Restaurant Review: Commonwealth

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a firm believer that Commonwealth is one of the best restaurants in the city. If not the best, I guarantee it’s the best value. So for all y’all who live in San Francisco and all y’all who plan on visiting our annoyingly cold city, make sure to get a reservation at Commonwealth.

Let’s talk about even before you step foot in the restaurant. There is parking. I’m talking smack dab in the Mission. Not valet, not paid. Drive your beat-up Honda or Toyota right into their parking lot, lock the doors, and head inside. What really impresses me–probably on par with the food–are the people who work there. I don’t know how they managed to hire the best wait staff, but wowee, they’re so down-to-earth! You know how you go to Prospect or Coi or any of those 4-dollar sign restaurants that I never really go to, and the servers are so robotically sweet you have a sense that they’re either being watched or have a metal rod up their ass? At Commonwealth, you feel like you’re shooting the shit with long lost friends.

Don’t worry about not having a reservation. We were there on a Thursday night at 7:30pm and there was plenty of open seating at the bar. And the atmosphere throughout the restaurant is cozy.

Since I’m manic and have had the blues, I thought we’d go for the chef’s tasting menu. I love tasting menus. You are regaled with all these appetizer-sized plates that you’d get all the time if it weren’t so damn expensive. Normal tasting menus in the city go for $120-125. Commonwealth? $65. That’s right, people. Half the price of most other restaurants. We added the wine pairing for an additional $30. Does not get any better than that. Oh wait, it does. $10 from the sale of each tasting menu is given to a local charity.

Here’s what we had:

ocean trout tartare, beets, frozen horseradish // Nobles Ranch Sonoma Coast pinot noir rose

radishes in various forms, goat’s milk butter, sunflower seeds / / Xavier Frissant Loire Valley sauvignon rose

asparagus custard, abalone, mushroom, chorizo, jalapeno // Charles Bove Vouvray chenin blanc

lamb sweetbreads, fava beans, daikon, mustard caviar // Luciano Landi Marche lacrima di morro d’alba

apricot sorbet, honey – lime soda

peanut butter semifreddo, chocolate ganache, frozen popcorn // Quinta de la Rosa Douro, Portugal tawny port

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