all sandwiches are prepared by the chefs, made to order from the same local, organic ingredients. There are five options to choose from ($9), here are two.

Slow-roasted cod sandwich. Preserved Meyer lemon and caper aioli, golden turnips, fava leaves, mixed herbs.

Lucky Dog Ranch steak sandwich. Roasted then pickled spring onions, garlic confit, arugula.

In short

Local Mission Eatery is a fresh concept restaurant that celebrates locavore culture with delicious sandwiches and a great tasting menu. The welcoming, food-centric atmosphere is a proof that, what may seem foreign on the outside couldn’t be more fitting in San Francisco.

Local Mission Eatery is at 3111 24th Street
Dinner reservations by phone 415-655-3422


Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

Nice review. The sandwiches are tasty but portion sizes are VERY small. Their homemade soda is delicious by the way.

I have to disagree with the comments on the neighborhood though. Maybe this block in particular hasn't gentrified, but within a short walk you have the following establishments: Dynamo Donuts, St. Francis Fountain, Haus Coffee, Sugarlump Cafe, Pal's Takeaway, Philz Coffee, etc etc.

Mathew Nelson said...

I'll second that, portions are too small. And prices are about 15% too high as well. I went in for a tasty brunch and left still a bit hungry and cashless

K Lynn said...

The Roasted strawberry parfait looks like decadent perfection in packed into a delicate size. The only thing missing from Local Mission Eatery are some dessert wines. I'm a huge fan of having dessert with after dinner drinks. There's a dessert & dessert wine pairing at Sally's After Dark on July 13. Can't wait to go. Details... http://bit.ly/9I2kZK

stephanie said...

They've switched from the set menu 2 days/week to a la carte dinner service Weds-Sat. They offer 3 bites and 8 dishes that you can order appetizer or entree size, and I think they've fixed the serving size issue because I found the portions to be just right. I wrote a full review here: http://togetherinfood.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/local-mission-eatery-sf-eats/