Although the Mission is usually associated with Mexican food, the Korean restaurant, Namu, makes a splash on the corner of Dolores Park. The beautifully designed restaurant is brought to you by the noted San Francisco chef Dennis Lee, who sources most of their produce from their own farm which they operate using Korean natural farming techniques. As if him and his team weren’t busy enough, these trendsetting foodies designed a menu that is not only authentic to their home country, but also friendly for gluten-free people. To be honest, I rarely find myself in Asian restaurants since they typically are a nightmare for someone who is gluten-free, since everything is fried, breaded and covered in soy sauce. However, this is not the case at Namu. They make a clear effort to label everything on the menu, and some of the best options are safe for us gluten-free eaters to enjoy…
I came here for Brunch but I believe the items I ordered are also on the Lunch and Dinner menus, and they are not to be missed. First up was the Market Salad, which was more like a vegetable plate, filled with roasted Brussels sprouts, grapefruit, cara cara oranges, heaping amounts of avocado, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The salad was followed by a delicious miso soup made with local mushrooms. My personal favorite dish was the Stone Pot – a piping hot stone bowl that was filled with rice, kimchi, vegetables and an egg. Since the pot is incredibly hot when served, the rice continues to cook after it’s plated, leaving you with a crispy rice cake on the bottom. Also on the menu was a savory pancake called Oknomiyaki, which was both crispy and chewy, and while it is heavy, it’s a favorite for the staff and locals of Namu. Last but not least, we ordered the fried chicken, since I have trouble saying no to a dish that is typically not gluten-free. However, this one was made with rice flour. Namu uses Mary’s chicken, which is fried to perfection and topped with an orange sweet and sour sauce. I never thought that I would be able to eat these foods again!
On my next trip to Namu there are so many items I can’t wait to try, including the Gamja fries, Hangtown Eggs Benedict, Chicken Ramen. Even all the Sandwiches can be made gluten-free by ordering NOBREAD! They menu is filled with exciting dishes that are both exotic and safe – two things that do not always go together! Namu is a fantastic way to step outside your Saturday morning burrito trend in the Mission. The food is interesting, comforting, and not your typical GF meal.