Back in April, I wrote about BESHARAM, a restaurant from Heena Patel (of Rasoi), a La Cocina Incubator Program grad who has made a big impression with the flavors, execution, and creativity of her food, whether through her catering business or her CUESA Ferry Plaza farmers market stand. But with this, her first restaurant, she gets to stretch her wings and cook her food.
I was thrilled to attend a friends-and-family welcoming party over the weekend, and she shared that the fact this is happening is “beyond her imagination.” The name Besharam translates to “shameless” and is inspired by the fact that at 50, she’s following her own dreams and doing something she has always been too scared to do. She says, “I am doing this to prove to myself that I can do this.” Well, lucky us that she took the leap to open her first restaurant.
Read my previous post for more about her background—this Gujarati chef is bringing dishes and flavors we don’t have in the city, cooking from her heart and like we are guests in her (new) home. And what a home it is: she moved into the former Alta location at Minnesota Street Project in Dogpatch. (And the punchy plates from Hatecopy’s Maria Qamar jibe well with the artistic neighboring galleries and artists!)
She is starting with lunch service, with a menu that includes some of her previous creations, like blue cheese naan, as well as the classic street food dish of Mumbai: pav bhaji (toasted buns with spiced vegetable curry and a soft fried egg). Snacky bites, yes! She also weaves in a seasonal California sensibility, with her khichdi bowl (with fava dill rice, moong dal, ringan batata nu shaak), and a charred broccoli quinoa salad with arugula and pounded mint-cilantro drizzle. Gujarati cuisine is known for being vegetarian, so expect to be well taken care of if you don’t eat meat, but there are also meat dishes if that’s your preference. She makes so much by hand, like her rolled flatbread for a wrap (with paneer or chicken). Take a look at the menu and start thinking about a lunch date. Served Tue-Fri 11am-2:30pm.
She is working closely with her husband, Paresh, and the restaurant is a second collaboration between Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group and La Cocina graduates; they work closely with Restaurant Opportunities Center United, an advocacy group committed to addressing racial equity and encouraging diversity in the industry.
I’ll keep you posted on the menu after dinner launches (on May 31st!). Brunch is coming too, and they should also be able to start serving cocktails in a couple of weeks. Cheers to all of this. 1275 Minnesota St. at 24th St., 415-580-7662.
The talented and stunning Heena Patel at the friends and family party for her new restaurant, Besharam. Photo: © tablehopper.com.