Ever since Mr. and Mrs. CAsper introduced us to 54 Mint, it has become one of my favorite restaurants and is probably part of an elite group of restaurants that I’ve visited more than once and would choose to visit more times in the future. It’s a quaint little place (albeit in the oddest of locations). This was the first time Pdho and I had come for lunch, and as we walked to the restaurant, we noticed an array of different characters just hanging out in Mint Plaza. The homeless, mentally unstable, artsty fartsy types, everyone under the sun was literally sitting out enjoying the sun. It’s a little odd because the Mint Plaza area has a number of nicer restaurants serving menus with multiple dollar signs, but when you think about its proximity to the more questionable part of SoMa, it’s rather expected. Normally, something like this would probably take away from my dining experience, but being that I have lived up here for awhile now, I’ve grown somewhat more used to the product of San Francisco’s liberal social policies.
So even though I’ve been a couple of times before and eaten some of the same delicious mainstay dishes, I still manage to fall in love with something new each time that I think it’s worth capturing the experience again. So here goes…..
Although we tried this last time, it is definitely one of the most of interestingly creative dishes I’ve ever had. It’s amazing how thinly the squid is sliced and how pretty it looks laid across the plate. It’s a very nice presentation, and the simple garnishes and subtly tangy seasoning of the squid make a really delicious dish.
The Rigatoni alla Carbonara was probably the best version of this dish that I’ve ever had. Normally, this dish tends to be too peppery or too cheesy for my liking. In this dish, the sauce still had a creamy and every so light cheesy flavor, but it didn’t taste as heavy. Usually, I think pecorine romano cheese is used in carbonara preparations, and I’m not sure if that was the case here, but it was very light. The best component on the dish was the smoked pancetta which provided a nice exclamation point to the whole dish. The punch of salt and crispy texture of the pieces of pork really brought the dish to life.
The Fettuccine al Funghi was another equally delicious dish. The fettuccine pasta was notably well-prepared. Being homemade, the pasta was a little thicker than the dried variety, but it was cooked perfectly al dente. The mix of wild mushrooms provided a nice earthy flavor to the cream sauce which was unexpectedly light in consistency.
We called it quits at this point and decided that we didn’t need any dessert. I think it took great restraint for Pdho since he often likes to end the meal with a little sweetness to help cleanse the palate, but considering my efforts to compete in this fat loss contest, I decided that I had enough carbs for the day, so the decision was quite easy for me. We were both quite satisfied with the meal. The food at 54 Mint never seems to disappoint us, and I look forward to our next visit again.
16 Mint Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94103
PAFO Ratings for 54 Mint:
Price 3 ½ stars
Ambiance 4 stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 4 stars