Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Burma Superstar : San Francisco

According to friends, this is a San Francisco establishment that everyone should try at least once. Apparently, besides the food, part of the charm is that it doesn't take reservations and instead does a first-come-first-sit queueing list, for which the general wait-times are 1 1/2 to 2 hrs long and where you generally have to wait outside in the chilly San Francisco fog. Sounds endearing already, doesn't it?

Fortunately, Burma Superstar is located on Clement St in the Richmond district, which is a fairly bustling Chinatown type area and you can opt to have Burma Superstar give you a ring by leaving your mobile phone number on the list. As a result, you can wander around the area a bit to pass the time. My gf and I ended up stopping at a Chinese tea shop called Aroma Tea Shop, where they do free tea tastings, as well as a number of other places in our 1 1/2 hr wait.

So was the wait worth it?

Well, no.

I can't say that any of the meals that I've ever had in my entire life are worth a near 2 hr wait, let alone this one. That being said, the food was pretty solid.

Tea Leaf Salad - Salad prepared with imported Burmese tea leaves, tomatoes, lettuce, dried shrimp (or vegetarian), fried garlic, sesame seeds, peanuts, and split yellow peas. This was good, but something I think any half-creative salad lover/vegetarian could have come up with at home. I mean seriously, pick a bunch of random complementary ingredients and toss them together.

Vegetarian Samusa Soup - Made with samusas broken up with falafels, lentils, cabbage, and onions. This hit the spot after waiting outside; combine decently strong flavors of a samusa with a texture and taste of an Indian dhal soup. The samusas were not too soggy, meaning they weren't just sitting in the soup all day long. Not bad.

Classic Burmese Chicken Casserole with Cardamom Cinnamon Rice - Braised chicken and shrimp buried in a clay pot and baked with biryani rice, raisins, and nuts. The chicken was a touch dry, but the combination of sauce with the nuts, raisins and rice was a good range of textures and tastes. The overall taste of this had a slight autumnal flavor going on, which is bizarre since the west coast doesn't really have autumn. Perhaps a late summer?

All in all this was some pretty decently made food. However, these San Franciscoans have to lay off the ganja a little, as I just do not understand the 2 hour wait.

I should mention that there are a few options for the smart/impatient: 1) You can call ahead and have your name put on the list, 2) you can do take-out or 3) there is a sister restaurant, called B Star Bar, 1 1/2 blocks away from Burma Superstar, which has some of the sames dishes without the line.

Burma Superstar
309 Clement St. San Francisco CA 94118 (map)
(415) 387-2147
Yelp | Chowhound

B Star Bar
127 Clement St San Francisco, CA 94118 (Map)
(415) 933-9900
Yelp | Chowhound

($Indian, $Recommended, $SF)

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