San Francisco’s Farmhouse Kitchen opens glitzy Thai restaurant in Menlo Park, indoor dining included | Peninsula Foodist | Elena Kadvany

San Francisco Thai restaurant Farmhouse Kitchen has opened a glitzy new location in Menlo Park, offering limited indoor and outdoor dining, takeout and delivery.

Farmhouse Kitchen has revamped the 4,000-square-foot space at 1165 Merrill St., across from the Caltrain station, decking it out with opulent decorations (including handmade gold Thai chandeliers and flower wall), a private dining room, a lounge area with velvet chairs and gleaming full bar. The restaurant opened barely a week after San Mateo County announced that indoor dining could resume at 25% capacity or with 100 people, whichever is fewer.


The ornate dining room at Farmhouse Kitchen in Menlo Park. Photo courtesy Farmhouse Kitchen.

But the “new normal guidelines” for dining in at Farmhouse Kitchen includes a health screening, temperature check, masks required when diners aren’t eating or drinking and parties of no more than six people with reservations capped at 90 minutes. The restaurant also charges a $3 “COVID-19 sanitation fee” per table.

Kasem Saengsawang, a native of Thailand, opened his first Farmhouse Kitchen in San Francisco in 2015. The restaurant was inspired by the food he ate and cooked growing up in Loei, a rural province in northeast Thailand, but he spent much of his adult years in Bangkok.

Saengsawang now runs five restaurants, including one in Portland, Oregon. He recently moved to Menlo Park so plans to be a frequent presence at this location.


A Farmhouse Kitche appetizer: sesame-crusted ahi tuna with cucumber, seaweed salad, lemongrass and spicy chili lime. Photo courtesy Farmhouse Kitchen.

Saengsawang describes his cooking style as “contemporary.” The Farmhouse Kitchen Menlo Park menu spans Northern and Southern Thailand, including dishes like pineapple fried rice, lobster pad thai, 24-hour beef noodle soup and slow-braised short rib served with panang curry, a dish the menu says is “reminiscent” of the large childhood meals Saengsawang would cook in Thailand for his family.


The “Little Lao table set,” a $120 chef’s choice meal set that includes numerous dishes and drinks, is available at the Menlo Park location. Photo courtesy Farmhouse Kitchen.

Desserts include mango sticky rice, Thai tea crepe cake and the very Instagrammable “Thai vacation,” a halved coconut filled with sticky rice, coconut ice cream, coconut cream, peanuts and sesame, garnished with a brightly colored drink umbrella.

The Menlo Park restaurant also serves cocktails, beer and wine.

Farmhouse Kitchen is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m., Saturday noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday noon to 9 p.m.

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MINA Family Kitchen Serves San Francisco’s Best Takeout Brunch For These Trying Times

Talk about a pivot. The luminous, nimble Michael Mina, one of the country’s most creative chefs, launched MINA Family Kitchen back in April 2020 right after it became clear that COVID-19 pandemic was not a fleeting disruption but rather an unwanted longterm visitor. MINA Family Kitchen is a pickup and delivery service operating out of the Michael Mina restaurant at 252 California Street that offers popular menu items from PABU, International Smoke, and the flagship Michael Mina.

The brilliance of this move was not only its prescience in terms of the subsequent tanking of the restaurant industry, it was also a lifesaver for many of Mina’s employees, resulting in the ability to save some jobs and provide meals for those employees who were furloughed. Every meal purchased from MINA Family Kitchen enables the company to offer family meals to those who lost work due to the pandemic. And the food is fantastic, of course.

My family and I have gotten takeout a couple times a week since quarantine began, mostly as a way of supporting local restaurants, but I’m often underwhelmed by the food after transporting it home, and even more dismayed by the lack of packaging innovation. MINA Family Kitchen gets both of these essential aspects of a good takeout experience just right.

Packaging is sturdy and compostable and our meal arrived having retained its beautiful plating and presentation. It was package up in flat boxes, so it was easy to carry without spilling or moving things around.

The menu is a melange of Mina greatest hits, including black pepper and blue crab udon, fried chicken with honey butter, yuzu kosho honey and jalapeño creamed corn, lemongrass pork bánh mì, and early girl tomato shakshuka. There’s also more traditional breakfast dishes (with Mina spins, of course), like coconut pancakes and breakfast sandwiches.

Dirty Diane’s Jalapeño Mixer is a must-order, a purée of fresh jalapeños, cilantro and warming coriander. You can order cocktail boxes for a group that serve 10-15 people put together by Anthony Attanasio and his bar team, including the bloody Mary mixes, “Little Italy,” and “Bartender’s Friend,” each of which comes with five recipe cards for variations on each theme.

Here are two recipes to get you started, one from PABU and one from International Smoke:

Japanese Negroni (PABU)

Ingredients:

1oz Gin (Suntory Roku Gin)

1oz Sweet Vermouth (Punt e mes Vermouth)

1oz Bitters (Campari)

1 Fresh Orange Peel

Directions:Pour gin, vermouth and bitters into a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Gina Jamaica (International Smoke)

Ingredients:

1oz Vodka (Ketel One)

0.5oz Pisco

1.5oz Grapefruit Juice

1.5oz Cucumber Basil Juice

Top off with Ginger beer

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a

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