Back in January, I reported that BODEGA SF was working on opening a brick-and-mortar location in the former Mason House in Union Square/Tenderloin after popping up at Rooster & Rice in the Castro. (Read my original piece for background on this special Northern Vietnamese family business that has its roots on Larkin.)
Have you tried chef-owner Matt Ho’s delicate banh cuon? They’re hard to find around town and so delicious—you’ll see them on the lunch menu. There’s also bánh khọt on the menu, those incredible Vietnamese shrimp-turmeric-coconut cupcakes, as well as dry hu tieu, one of my favorites (rice noodles with shredded chicken, shrimp, ground pork, housemade fish cake [which totally rocks], cucumbers, cilantro, and crispy shallots in a garlic soy sauce or dry shrimp ragù that you mix up). You’ll also see some former Bodega Bistro classics: beef pho, shaking beef (bring on the Maggi butter), and I’m gonna keep a candle lit for the squab to return.
Look for elevated service and presentations (Ho has over 10 years of experience in fine dining), but a family-style vibe and casual atmosphere will keep things social and fun. Lunch will offer more traditional dishes, while dinner service will bring some modernized and creative presentations (like bánh khọt caviar and the bo luc lac comes with Maggi-truffle butter) and whole fish cha ca, plus a tasting menu for $88. There are also cocktails with ingredients like pandan and lemongrass. Hours are Mon and Wed-Sun 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. 138 Mason St. at Eddy.
Bo tai chanh (beef carpaccio) at Bodega SF. Photo: Erin Ng.