Anchored by Nopa on Divisadero/Hayes and Poleng on Fulton/Masonic, our little neighborhood is blossoming...and, like the unfolding of a lotus, Poleng began serving Asian streetfood/small plates on June 23 — we walked in without reservations last night at 6:30 pm and by 7:30 pm the front lounge was filled; happy talk, drinks, and spectacular bites. I think we were lucky to get a table.
Chef Tim Luym has a deft hand on the menu; finely crafted with bright, bold tastes, beautifully presented and detailed. - We started with the Crispy Adobo Wings, six chicken wing drumetts fried to crispness with a sweet garlic glaze and a garnish of shredded jicama, $6. This is good drinking fare and well-matched to beers/cocktails/tea elixirs.
-The Half Moon Ahi Poke is lightly seasoned Yellowfin tuna and flecked with tobiko - no mushiness here from sitting too long - it was bouncing with its freshness. The deep-fried gyoza skins are perfect half moons for scooping. $9.95 garnished with smoky salted edamame.
-Salpicao with Marrow, $9.95; slices of seared garlic flank steak(perfectly pink), mango salsa, poached marrow in the bone and coconut bread sticks. This dish worked better for my DH; it's the mango salsa that balances the richness of the marrow and the flank steak.
-Here's my fave: Indo-Thai Eggplant Temple, $7.50 with wedges of Roti Prata for dipping in the curried peanut sauce with slices of Thai Green/Indian Purple eggplant. This presentation delighted me most with its colorful stack of eggplant, the grilled roti and the edible bowl for the dipping sauce.
-We ended the evening with the CocoVanilla Bean Tapioca with Basil Seeds, $5.50 - a light, refreshing finish garnished with toasted coconut flakes and basil seeds.
By 10 pm the Lounge morphs into its music venue in the Temple Room.
Whether it's the Balinese dualities or just something-for-everyone, the next opening of its petals reveals afternoon Tea service at Poleng on July 22. I'll be there. The tea menu is extensive; I had the Golden Heaven Yunnan tonight and next, I think I'll try the Paris Burbon Black, a tea infused with vanilla bean and Bergamot, aged in bourbon casks; or the Jasmine Dragon Pearl Green tea, or...perhaps, I just can't decide with so many intriguing choices. http://polenglounge.com/tea.html
1751 Fulton Street @ Masonic Avenue