Faced with a rumbling stomach and full tables all over Chinatown this afternoon, I waited for a counter stool at Star Lunch, bent on getting a bowl of noodle-sized noodles with beef tendon, which I eventually succeeded in doing. The dish was hearty if unremarkable: slightly undercooked noodles, overcooked beef tendon (but in generous quantity) in a rich but not very savory broth.
The "stinky tofu" at Star Lunch is another story. I had previously posted about an unenthusiastic reaction to it based on finding the chou doufu overly "chou" and (not coincidentally) the place lacking in ventilation. Today, though, everyone around me seemed to be eating it and the mingled aromas of the tofu and the dipping sauces were postively heavenly (which might have something to do with the City finally fixing the broken sewer main around the corner on Kearny, now that I think of it).
Finally, after wandering around at the street festival with my mind on that stinky tofou, I HAD to go back and get an order to go. I thought it was great and my wife thought it was great. The other passengers on my #45 bus seemed to have mixed reactions. Star Lunch's chou doufu is more impolitely "chou" than the usual restaurant variety, but not quite as chou as the Asian street vendor variety (particularly as served up by the ones who keep getting rousted by the local police).
I WANT to love the Star Lunch. It's the consummate hole-in-the-wall, and the Chinese sign simply reads "Shanghai Small Eats", and that's the Siren's call to me.
605 Jackson St. near Kearny, San Francisco.
Counter service only.
"Stinky tofu" and some other specialties served Saturdays and Sundays only.