Monday, April 4, 2011

Opening Weekend at Bun Mee

I rarely get the chance to experience a brand new place in SF before I am influenced by hundreds of reviews on Yelp, so when I read that a Vietnamese fusion street food joint just opened in Pacific Heights, I made it a Sunday lunch destination. Bun Mee opened just a few days ago, serving fresh Vietnamese sandwiches, salads, and other simple lunch fare with a twist clearly influenced by the owner growing up in New Orleans. There's already a lot of buzz since we love our street food novelties around here. But sometimes being too popular can hurt you, and I think that was the theme of my visit to Bun Mee.

Every new eatery seems to need a little bit of time to iron out some newbie kinks. But the layout of the place is not conducive to it being popular, and that's not something that I think can be fixed with time. The line for placing orders is within the small dining area so there is nowhere for people to wait for to-go orders without blocking restaurant traffic; there's a bar in the back along the open kitchen but you have to climb over people to get there; no one bothers to explain to you how the seating even works (seating is first-come-first-serve). Everyone who worked there looked stressed and not a single person smiled; I know it's busy but remember that as a food business, that's a good thing, and you need to smile about it. We ordered four items and when the girl at the register repeated our order back to us, two of the items were wrong. Not off to a good start.

As for the food, I will say that the Imperial rolls were great. They were crunchy, fresh, and full of salty and meaty flavor and the tangy dipping sauce was a nice contrast. I also got the "Bun Mee combo", which was supposed to come with roasted pork, pâté, mortadella, and garlic aioli. It arrived having not been cut in half, even though other sandwiches were. Also not cool. If there was roasted pork in my sandwich, I could not see or taste it. For the first half that I ate, all I could taste was a big glob of pâté and some bland carrots and daikon that didn't seem to be pickled like I'd expect in a bánh mì. As you can see in the photo, the cilantro was only on one side of the sandwich. It had clearly been prepared with haste instead of love, which is just too bad.

Bun Mee is located at 2015 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, California 94115.

| Photo Credit: Me. |

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