Wednesday, August 8, 2012

300 Block of Kearny Street: The Most Culinarily Diverse Block in San Francisco?

The re-opening of Lee's brought Chinese food back to the 300 block of Kearny St.
When Onigilly brings its rice balls to its new brick-and-mortar location at 343 Kearny St., it won't exactly stick out like a sore thumb.  It'll be the new kid on what may be the most culinarily diverse block in San Francisco.

If you include the restaurant tenants in the partially re-opened International Food Court (which officially  has a Bush Street address but a has co-equal entrance at 316 Kearny Street), there are currently 20 operating eateries you can stroll into at lunchtime in the short 300 Block of Kearny St. These can be grouped into at least 12 national cuisines, and if you parse them into sub-categories, perhaps 15 or 16 distinct cuisines to choose from.

For starters, Onigilly will have company from four other purveyors of Japanese food including a ramen-ya, a Japanese curry house and not one but two sushi-cum-bento outlets.  Your other choices in that block include Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, Cuban, Hawaiian, Mexican, Greek/Mediterranean, Italian, and what I'll call "New American/Continental" (gringo food).

Here's the full lineup for the 300 block of Kearny St. :

International Food Court (316 Kearny St).- separate Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese (sushi/bento)  and Filipino vendors. (Previous Burmese and Mexican tenants may or may not return.)

Ayola (327 Kearny St.) - Greek/Mediterranean
Baladie (337 Kearny St.) - Greek/Mediterranean
Banana House (321 Kearny St.) - Thai
Bangkok Best (301 Kearny St.) - Thai
Darn Good Food (322 Kearny St.) - New American/Continental
Ebisu (336 Kearny St.) - Japanese sushi and bento
El Faro (346 Kearny St.) - Mexican taqueria
Fleur de Sel (308 Kearny St.) - New American/Continental
Harrow (357 Kearny St.) - New American/Continental
Have a Rice Day (356 Kearny St.) - Korean and Japanese Rice Bowls
L & L Hawaiian Barbecue (312 Kearny St.) - Hawaiian plate lunches
Muracci's Japanese Curry (307 Kearny St.) - Japanese curry
Pachino Trattoria and Pizzeria (318 Kearny St.) - Italian
Paladar Cafe Cubano (329 Kearny St.) - Cuban
Pasilla Mexican Grill (359 Kearny St.) - Mexican Grill
Underground Ramen (355 Kearny St.) - Japanese ramen

The 300 block of Kearny Street is prone to turnover, though the crop of restaurants listed above (except for the New American venues) have shown some staying power. An Indian/Pakistani restaurant recently failed, as did another New American restaurant, leaving vacancies that have yet to be filled.  And Onigilly's spot? It will replace a recently closed Indonesian restaurant.

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