Mr. East Kitchen (San Francisco, CA) – I was really excited when Mr. East Kitchen invited me to come out to try their food! They describe their food as simplified Vietnamese cuisine – and as someone who hasn’t eaten too much Vietnamese food, I was ready to try everything! I liked that there were a variety of options available, from their weekend brunch to small plates, sandwiches, and rice plates. You can also customize bowls by picking your ingredients and proteins. I think this is a great way of introducing Vietnamese dishes and flavors to someone who’s new to it or has to navigate the menu with dietary restrictions.
I arrived on a Saturday afternoon around 1 pm, and it was pretty busy! I wrongly assumed I’d missed peak hours; after all, it was a weekend and people brunch later in the day! I was tempted to get some of the brunch dishes (like french toast), but decided to go with more of the options you could get everyday for lunch or dinner.
Our food came out so quickly – I was impressed! I’m also really glad I got a seat at the long table which is on your right hand side when you enter – it made it easier to get all of these shots and I loved the shelves (which you can see reflected) and mirrors! This is definitely an Instagrammable spot, without trying to hit you in the head over it, which I appreciate.
First, we got a couple of small plates to complement our entrees. There are a few different roll options, and I settled on the Fresh Roll. It’s made with shrimp, red leaf lettuce, vermicelli noodles, crispy shallots, mint, pickled daikon, and pickled carrots wrapped in rice paper. I loved how crunchy and fresh everything was with the veggies and the shrimp. Shrimp isn’t my most favorite type of seafood (I won’t say no to it though), so this was a a pleasant surprise! Also, I think this is one of the best food photos I’ve taken to date, #humblebrag.
The other small plate we got was one of my all-time favorites, Chicken Satay. It’s chicken breast on a skewer with yellow curry, pickled daikon, and pickled carrots, served with peanut sauce. I’m not sure how Vietnamese this dish is per se (I’ve only had satay at Thai restaurants), but it was decent. I would probably try a different side dish next time just to experience something new, but it looked so good in the moment that I had to try it.
As for drinks, there are a variety of options to choose, between coffee, juices, coffee and more. On the left is the cappuccino and on the right is the limeade fizz. This cappuccino was huge! It was a giant latte, and I really liked the hint of cinnamon in it, it reminded me of a Mexican hot chocolate. I also really liked the black cup/saucer set haha.
I ordered the limeade fizz, which is basically lime, sparkling water, and mint. This is definitely not for someone who doesn’t like sour drinks. It suprrisingly doesn’t have much sugar in it, but it’s what I really liked about it. It was nice to have this bright pop of tangy freshness in between these dishes of rich flavor. It also reminds me of a Pakistani drink, shikanjvi, which is lime juice, water, sugar, and a bit of salt!
This ended up being a surprise favorite. I mean, we know I love my runny eggs and avocado, but I thought this would be a pretty flavorless dish with what you see on the surface. This is the Morning Green salad, with kale, red cabbage, cherry tomato, avocado, sunny side up egg, fresh mozzarella, tamarind vinaigrette, and toast. What really makes this dish is the vinaigrette – I love the tanginess of it and how it works really well with the components of this dish. It really prevents you from having a sad, dry kale bowl haha. I need to learn how to make this tamarind vinaigrette at home!
This was the bowl I ended up building. I chose the Garlic Noodle, which consists of egg noodles, butter, parmesan cheese, parsley kale, bok choy, and a peanut dipping sauce with fried tofu. Again, this was such a generous serving! This seemed to be more of an Asian fusion dish to me with the cheese and the butter, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. If I really wanted a filling meal, I would order this (I had to take leftovers home because I got full!), but would likely opt for the Morning Greens if I wanted something a little lighter.
Overall, I had a great time at Mr. East Kitchen! It was really fun to try a bunch of their dishes and doing what I do best – take photos and then eat the food! I’m glad I found a new, casual spot in SoMa.