This week I had a chance to check out Commonwealth with a few other folks. The restaurant sports a fine dining menu in a casual environment right in the heart of the Mission. The style of food is refined yet accessible and the value is outstanding. We sampled the majority of the from the menu and found each expertly executed.
The standouts were the dishes at the top of the menu card. The chilled summer squash soup was perfect for a summer evening, both rich and refreshing with some complexity provided by vadouvan and the crisp fried blossom. The compressed watermelon dish was also a hit, the watermelon was sweet and bright, with a crunch texture that played against a savory dollop of creamy sauce. We also enjoyed their gnocchi which was light and creamy with the full flavor of mushroom and truffle coming through. This is a familiar dish executed perfectly and probably the most boldly flavored of the first courses.
We went on to have a variety of the entrees, the corn custard and sea urchin was a corn chawan mushi, the sweetness of the corn worked well against the sea urchin, with the heat of jalapeno kicking in at the finish. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish though the flavor of the sea urchin was not as prominent as I would've liked -- then again, I love sea urchin. Another success was the stuffed squid, the tamarind pork filling was juicy and the shelling beans were full of the flavor. The black cod dish and the hen with spot prawns were enjoyed by the others, but were not my favorites, though I did appreciate the execution and the thought behind them.
We ordered all the desserts they had available. The desserts were so good that as soon as we finished them we all agreed that we could eat seconds of every one of them.
The tasting menu had a few interesting items such as goat cooked in hay and a foie gras dish, that we did not have an opportunity to try. All the first course dishes are worthy of ordering again as well as the entire dessert card.
Considering that the menu echos the sophistication of Coi and Commis (even the clean white interior reminded us of Commis), I can't think of a better value for this style of food in the City. I love seeing a kitchen take some risks and offer creative dishes, at their prices there's every reason to give them a try. I'm looking forward to seeing how their menu evolves.