's Heaven's Dog
elevates Americanized, non-region-specific Chinese food from the realm of fold-out delivery menus, red-and-white takeout boxes, and gloppy sauces cloaking fried nuggets of indeterminate meat to slicker, more stylish, reasonably refined territory: cork walls, soft lighting, and fancy cocktails without silly umbrellas. However, our favorite thing to eat
at the SOMA restaurant would be just as delectable served, not on a glazed, solid-color plate, but a paper napkin, or even a sheet of newspaper.
Phan's pork bun ($9 for three) is a revelation ― the pale, slider-sized buns as soft as pillows, more delicate than the laciest injera, sliced open to house slippery, succulent braised pork-belly pieces lightly topped with a dark sauce redolent of cinnamon. If only we could afford to buy them by the sack like White Castles.
Heaven's Dog 1148 Mission (at Seventh St.), 863-6008.