To many in San Francisco, Manny Torres Gimenez's Mr. Pollo felt like a discovery. The chef's tasting menus were a blend of old Mission District and new, Venezuelan standards cross-pollinated with a global sensibility. For $20, the pocket-sized hole in the wall served a four-course tasting menu made from farmers' market produce and meats, with optional Venezuelan arepa. After Gimenez left, at the close of 2012, to do a similar concept at nearby Roxy's Café, the owner of Mr. Pollo hired Jonny Becklund, one of Gimenez's former cooks to keep Mr. Pollo going.
Some wondered if Becklund would evolve Mr. Pollo or simply copy his old boss. But Chowhound mariacarmen says the new Mr. Pollo is worth a visit. Her four-course dinner inlcuded a light Vietnamese-style soup with a ginger-infused broth, followed by a "sincerely perfect" buttery pile of shrimp and grits (pictured). Stuffed with cheese and carnitas, an arepa seemed too heavy even when split, especially since a tart, rose-water-flavored yogurt dessert was worth saving room for.
Mr. Pollo [Mission District]
2823 Mission Street, San Francisco
Photo from Chowhound user mariacarmen