Sous Beurre: A Restaurant In Pop-Up's Clothing
While fans of most pop-ups are reduced to helpless Twitter slaves, chasing their beloved Korean-Mexican burrito around the city like headless chickens, a few of these newfangled pop-ups have quite predictable schedules. Ravi Kapur's Hawaii-inspired Liholiho Yacht Club, which holds court every Monday night at Citizen's Band comes to mind. And there's also Sous Beurre Kitchen, a French-California-style pop-up chef Michael Mauschbaugh has operated out of Sugarlump Cafe on 24th Street almost every night of the week for a year now. It's so consistent it basically feels like a—dare I say it?—a restaurant.
Mauschbaugh recently decided to cook on Monday nights out of the kitchen at Dear Mom in the Mission. Wooed by the prospect of buttery French fare in one of the newer, hotter Mission bars, I decided to check it out during its first run earlier this week. If the relative regularity of Sous Beurre is a bit restaurant-y, I'd say the menu is even more so. For one thing, it divides up into appetizer and entrees, and I don't know many pop-ups that randomly throw lobster and truffles on their menus with a few hours notice. I also don't know many restaurants are able to judiciously (and amazingly) keep the whole menu under the 13 dollar mark.
Mauschbaugh is most proud of his handmade sausages and patés. They show up in some shape or form on all of his daily changing menus. So I started there. Monday's iterations were a slightly sweet chicken liver pate mousse with crostini, and a cloudlike brioche hot dog bun that nearly swallowed up the lobster and shrimp sausage on top. The paté was almost airy, forming a perfect quenelle next to its accompanying ginger chutney, balsamic-cooked shallots and whole grain mustard. The sausage had such a shameless pour of lobster butter overtip that I needed to lick fat from my fingers after every bite. It's not light fare, but the portions aren't enormous either. I would have been satisfied with these two dishes alone, spending $17 (plus $4 for a Radeberger at the bar).
My friend's pan-fried gnocchi with wild mushrooms and truffle oil, came with the same addictive umami punch of your best plate of truffle fries. A stone fruit and rocket salad tasted just how it sounds—refreshing, thank goodness.
I wasn't surprised when Michael mentioned he's close to sealing the deal on a brick-and-mortar restaurant somewhere in the Mission. He's developed quite a following, and his food is solid. Although I wonder if he'll be able to keep the prices so low once he's got a regular rent and service staff to deal with.
For now, be content knowing you can eat restaurant-y fare at rock bottom pop-up prices at Dear Mom and Sugarlump Cafe for the month of June, and probably at Sugarlump for a good bit longer. No need to check Twitter for reassurance, although you might want to check the website to see what's Mauschbaugh is cooking up tonight.