Curious About the Mission
It's nice that some people think I would know where some of the new and hot places are. Thank you to those folks, but in fact, I have a lot of places to try. The list is long. I do not have to add Curio to that list, however, I do need to go back and try their protein dishes as I went on Meatless Monday.
The invitation to preview Curio at 775 Valencia in the Mission district came to the Concierge team and we jumped on getting a reservation. Because of my schedule, I typically miss out on quite a few of these events but it was great to attend this one! I invited my #Instafriend, Julia. (What's an #Instafriend? I should probably do a blog post on that.)
We both arrived via our separate Ubers (use my code: cmo4h) and sat at the bar. The location is attached to The Chapel, a music venue I have yet to go to as a live music lover. It has two bars, three separate dining areas and a patio. The windows bring in a lot of natural light, the decor is a mix of wood, deep colors, neon, an assortment of clocks and bronze chandeliers.
The establishment was full of staff, standing around awaiting customers to come in, an extra attention to detail was made to every cocktail, dish and arrangement of the furniture. I know all about opening a restaurant and first impressions and I think they were doing a good job. They had their big smiles on and were very attentive. My first impression was of the hosts. Silly me, I didn't book the right date in OpenTable but they let me in anyways and I was happy to sit at the bar for front row seat to the bar action.
I waited for Julia to arrive and chatted it up a bit with Marjorie the Bartender. She was busy making drinks but smiling the entire time. I decided to get started on a cocktail and order the cheese board so Julia didn't have to wait to snack on something. I ordered the Unicorn. 1) because my Sunshine calls me that. 2) because it sounded pretty delicious and I typically don't order vodka based cocktails. It was vodka, pisco, strawberry, szechuan, lemon, amaro, benedictine, rainbow bitters, egg whites and strawberry dust. It was tasty and foamy.
Julia arrived and ordered the Banshee with light and dark rum, makrut lime, pineapple, coconut, turmeric, pebble ice, angostura bitters and fresh nutmeg. A bit sweet for my straight whiskey loving donker. I ordered the Mermaid because I just bought tickets to the SF Symphony showing of The Little Mermaid. It was another vodka cocktail with grapefruit, raspberry, mint, lime, seltzer and peach apertif. It wasn't my favorite but the Mermaid was left dry in no time.
We went to town with ordering food. We ordered the Impossible Burger (my first!) with crimini mushroom, tomato jam, fried onion and raclette cheese. The Baby Kale Salad with yellow wax bean, brussel sprouts, parmesan dressing and sourdough garlic bread. The Seasonal Fried Vegetables were beer battered and served with a sour cream and pepperconcini sauce. The cheese board of four cheeses, delicious lavash crackers and pita bread also came with honey, pickled vegetables that were very hot and beer mustard.
Hands down, the Impossible Burger was my favorite dish. I could not put it down. Julia and I split it so it was the perfect size but I'd go back again. She said Epic Steak's is pretty phenomenal. I'll take her word for it but hope to try it myself someday. My next favorite dish was the salad. I am a salad freak and I almost ordered one to go. It was delicious, flavorful and with different textures. I love me some garlic bread and bread in general but felt the bread was too hard. The vegetables and the sour cream mix was my next favorite. Veggies are so good for you, minus the fried and sour cream part but let's not dwell on that. The rammies full of goodies that accompanied the cheeses were great. But my favorite was the lavash crackers. They were like, well, crack. I paid no attention to the pita bread. They shouldn't even had pita'd on the board! OK, I'll stop.
Two friends showed up, a cocktail and wedding photographer and rep for San Francisco Magazine. Attending these sort of events are pretty common for them so they're always a great time. More the merrier. We then got to try more drinks on top of Marjorie's off the menu Negroni made with rum for Julia. That was tasty! I'm not a fan of Campari so well done, Marjorie. Jasmin ordered the Leprechaun with Bummer and Lazarus gin, apple, tarragon, lemon, pineapple, bay leaf and cochi americano. It was tasty! Then the man, Adam, had to show up these Eves and order the best cocktail of the evening, the Jackelope. Remembering that time I sat on the Jackelope at the Jackelope bar in Austin and always wanting to go to the Jackelope Bar here in San Francisco. His tasty cocktail had tequila, honeydew, tangerine, aloe, lemon, bianco vermouth, orange bitters and pink peppercorns. Wow. Get this one if you're only "going to have one drink." Good luck with that at Curio.
We were introduced to the talented Chef Mario Tolentino, formerly at Betelnut and The Market and one of my favorite shows, Chopped. And we got to chat with their Bar Manager, Darren Crawford. Great drinks and very friendly staff. This place is going to do well. Go check it out yourself if you're curious! You won't be disappointed.
Other related articles:
SF Eater - Here's the Menu for The Chapel's New Restaurant and Bar
AF & Co - Curio at The Chapel is Coming