Ugh, I have a secret to share named Mr. Pollo. And this one is so good, it kind of hurts to let it out.
If you are familiar with tasting menus, you know they can run you hundreds of dollars, offering several set courses over an evening that are purposely paired and ordered together to deliver culinary divinity.
What if I told you, you could have the same experience for a fraction of the price? Say a mere $25-30 for 4 full-size courses? Yup. You heard me — read on for the full scoop.
Mr. Pollo Restaurant
Now that you are really paying attention, let me introduce Mr. Pollo. Mr. Pollo is a fantastic hidden gem in deep Mission near 24th Street. This restaurant is the epitome of a funky, whole-in-the-wall spot. You open the door, push through a few wispy black curtains, and find yourself in front of the bar/chef’s counter, only two steps in front of you. And just two steps to your left, two small tabletops. Two steps to your right, two more small tabletops. Yup, this joint is cozy and has a max occupancy of 12 people. Prepare for some intimate dining.
The Mr. Pollo restaurant does 3 seatings at 6:00, 7:45, and 9:30 pm each night. In order to make a reservation, you must call or, conveniently, text their listed number. Mr. Pollo is seamlessly run by two individuals: our chef cooking up each of our courses, and his partner who plays the role of reservationist, host, waiter, and food runner. The two have got the rhythm down, projecting a casual, effortless vibe, matched by the reggae music playing lightly over the speakers.
Mr. Pollo Menu
The first course is usually a seasonal salad of some sort, followed by their trademark arepas. The third main course usually involves some seasonal meats and vegetables, then ending with a dessert. There is no website and no way to find out the menu prior, so prepare to be surprised and remove your expectations.
For our Mr. Pollo experience, our first course was a beet and cucumber salad over a herbed yogurt, served with a few small greens and pepitas. Refreshing and filling.
Next course: arepa magic. Pulled pork, a mysterious green sauce, melted Mexican cheese and sauteed onions and peppers sandwiched between two pieces of fried cornmeal. ON POINT.
Matching the fall season, the main course was a perfectly cooked piece of lamb, accompanied by sweetly-seasoned sweet potato mash (there were flavors I couldn’t even name in this — in a good way) and sautéed kale with pomegranate seeds. Fullness level closing in on 100%…
Dessert. Chatting with the chef from the bar seating, he starts to discuss the dessert, “…I just wanted to make something I would want to eat, ya know? Like warm cookies and ice cream, you can’t go wrong with that.”
No, no you can’t.
The ice cream was a subtle, salted caramel flavor (unlike many other versions of this flavor which are sadly way over sweetened). The chocolate chip cookie was thick and gooey, with that crunchy bottom, fresh out of the oven. Add a drizzle of caramel sauce, a puff of whipped cream and a small cherry, and you have yourself a very nice little sundae indeed.
Nothing more I can say. Just amaze.
To learn more about Mr. Pollo, check them out on their Yelp page.