The Front Porch (29th between Mission and San Jose in the outer Mission) opened tonight...and by 6:45 every seat in the house was occupied. I guess even with Emmy's Spaghetti Shack and Blue Plate right around the corner, there is still room in my neighborhood for more inventive American food (yay for me).
A tad less expensive than its aforementioned neighbors, The Front Porch is cozy and relaxed with a distinctly funky vibe and a potentially high noise factor. Tonight, the overall energy of the room was very happy and positive. The menu is very very interesting. Service was friendly and genuine.
It's worth noting that they have a small but thorough wine list, several bottled beers, several draught beers, and a cask barleywine. After we ordered drinks, we were given two warm cornbread ladyfingers with a jalapeno butter (yum).
We started with Chicken Liver Pate bruschetta with mango chutney, and a Cherokee tomato salad with pickled wax beans, carrots, golden beets, mache and a creole mayo (or maybe it was Cajun?). The pate did have a metallic aroma, but it was nice with the chutney and the bread was toasted perfectly. It was well-constructed. The tomato salad was great -- surprisingly piquant, so I would avoid it if you're looking for a pure tomato experience.
For entrees, we enjoyed:
Fish and chips: fries were very lightly done, not to my liking. But the potatoes were fresh and sweet. The batter on the fish was crumbly and not doughy. The fish itself was juicy and flavorful. Malt vinegar was provided without asking.
Grits, crab and sweet corn porridge: WOW this dish was exceptional. Prepared with habanero and green onion, it managed to be hearty, intriguing, and refreshing all at the same time. Really innovative. If you love risotto and/or grits, order this.
The dessert list was "short and sweet" as our charming waitress told us. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting, apple crisp, and an interesting-sounding peach thing with pistachios and dried currants. We ordered the yellow cake, in part because our server informed us that it's baked by a neighborhood lady who is trying to put her daughter through college. But even without the good karma points, the cake was worth ordering. A blast from the past, it was satisfying, simple and moist.
I hate to gush so much about a brand-spanking new place, but it is definitely worth checking out. I am tempted to try to keep it a secret, but that seems futile and a bit selfish. Good food must be shared!!!