Local’s Corner, a small ~30 seat restaurant opened last year by co-owners Yaron Milgrom and Chef Jake Des Voignes, is located less than 1/2 a mile away from their other restaurant, Local: Mission Eatery. Set in a quiet corner of the Mission, the tiny glass-fronted restaurant specializes in seafood dishes created around the limitations of the kitchen, which is outfitted with only a small convection oven, an induction burner (or 2) and a sous-vide machine. The food that Chef Des Voignes and his minimal crew provide from the cramped open kitchen is pretty amazing — it could easily rival any restaurant with fully equipped ovens, burners and hoods.
The menu features raw oysters and fewer than 20 dishes separated out in Oysters, Sea, Land and Larder designations. Even with the smaller menu format, it was hard for us to narrow down what to get. We were seated at the chef’s counter where we were given the option of a tasting menu at a reasonable price, but we decided to go a la carte to share and try out as many of the different dishes that our hunger would allow. Since seafood is their specialty, we decided to stick with the Sea portion of the menu for our excellent meal.
We almost always order a dish when it contains “egg” and “caviar,” and this version was not a disappointment. The sous-vide egg decadently topped with fish roe was served with leek strips, lettuce, brioche croutons and a buttermilk cream:
We also like the idea of having someone else peel the Dungeness Crab for us, so we had to get the crustacean salad served with fennel, spring onion, sliced radishes, cara cara orange and chervil. Happily keeping our fingers clean, there was a generous amount of crab underneath the citrus, onion and herb salad:
All of the wines on their list are from California, which feature small producers with some unusual blends. We had tried a glass of this off-dry Californian Central Coast wine while waiting for our seats and decided that it was a great pairing for seafood. The Giornata wine is made from a blend of Friulano, Moscato and Chardonnay grapes. The wine label playfully stated “Inspired by Italy, Crafted in California,” which actually matches our preference for domestic wines:
It’s a great year for herring fishing in the San Francisco Bay, so we had to try their version of local pickled herring. The crock of fish was served with toasted slices of their house-made seeded bread, and a side of beet and carrot salad:
The chef told us that each jar of herring is pickled overnight. Part of the fun of eating the pickled herring was fishing out the fresh tasting filets from the pot:
The Oyster Pot Pie came with a perfectly baked flaky crust and was served with a simple treviso salad on the side:
The delicious pot pie featured a couple of oysters, potatoes and carrots baked in a rich sauce lightly flavored with rosemary. It hadn’t dawned on us that oysters could easily replace chicken in this comfort food standard, but it makes perfect sense:
The Seafood Stew contained a generous amount of sturgeon, mussels, carrots, turnips and potatoes cooked in a seafood broth lightly flavored with kaffir lime leaves:
The check arrived with perfect squares of fruit gelée which had the right amount of sweetness to end the excellent meal:
Local’s Corner is a neighborhood gem that truly embodies the meaning of eating “locally.” The menu is very seasonal and changes frequently based on what is available from the local purveyors or even Chef Des Voignes’ backyard garden (e.g. kaffir lime leaves). Each of the courses incorporated plenty of vegetables either as a side or as part of the main dish which made it seem more healthy. Chef Des Voignes may be working out of a limited kitchen here, but his food shows no boundaries.
Feb 2015 Update
Local’s Corner is now permanently closed.