We try to eat at Commonwealth in the Mission at least once a month. Chef Jason Fox and Chef de Cuisine Ian Muntzert are putting together some unique market-driven menus that change often. The 6-course Tasting Menu for $65 is such a great deal that one wonders how they can feed you so much for so little (and this doesn’t even take into account that $10 from every prix fixe menu goes to a local charity).
Even before you order, a bowl of house-made kombu dusted potato chips served with a malt vinegar “dipping” espuma (whipped foam) is set on the table:
The amuse-bouche was a puffed black garlic chip with English pea purée, smoked oyster and bone marrow powder sprinkled on top. The chip by itself was intensely garlicky but everything together formed the perfect bite:
The apéritif course consisted of a savory nectarine gazpacho with vadouvan oil and aleppo chili flakes. This was a nice way to get the palate and the appetite ready for the actual start of the meal:
The first course was an albacore tuna crudo served with lardo, ginger, baby green beans, peppery thin slices of watermelon radishes, compressed melons and tableside-poured melon consommé. The fish was very fresh and we ate the delicate lardo with the sweet compressed melons (think of it as a variation of prosciutto with melon). We used a spoon to drink every drop of the consommé:
We ordered a very nice Bianchello from the Marche region of Italy to go with the first few courses:
The perfectly seared dayboat scallop was another unique creation with popcorn purée, hearts of palm, a pea shoot leaf and an emulsion made with yuzu kosho (yuzu citrus zest, green chile and salt blend):
The salad course was not your typical salad – radishes were featured two different ways. Radishes were thinly shaved and mixed with purslane, grains, and lovage herb dressing. The other variation offered radish chunks served in piles with rolled cucumber and fromage blanc set on top of crunchy ‘dirt’ made from crisp black olive and almond bits:
This next dish is not on the tasting menu, but the kitchen sent us cedar-grilled baby rainbow carrots served with granola, tofu, pea shoots and seaweed-brown butter emulsion. The carrots were extra sweet and lightly flavored with ginger. The seaweed and granola together was an interesting revelation:
We switched over to drinking a very nicely aged Austrian Pinot Noir to pair with the rest of the dinner:
The creamy fried lamb sweetbreads were served with green tomato jam, turnips and finished with a tasty lemongrass broth. The thinly rolled radish chips offered a nice textural contrast:
The grape sorbet made with liquid nitrogen was served on almond milk granita and topped with a poppyseed meringue ‘hat':
The peanut butter semifreddo wrapped with frozen chocolate ganache and frozen popcorn dust is always a favorite:
Our lovely server was nice enough to let us replace one of the desserts so we could try something new. She suggested the excellent burnt honey mousse which was served with a honeyed nectarine half, raspberries and almond granola:
As if we weren’t full enough, the petit fours that came with the very reasonable bill consisted of house-made Mexican wedding cookies and dark chocolate truffles:
The current tasting menu features some excellent, inventive and unique combinations that exemplifies the chefs’ modernist take on food. So head over to Commonwealth now before they change the menu; but then again, any new item will likely be just as good.