Commonwealth is a contemporary American restaurant in the Mission district that focuses on local, sustainable and organic ingredients whenever possible. They also donate some dining proceeds to a local charity.
Why did we dine here? – Having eaten at their sister restaurant Mission Chinese, we felt we needed to give this place a try.
Summary – Innovative modern American food in a contemporary atmosphere, at reasonable prices.
Insider Tip – Order the tasting menu, but make sure your entire table agrees.
Cuisine – Contemporary American
Chef – Jason Fox
Location – Mission district
Opened – 2010
Decor, Vibe – Commonwealth has modern decor with hardwood tables, a bar next to the kitchen, framed beehives on the wall. The place was full of foodies from the 30s to 40s, although the counter seating had availability.
Commonwealth Menu features both an ever-changing tasting menu as well as 13 items on the à la carte menu. A couple selections for vegetarians. Wine pairings are available with the chef’s tasting menu.
Signature Dishes – Slow cooked farm egg, scallops, gnocchi
Complimentary potato chips with vinegar cream dip.
grilled chicken tsukune ($6) umeboshi, shiso, sushi Rice cracker were zesty chicken meatballs cooked to a medium rare. Juicy and tender, good way to start off a meal.
Asparagus, crushed avocado, nasturtium, olive, chicory root, almond, Meyer lemon ($13) had some beautiful asparagus perfectly cooked, along with some nice accent items.
Radishes in various forms, mache, goats milk powder, sunflower seeds ($11) was another modern salad full of interesting ingredients, yet still satisfying.
Potato Gnocchi black trumpet mushrooms, bloomsdale spinach, parmesan, truffle oil ($12) is a signature dish and rightly so. A must order that has some soft fluffy pasta, thin strips of mushroom, and a pretty good portion of pasta.
Sea Urchin, sweet potato tempura, chrysanthemum leaf, shiso, scallion, yuzu kosh ($15) inspired by Japanese cuisine, combined some tender tempura with a sweet creaminess of uni.
Dayboat Scallops, crushed peas, baby leek, gem lettuces, saffron, almond, coconut milk ($16) feature several huge scallops with perfect carmelization. A must get for any scallop fans.
Young hen, spot prawn, asparagus, spring onions, tarragon, crushed fingerling potato ($16) made for a pretty dish, but weird combination. Both the chicken, the prawn, and the sides were technically perfectly but did not gel together.
Lemon sponge cake, thyme ice cream, candied honey, crème fraîche ($8) was very good, a delicate dessert with very subtle thyme ice cream flavor.
Frozen coconut mousse, citrus salad, rau ram, sesame tuile ($8) was a refreshing dessert featuring a subtle coconut flavor within the light eeriness.
Peanut Butter Semifreddo, chocolate ganache, frozen popcorn, caramel ($8) is a signature dessert that is a must get. A little messy as you try to break up the chocolate, but a nice Reeses peanut butter cup inspired delight.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Grilled lamb shoulder, snap peas, artichoke, mint, green garlic, anchovy-bread emulsion ($16) surprised us with the gaminess of the lamb, while the rest of the dish was just fine, especially the tender beans.
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Service – Commonwealth had very good service that impressed us with the constant scanning of tables, napkin folding, water refills, and the general casual attitude with strong results.
Value – Prices are reasonable although we had to order more à la carte dishes than we expected.
Verdict – Commonwealth serves up cutting-edge American cuisine that is quite inventive coupled with very good service. This place should definitely be on the radar for foodies.