The 500- to 600-block of Stockton St. is the perfect portrait of San Francisco.As you come to the 500 block, you are met by the Stockton tunnel, the urban marker that divides the busy financial and shopping district from the bustling Chinatown on the other side.
If you choose to climb the narrow flight of stairs at the end of the tunnel, you will find yourself among great, beautiful brick buildings with Victorian facades—tall, majestic San Francisco houses with big windows that sit in the sunshine among big, leafy trees.
But those who choose to go through the Stockton tunnel—the fastest and flattest way to Chinatown on the other side—they will find the path cold and dank. Matted city pigeons stare menacingly at you from the railings that line the road, and no matter how sunny it is outside the tunnel, there are always suspicious pools of water on the path that require careful stepping. Every now and then, you might even come upon an odor of mysterious origin. Mostly, you will encounter droves of busy Chinese grandmas on their way to and from the markets and only the occasional bearded hooligan.
We started with a amuse bouche, featuring a yummy green tea gelee. Super refreshing, really clean.
Followed by savory churros—crunchy all the way through and dusted with spices. For shame, Disneyland.
We moved onto this seaweed bread—a bit crunch on the crust and soft and crumbly on the inside, like cornbread. I swear, I could eat this stuff every day.
Next was this kanpachi. Sweet, tender slivers.
Beautiful tobiko and apple over a savory mash. (I think on this dish I asked whether it was acceptable to lick my plate.)
Abalone! Tasty and tender and gone too fast.
Perfectly slow-cooked egg. The textures in this dish are amazing. Anyone who loves rice would appreciate the satisfying mix of egg yolk and grains.
And yes, right before the San Francisco ban—it's foie gras. The gel was particularly exceptional. Bright and a little bit tart, it coupled with the rich foie. Yum yum yum.
Cod belly. One of the surprising stars of this dish was those delicate slivers of cucumbers, which were so fragrant and flavorful that it tasted like honey dew melon.
The tender cut of pork was delicious, as expected—but what really took me was these BBQed beets. The absolute best part was the beet tips, which were sweet, rich, and chewy—like dessert french fries. I was so taken with them that I let out a yelp when I ate them.
Oh, this duck was cooked just how I love it—red on the inside, which made it rich and gamey.
Last was this very pretty platter of desserts. Lucky us!
What amazing food and a memory to cherish. My hat goes off to the chef: Mahalo, Chris—you, sir, are a rock star.
600 Stockton St.
San Francisco, CA 94108