This Week's Review: Commonwealth and Its Price-per-Thrill Ratio
This week, I've written about Commonwealth, the collectively run restaurant that emerged out of Bar Tartine (or rather, a crew of its former cooks and servers) and Mission Street Food. I can't say that Jason Fox and Ian Muntzert's food is as reliably successful as the food at Sons & Daughters and Commis, restaurants that share its experimental bent, but the number of times the chefs' 40-yard runs ended in touchdowns was impressive. More impressive: the price of dishes, which puts the food within the reach of its target clientele.
I was struck by how packed the place was, and how excited diners seemed to be about traveling to the far reaches (sometimes over-reaches) of flavor. On one night, for instance, the marrow-stuffed squid was sold out. Can you imagine that happening at Boulevard or Zuni? Perhaps I should light a candle to Anthony Bourdain for bringing gastronomic daredevilry into the mainstream. As an unabashed lover of pig ears, bone marrow, guinea fowl, sweetbreads, and lamb's tongue, I felt like the menu had been written for me.
What Commonwealth's full dining room and moderate prices also say to me is that the moaning about how the recession was going to lead to a surfeit of burgers, pizza, and sandwiches in this city is not completely on target. The SF restaurateurs who have settled for burgers, pizza, and sandwiches instead of finding more creative ways to realize their ambitions need to make a reservation at Commonwealth. Stat.