We have said before that Commonwealth restaurant in the Mission is one of our favorite places to eat. Chef Jason Fox and his crew continue to provide amazing Modern American food at very reasonable prices where most dishes are priced between $12-$16.
We always enjoy their bread service of potato chips served with a malt vinegar mousse dip:
The first amuse bouche featured a perfect bite of a smoked mussel served with sorrel, fermented chili sauce, micro purslane and a rice cracker:
Another amuse bouche was a perfectly fried goat cheese and potato croquette served with house-made black olive oil:
We started off with oysters poached in their own shell. The dish tasted of the ocean as it was served on top of various seaweed and tapioca rice pearls. Crispy herb tempura offered a crunchy textural contrast to the dish finished with wasabi and herb emulsion:
A 2006 Trocken Silvaner wine from Germany was earthy, crisp and paired perfectly with the seafood dishes:
Cherry tomatoes were served on top of fresh shelling beans and soft Idiazabal cheese balls. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the cherry tomatoes were peeled. Chef Fox shared that their peeling process involved a quick blanch of the fruit in 400F oil. Thin smoked crostini and a flavorful tomato consommé completed this delicious last-of-summer dish:
Sea urchin was served with trout roe, mashed potato, gem lettuce, purple mizuna, translucent crispy corn crackers, and pickled wasabi leaves. The uni from Santa Barbara may have been one of the best tasting shellfish “roe” that we have eaten:
Beets in different textures featured the root roasted, shaved, raw greens and as a unique marshmallow. Pumpernickel “dirt” added more crunch and sweetness, whereas the sorrel and smoked hay oil added earthy flavors:
More expensive than most meat by the pound, matsutake mushrooms are now in season. Shaved matsutake mushrooms and turnips are prominently featured in the douglas fir flavored custard. Puffed black rice and yuzu flavorings were the final components of this Japanese-inspired chawan mushi variation:
We switched over to red wine with this reasonably priced Côtes du Rhône which was very dense with slight citrus overtones:
Chef Fox explained that this next dish is Squid and Pork Belly version 2.3. They have had these 2 ingredients featured together in past menus, but this update includes soft boiled egg, smoked potatoes, pickled onion and herbs (parsley, pea leaves and tarragon). This breakfast for dinner was very successful:
The kitchen sent out a dish that is part of their current tasting menu: octopus served with almond gazpacho, fried bone marrow, and a preserved lemon-saffron emulsion. The marrow burst out some fatty goodness which acted as an additional sauce when the fried shell was broken into. Squid ink and wild fennel pollen added more flavor and aesthetic quality to the tender tentacle:
We ended the meal with an excellent thinly shaved corned beef tongue. The tasty upscale deli meat was served with brussel sprouts, white bean, thin rye crackers, a fried quail egg and finished with a scallop emulsion:
Too full for more food, we opted to drink the rest of the wine as our dessert. They provided us with petite four bites of bittersweet chocolate truffles and honey meringue (click on items toward the back to check out Lytro’s living picture capabilities):
Commonwealth is an excellent example of how a menu really doesn’t reflect how great the items are. Every dish that comes out of the kitchen features a great combination of excellent ingredients that are all beautifully and artistically plated. We ate almost every item off of their a la carte menu, and we’ll probably return for the other items in the next month or so. What we learned this time around is that even though we think we have had a dish before, Chef Fox continues to evolve and change the dishes so that it’s different every time.