Mint Plaza Redux – What’s New and Happening Now
San Francisco’s Mint Plaza, that L-shaped wedge of open space behind the old Mint Building at the corner of 5th and Mission, is bustling once again with restaurants, food trucks and events. Just steps away from the Westfield Center and Union Square, Mint Plaza is a relaxing refuge from the holiday bustle, a place to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. Here is what you need to know now about what is happening in and around the Plaza.
The address may confuse you – 54 Mint is located at 16 Mint Plaza (blame the city for the indecipherable renumbering) – but the exciting Roman food from Chef Mattia Marcelli and Roman owner Gianluca Legrottaglie has meant 54 Mint has been busy since it first opened in 2009. Beef saltimbocca with pancetta and sage is a perennial favorite while newer dishes like grilled octopus with and tomato-braised oxtail have found a dedicated following. Al fresco dining on the terrace at dinner or at lunch when the sun is warming the pavers is a highlight but don’t forget to peek downstairs at the wine cellar, loaded with indigenous Italian varietals.
Exposed concrete walls frame tall tables and a white marble bar downstairs at Oro, the newest restaurant from Commonwealth chef Jason Fox and partner Timothy Felkner of Vigilante Hospitality. Open for dinner since mid-September, the two story newcomer offers approachable, seasonal dishes in bar bites such as sea urchin with scrambled egg and pickled jalapeño or larger plates that feed a crew such as the roasted whole rock cod, broccoli, summer pepper and celery salsa. Go for the blind tasting menu and let the chef surprise you, dish after intriguing dish.
With an anticipated opening date of early 2016, Hashiri, which translates from Japanese as “the beginning of the season,” will soon greet customers with a four seasons menu of sushi and kaiseki. A spin-off from Hashiri Daikanyama restaurant in Tokyo, Hashiri plans to bring in a Grand Sushi Chef from Hashiri Tokyo under the direction of executive chef Takashi Saito (Yuzuki, Ame and Pabu). Shinichi Aoki, the long-term Executive Chef at Mitsunobu is also on board. Seigo Takei of Keiko a Nob Hill is consulting with the Hashiri team to build an extensive, Burgundy-focused wine list. Dassai and other Japanese sake along with Japanese whiskey will be served.
Their website, currently under construction, will be: www.hashirisf.com
Open since 2008, Blue Bottle quickly energized this once sleepy nook of a neighborhood. A full breakfast and lunch menu (think sunny side up eggs with roasted cauliflower or roasted lemon tarragon chicken salad sandwich) are highlights at this busy location of this well-regarded, Oakland-grown coffee roaster and brewer.
Food Trucks and Other Carts
Food trucks rotate in and out of the parking spaces along Jessie Street on the Plaza’s north side but a few have become regulars.
Del Popolo serves a classic margarita pizza or fennel sausage pizza from its on-board wood-fired oven. They are on the Plaza every Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Acai bowls, smoothies and juices are on tap at Bowl D’ Acai, weekdays from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The epic lines at the nearby Blue Bottle Café inspired a Blue Bottle Mint Mobile, daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Every Thursday from 12 to 3 p.m. and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tulipan Floral Design, from owner and lead designer, Dorothy Kelley-Farias, brings its unique cut flowers and branches, to the Plaza. Aariety of local and sustainably grown flowers from Coyote Family Farm and other local purveyors are available as are custom arrangements.
Follow @mintplaza on Twitter for live updates.