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name and sign out front. Manny tells us that he decided to keep the sign and the name of the establishment, changing the fare served from “fast food to slow food.” The produce is bought daily from the local farmers market, and the menu is constantly changing. For its first year, Manny was the chef, host, and dishwasher for the restaurant. He makes it look easy, and is always cordial and charming and makes you feel at home. When asked what his favorite SF restaurant is, he says Quince (where he worked for some time) because it always uses the best ingredients and he has never had a bad meal there—a set of requirements that he applies rigorously to his own restaurant. Now Mr. Pollo runs on just two people a night, with the host taking orders and busing tables and the chef behind the small bar.

It’s surely the locally and daily sourced ingredients that give Mr. Pollo’s menu a sense of levity and casualness. By piecing together incredible meals based on what is most readily available and of the highest quality, Gimenez becomes the home chef we all wish we could be. Our last visit to Mr. Pollo started with a plate of Mizuna greens, marigold blossoms, figs, and grapes. Next came a mixture of heirloom tomatoes and lemon-basil-infused watermelon topped with black-truffle shavings. Then a mouthwatering chicken arepa that no doubt exceeds anything the restaurant’s namesake may have hastily put together in years past, followed by a tender slice of rib-eye steak lathered in a juniper berry marmalade and topped with fresh pea tendrils. Finally, fresh prawns alongside purple potatoes topped with a broccoli puree and pickled chile.

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    Dine at Mr. Pollo
    2823 Mission Street
    San Francisco
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This article was published:
Food Issue - Released October 2012
Issue 6 / Version 2 | Buy print copy here
Issue 11
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