Namu's Braised Oxtail and Daikon
By Jonathan Kauffman
Oxtail braised with daikon and garlic sounds like a loud, blunt dish, a blaring assembly of strong flavors. But at Namu, Dennis Lee's take on a traditional Korean dish, kkori jjim, incorporates Japanese ingredients and French technique, coming out lilting and delicate.
Lee braises oxtail in housemade dashi for a few hours, then picks the meat out of the nooks of bone. Meanwhile, he strains and defats the stock, then reduces it to concentrate the flavors and gelatin in the broth, giving it a gloss that can be felt across the tongue. The daikon and garlic are braised separately.
Just before service, the meat, vegetables, and broth come back together for a final simmer — the oxtail meat now as tender as a ripple, the daikon tamed, the garlic custardlike. A final flourish: a scattering of shichimi, so that each spoonful of the stew hits the mouth with a delicate shimmer of spice. It's the sort of dish that makes you shush your tablemates — just for a second — to let you concentrate on. Not loud at all.
Namu: 439 Balboa (at Sixth Ave.), 386-8332.
Street Food Delivered
By Tamara Palmer
Thursdays at Mercury Lounge (1582 Folsom at 12th St.) brings Street Food 2 U, a new lunchtime mobile food service that offers delivery to certain areas of San Francisco. Last week's inaugural event featured green curry and spicy pork tacos from Magic Curry Kart, Cuban black bean soup and bacon crack from Nosh This, and apple-pear tartlets from Sweet Constructions. Delivery to Civic Center and SOMA with a $35 minimum (phone orders between 11 a.m. and noon, 551-1582). Otherwise you can do takeout, or eat on-site at Mercury Lounge,11 a.m.-2 p.m.