photo credit Jackson Solway
Underneath a backdrop of ominous night sky and dimly lit mexican mercados, one will find Commonwealth. This under-the-radar gem has generated prolific buzz on various media outlets, but has held true to a sense of mysticism for the adventurous diner who desires to be dazzled by eclectic dishes. The cuisine served at Commonwealth embraces evolutionary cooking methods, progressive plating and versatile flavors. Gourmands can indulge on Michelin star quality food without pretension or the price tag. Chef Jason Fox and team have created a powerhouse concept that not only embodies honest food but gives back to the the local community (Mission District) by donating a percentage of their proceeds to people in need.
Entering Commonwealth my eyes immediately gravitated towards the open kitchen. I scurried over to the bar close to the kitchen and grabbed a seat, the waiter then took my drink order and delivered a bowl of house-made potato chips dusted with nori powder. As I slowly sipped my decadent brew, my soul gleefully gazed in awe at the inner-workings of Chef Fox’s soigné kitchen. Fox played the role of expeditor like a conductor leading a symphony orchestra; in fluid motion and speechless direction the sauté cooks nodded to his every whim, while the pastry chef chilled cream with clouds of liquid nitrogen. Watching this beautiful culinary symphony unfold in front of my eyes was utterly refreshing. Commonwealth is not just a restaurant but a force in the culinary world seeking to change food for the better whether it’s on your plate or in the hands of impoverished youth in San Francisco.
House Made Potato Chips sprinkled with Nori Powder + Vinegar Mousse
A non-traditional amuse bouche that’s not only fun to eat, but surprises the palate with delicate oceanic salinity from the nori. These chips are perfect paired with a beer in hand. The sweetness of the stout (Velvet Merlin) cut through the acidity of the vinegar mousse while highlighting the flavors of the nori.
Oatmeal Crusted Foie Gras, Rhubarb, Garden Sorrels, Brioche, Ginger Gelée
Despite my fill of foie gras as of late, this foie dish was surprisingly subtle. Flavors of earthy rhubarb, sorrels and ginger balanced out the rich fattiness of the foie. Dipping the brioche into the oat crusted foie provided a crunchy texture to the last bite.
Fennel Ice Cream, Avocado, Celery, Walnut, Kumquat, Black Pepper Tuile
This playful Alice-in-Wonderland-esque dish served as an intermezzo in-between courses. The fennel ice cream along with the avocado cleansed my palate with a revitalizing herbaceousness, while the kumquats provided acidity and sweetness to the dish.
Duck Breast, Celery Root, Kale, Grapefruit, Carolina Gold Rice, Dried Autumn Leaves, Tea Jus
Literally one of best duck dishes I’ve ever had in my life! Grilled to a perfect medium-rare and drizzled with an alluring earl-grey-like tea au jus. The soft piquancy of colorful veggies, puffed carolina gold rice and autumn leaves complimented the meatiness of the duck breast. Bite after bite was evolutionary.
Beer Meringue, Chocolate Ganache, Pretzel Crumble, Creme Fraiche Ice Cream
Have your beer and eat it to with this light yet decadent dessert. Airy creme fraiche ice cream highlights the rich flavors of the ganache while the pretzel crumble gave a crispy texture to the simplicity of the dish.