March 16, 2012

March 16, 2012
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The six bowling lanes at Mission Bowling Club. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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On the patio: a living wall of plants and a bowling pin made from scrap wood. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The bar. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The infamous Mission Burger is back. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Ham ‘n Swiss bucatini. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Mission Bowling Club exterior. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Opening Monday March 19th, ~MISSION BOWLING CLUB~ is going to be a fantastic addition to the Mission, hell, the city! A few former pieces are on tablehopper about this unique project opening in a former warehouse from owners Sommer Peterson and Molly Bradshaw.

As soon as you approach the spacious building, you get a sense that it’s going to be something different. The outdoor patio has a bit of a country-rustic vibe to it, with clever touches like an overhead and gleaming bowling ball installation (by Winslow Warren) that is actually made of cat food cans, and a living wall full of plants (the shelves are made from the metal gate that was previously on the property), with a bowling pin in the middle made from scrap wood from the project. There will also be at least six outdoor tables and covered bike parking.

Inside, there is a downstairs dining area along with an upstairs mezzanine (rentable for private events, with room for 20), a fully stocked bar, and there are six gleaming bowling lanes under a mural by Andrew Shoultz and Andres Guerrero (each lane has its own tufted leather couch). You can rent a lane from 3pm-6pm for $35 an hour (up to six people), 6pm-8pm for $45, and $55 an hour after 8pm. Some may scoff at the pricing, but keep in mind Presidio Bowl can go up to $7.25 per person per game, and you don’t get the ambiance and style you do here. Pardon the pun, heh heh, but Mission Bowling Company is in another league entirely. There will be three lanes available to reserve ahead of time via phone or the website, and another three that are first come, first served (the owners want to make sure people can always come by and bowl). Oh, and in the evening, wait until the black lights get switched on the pins. Groovy.

As for the menu, Anthony Myint (Mission Street Food, Commonwealth, Mission Chinese Food) and his talented team have crafted an approachable menu, and yet each dish that comes out shows a definite culinary pedigree and technique. This was only a test dinner, so things are going to change and be tweaked in coming weeks, but it was an impressive beginning. There are snacks like the flavor-packed Thai beef jerky ($5), which is actually made with beef and papaya; the everything pretzel ($5) with whipped lardo and mostarda that you slather on top; and a spring roll ($7) with peas, radishes, mint, cocoa butter, rice, and nori. Food on a stick includes a sausage corn dog ($6), a juicy sausage (it’s braised) with a light exterior of cornmeal, flour, and hominy—no overly bready corndog here—and wait until you dip it in the habañero crema. It’s served launching from a wood plate that was actually a piece of excess plank from the brand-new bowling lanes. It looks like an inappropriate, uh, meat rocket—and is sure to get comments. Hey, we’re all 14-year-old boys in our brains somewhere (some more than others).

There are three variations of salads, including a steak salad ($12) with thinly sliced hanger steak, olive relish, arugula, fresh mozzarella, and the always-welcome addition of thin potato chips. Larger plates include French onion casserole ($14), a half-chicken with little gems ($20), and the decadent and delicious ham ‘n’ Swiss bucatini ($14), a riff on a dish from a former Mission Street Food chef (Collins Anderson).

And then, of course, there’s the famed Mission burger ($15), a half-pound of beef (brisket, chuck, and hanger from Harris Ranch) that is aged and then granulated—a Heston Blumenthal technique—and then cooked in beef fat, which gives it an amazing crusty exterior. It comes with caramelized onions, Monterey Jack cheese, and caper aioli—you really want to split that bad boy with someone, trust (it’s a beast of a burger). $1 of every burger is donated to local, youth serving organizations. (Oh, and you can have the burger for $10 during happy hour, from 3pm-6pm, and in the evening after 10pm.) Vegans have their own burger ($10), a fritter of chickpea, kale, and shiitake, topped with spicy guacamole and fennel slaw.

Save room for dessert, like the coffee cake ($8), a layered cake of buckwheat financier with mascarpone, buttercream, and an exterior layer of chocolate, in a bubbly espresso bath. Everything is charmingly served on vintage plates.

The full bar has cocktails like the MBC Cooler, with rye whiskey, grapefruit, Dolin Blanc, soda, and allspice, and the TBD (to be named after the first person who bowls a perfect game), made with mezcal, dry vermouth, jalapeño jam, and lime (specialty cocktails are $10). The bar staff has some talented folks from neighborhood bars and Comstock Saloon. Beer lovers, you have nine on tap to choose from, including Lagunitas, Magnolia, Blind Pig IPA, and PBR ($3).

The space is full of artistic touches, from the suspended wood bowling pin and ball near the bar, to all kinds of cool pieces on the walls. The goal was to really reflect the neighborhood, and to create a comfortable space for people to hang out. (They succeeded.) For the first week, hours are 6pm-11pm. Starting Monday March 26th, MBC will open at 3pm, with happy hour from 3pm-6pm, and dinner service from 6pm-close. MBC will close at 11pm every night except for Thu-Sat, which will be midnight. They plan to open for Family Bowl at noon on Sat and Sun starting March 31st, and at 10am once brunch kicks in after a couple months. Families are welcome to bowl from 10am-7pm on the weekends, but MBC will be 21 and over Mon-Fri.