Radish opened up in the Mission less than a year ago, pitching itself as a "neighborhood standby" committed to serving seasonal, locally sourced ingredients with a Southern twist. The tiny kitchen may have a few kinks to work out, but their tasty eats and fun, funky personality show they're on the right track -- as does the crowd hanging around outside during brunch hours.
It's clear the Radish crew really does want to be the place Mission dwellers swing by for a reliably good meal, but the service, for all its efforts, still leaves something to be desired. You can make reservations online (seemingly ensuring a short wait time), but be prepared to wait half an hour for a table anyway.
But here's the silver lining: the staff is so eager to please they'll check on you constantly as you wait outside, bringing you cocktails to sip in the sun (no hard liquor, but they will make a screwdriver with soju). Really, you want them to succeed so badly that you'll feel more forgiving.
|Screwdrivers made with soju|
The menu changes with the sun cycle, but we observed a couple of trends: You can throw Mexican high on the list of flavor influences, and also, Radish could be a haven for restrictive diets.
|Migas scramble, with onion, bell pepper, cheddar and tortilla strips|
Take the Migas ($9.50), a scramble of egg, onion, bell pepper, cheddar cheese and tortilla strips topped with avocado and jalapenos, with a side of corn tortillas and hashbrowns. "Seasonal" is used a bit loosely throughout the menu, but this dish is delicious; the soft tortilla strips folded into the scramble provide a welcome surprise in the overall texture. Hashbrowns run the gamut at San Francisco brunches, but these are winners -- fried with crispy skins and creamy centers, and wonderfully salty to boot.
|Migas chili relleno, stuffed with scrambled eggs and peppers|
On the chalkboard menu of specials, you can kick up the Migas to a Migas Chili Relleno ($12), in which the whole scramble is stuffed inside a huge, battered pepper. It sounds decadent and it is, but the result is pleasantly light and fluffy instead of crispy and greasy -- it's almost like a savory pancake batter on the outside, drizzled with sour cream and doused in green salsa.
|Breakfast tacos, with steak, peppers and avocado|
The Breakfast Tacos ($10) are another signature dish (see the Mexican theme here?). Scrambled eggs and marinated steak are tucked into stacked corn tortillas, along with peppers, onions and avocado. Tiny bowls of pickled jalapeños and carrots add a nice, tangy touch, and you can substitute tofu if you're not a steak fan.
|Greek scramble, with olives, mushrooms, spinach, and feta|
If there's one dish to skip it's the Greek Scramble ($11) which doesn't follow the flow of the rest of the menu. This mishmash of eggs, olives, mushrooms, spinach and feta might seem like a solid veggie option -- besides the skimpy feta serving -- but the flavors don't do much to wow.
Radish deserves props for catering to the gluten- and dairy-free set. Gluten-free bread is available upon request at no extra charge -- a major win for those used to paying extra for wheatless toast. Additionally, you can order the house-made granola ($6) with coconut milk yogurt for an extra $1.50; yes, you're shelling out more, but how many menus feature coconut milk yogurt, anyway?
|North Coast Brewing Co.'s Scrimshaw Pilsner|
The Radish team prides itself on partnering with local companies, so you'll see coffee from Mr. Espresso and plenty of Northern California beers, like North Coast Brewing Company's Scrimshaw. Another bonus for day drinkers are the $10 bottomless mimosas, which may give institutions like Lime some competition.
If Radish wants to step up as a friendly Mission neighborhood joint, we're sold -- especially if they can tighten up service to avoid those tedious San Francisco brunch wait lists. There's plenty to be said for bringing those bottomless mimosas out to the sidewalk with a hopeful smile.
3465 19th St., San Francisco, CA