By Omar Mamoon
By Kate Williams
By Pete Kane
By Molly Gore
By Lou Bustamante
By Anna Roth
Mission Chinese Food's Pork Dumplings
By Alex Hochman
I experienced culinary déjà vu after a first bite of Bowien's pork dumplings (six for $6), feeling for a moment like I was in Richmond, Va. Turns out the chef bathed the dumplings in a broth made from Benton's country ham — it tasted almost exactly like a sandwich I ate last summer at the venerable Sally Bell's Kitchen in that Southern city. When the ham flavor subsided, a bolt of ginger kicked in. We polished off all six in less than three minutes, then picked up the bowl and slurped the broth with all the grace of Spalding pounding leftover drinks in Caddyshack.
San Francisco, CA 94107
Region: South of Market
Lamb dumplings (six for $7) were rich and salty, gamy from their filling of lamb shoulder, minced braised peanuts, and lamb sweetbreads — that's right, sweetbreads. Following the dumplings' initial liquid burst, the peanuts gave up a slightly crunchy bite.
Bowien told me he's planning on rotating the fillings and hopes to offer fish dumplings soon. What's next, immersion circulators for sous-vide cooking? Why yes, actually. Between dumplings, I observed Myint installing them.
Mission Chinese Food: 2234 Mission (at 18th St.), 863-2800.
25 Lusk's Short Rib Slider
By John Birdsall
You take in the sleekness of 25 Lusk — its smoked mirrors, gleaming Scandinavian fireplaces, and enough slate tiles to strip a Brazilian quarry bare — and wonder if you've been sucked into some portal that opens to Vegas or Chicago, cities that swing their shine around like Marc Jacobs bags.
The 10-day-old SOMA restaurant is a place engineered for gawking, home-page portfolio material for design firm Cass Calder Smith. In its opening days, the city's stylerati showed up to gape. One night last week I spotted a fedora'd Jeremy Kidson of Jeremy's in 25 Lusk's sprawling basement lounge, seated with a bro at the otherwise empty bar on stools plated with so much chrome you strain to slide them.
The menu, though, from chef and partner Matthew Dolan (Emeril's, Cafe des Artistes, Garibaldis) is framed in bistro restraint. I recently nursed a shot of rye and a trio of bar snacks, three items for $14 from a list of eight. A pair of bacon-capped fried Pacific oysters in a scant pool of Brie Mornay were too big and too flabby, but Manchego-draped cauliflower flatbread got its textures right. Best of all was a braised short rib slider ($3 additional charge), turned lavish with a soft puck of foie gras torchon and a smear of something sweet and jammy. I would've ordered three of those alone, if I'd had the cash. Overkill? That hardly seems possible here.
25 Lusk: 25 Lusk (at Townsend), 495-5875.
Is Ippuku's Chicken Tartare Safe?
By Jonathan Kauffman
In the week following simultaneous restaurant reviews in the Chronicle and SF Weekly of Ippuku, a Japanese restaurant in Berkeley, the Chronicle's comments sections filled with disgust over a dish that both Chron critic Michael Bauer and I had loved: (raw) chicken tartare. Both of us quizzed the chef, Christian Geideman, about the safety of the dish. Both of us were told that since salmonella lives only in the digestive tracts of chickens, and since Geideman dipped strips of raw breast meat in boiling water for 30 seconds before cutting it up and seasoning it, he'd eliminated the threat of contamination.
I thought I might call around to the appropriate agencies to reassure readers that eating Ippuku's chicken tartare was, indeed, as safe as it was delicious. I started out with the Berkeley Environmental Health Department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which told me to contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Well, it was the weekend before a three-day weekend, so I left a few messages and let the question drop.
A week later, Manuel Ramirez, director of the Berkeley Environmental Health Department, called me back. And that's what I realized the implications of what I'd done.
"So what's the name of the restaurant?" he wanted to know. "We'll want to go check that out." I asked if anything was wrong. Ramirez told me that section 114004 of the California Health and Safety Code required restaurants to cook poultry to an internal temperature of 165 degrees for at least 15 seconds to ensure salmonella, campylobacter, and other pathogens were killed.
What about steak? I asked. Well, Ramirez said, checking the code, the allowed temperature was slightly lower, but the meat still needed to be fully cooked. And beef tartare? I pressed. Sushi?
Ramirez referred me to the online California Health and Safety Code and said, "If the restaurant is varying from what the code allows they would need to put together a HACCP [Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points] plan."
I believe that local and state health departments probably save the lives of millions of eaters every year. I also realized I'd just tattled on Geideman. Galvanized by a sense of urgency, I took up the search again.
The first piece of good news: After poring over the state code, which makes Robbe-Grillet read like US Weekly, I found the section dealing with tartare. Section 114093 states: