Bun Mee #2 Opens on Market Street
It's not really "Mid-Market" and it's not really revitalization, either, but Market Street is much improved with the addition of Bun Mee, Denise Tran's wonderful Franco-Vietnamese sandwich shop that was previously available only in the Fillmore and via bicycle courier, and is set to open any day now.
With its fire-engine-red color scheme and giant wall mural, the interior of Bun Mee #2 is graphically pleasing and slick. Saigon Sandwich in the Tenderloin -- still the first thing that ought to come to mind when one wants maximum bang for one's buck -- is so different in almost every way that it's almost hard to believe they're both serving the same thing, essentially. And while Bun Mee is indeed twice the price, it's still a bargain in its own right. The $7 Meatball Grinder, with pork meatballs, lime pepper mayo, shaved onion, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, jalapeños and cilantro, is particularly excellent, although potentially dubious in the authentic-street-food department.
Bread & Butter PR
Where Bun Mee also stands out is in the realm beyond tasty things on baguettes. A Hawker Bowl is their answer to bibimbop, and the sweet potato fries and red curry aioli that come with the Crispy Fish 'N Chips merge about four different culinary strands into one. Again, it's all delicious; it's also self-consciously hip to the extreme. Ordering it is not quite the adventure you might have at Lee's Sandwiches on Larkin, of buying a unlabeled, brightly colored and shrink-wrapped treat along with your banh mi, then hoping for the best, and usually getting it. If Bun Mee feels more like a Vietnamese In 'N Out than what people in Hanoi are actually eating right now, that is absolutely fine.
Bun Mee, 650 Market St., 800-7696