I cant remember how long we wanted to eat there. We have heard good reviews of the place. Plus, we have been dying to find out and taste Burmese cuisine. So on my birthday after taking in a day game at AT&T Park, we decided to go and check the place out. This was not the original plan. We initially intended to eat at neighboring Troya, a Turkish-Mediterranean place which also garnered good reviews. However, once we had parked the car and was crossing the street towards Troya, we had a change of heart. Or a change of appetite. In an instant we no longer have a taste for kebabs and wraps and dolma, etc, but found our stomach craving for something different, something untested, something from Burma Superstar.
Luckily at 15 past 5 pm on a Wednesday, the often full to the rafters restaurant had two tables vacant. I can’t understand why because there are people milling outside of the small restaurant obviously waiting to get in. They may have been waiting for more dinner companions. Lucky for us then. We were seated immediately next to a couple who were 3/4 of the way with their dinner.
The place is small, really small. Its dining space looks like smaller than a normal two-car carage. The walls were decorated with artifacts, Burmese arts and crafts and With the restriction in space, there was very little elbow room and if you have to get up for some reason, there is little maneuver space. But all this is minor because once you’re seated, you will not even think of getting up, unless you’re leaving. Plus, you will take time reading the items on your menu. For a first-timer, I was reading them all including all the ingredients.
There were about five people one is more like a buss boy than a server looking after the 15 or so tables. One table is a big round one at the corner next to the kitchen that may be can fit 8 people. At that time it was occupied by a group of 20-something Asians. The other tables were meant for two, but some were put side by side to accommodate group diners.
Once we put in our order, not 10 minutes passed and here were our TEA LEAF SALAD and SAMUSA SOUP, both of which were featured on Food Network, according to the menu. Yes, it said that. The samusa soup is also featured in Bay Area Backroads, one of my favorite local shows. The tea leaf salad is amazing, anything with peanut or nut is devoured by me without hesitation and with much gusto and was prepared/mixed on the table by a server who educates the eater about the salad. The combination of all the ingredients was perfect. The samusa soup was made up of broken samusas and with falafels, etc. It was spicy hot for my taste, but I gulped it all up, because the combination of flavors was simply enjoyable. It was that yummy. And the heat remains in your mouth long after you have devoured your soup.
The servers pass by the table and asks if everything is okay. We smiled and said oh yeah. I like that. I like being asked how the food was. This is not fussing is it?
We ordered Spicy Lamb and Okra Egg Curry for our entrees. These did not come with rice so we ordered two kinds—cinnamon basmati rice [yummy] and coconut white rice [creamy]. The Spicy lamb has a notation on the menu that this could not be prepared mild. So spicy it was. My husband can tolerate spicy hot food and I am just starting to appreciate it. But they were not kidding when they said it was spicy. It was full of spice alright, but it was HOTTTT too. I mean really hot for my liking. The thinly sliced lamb meat was juicy and tender, perfectly cooked. The creamy coconut rice came as a perfect match with this dish as it quashes the heat a little bit. The heat generated by the samusa soup still lingered on my mouth prior to the intake of the spicy lamb so you can just imagine the heat. It was delicious. No wonder people are giving it favorable reviews. I was not particularly crazy with the Okra Egg Curry as okra happens to be one of my least favorite food, but the rest of the dish was okay.
We did order just one specialty drink–they called it that. I could taste beer and lemon and some bitters and syrup. It was nothing to write home about really.
However, the experience was wonderful. The crowd eclectic. Next table was a 70-something couple, Greek [they sounded Greek to me and that is not a figurative speak] who marveled us at their tolerance for spicy food. Okay, so they probably did not order the spicy lamb, but the other dishes have a little bit of heat too. Anyway, I think it’s safe to say that this little superstar in the lesser-known tourist area of Outer Richmond [Clement and near 4th St] had hit a home run with my husband and me. We would surely return, as long as we don’t have to wait for our tables. It is no wonder the crowd of people we see waiting outside each time we pass by, they have every reason to wait for a superb meal.
I learned that Burmese cuisine is a combination of Indian, Thai, and Chinese cuisines. Very gooood.
(Photo borrowed from:http://onokinegrindz.typepad.com/ono_kine_grindz/burmese/index.html)