309 Clement St, San Francisco, CA
This was a day for V and me to experience the smaller and lesser known Indo-Chinese cultures! After an early hike in Mt. Tamalpais north of the City, we drove in to the City to catch the Bhutan exhibition at the Asian Art Museum. We were kind of in a trance when we left the place from staring at too many mandalas, and eventhough our souls were brimming, our stomachs were growling with hunger. We had already planned our dinner venue based on a recommendation from our friends, P & V, and looked forward to that - Burma Superstar did not disappoint!
BSS opens for dinner at 5pm and when we got there around 5:30pm, there already were several people waiting outside. The hostess told us that it would be a 90 minute wait. Undaunted, we decided to hang on. I walked over a couple of blocks to a smaller cafe' type restaurant, called B*Star, owned by the same people. There was absolutely no one at that place. Looking at the menu, I realized it was more of a generic menu with just 1 or 2 Burmese dishes. Our waitress later told us that there is now a branch in Oakland with the Burmese menu . (Burma, for those who are wondering, is now known as Myanmar and is the largest Southeast Asian country area-wise.)
Fortunately our wait proved to be just around 20 minutes - apparently they had opened up a communal table. (The hostess was still throwing wild numbers like 80 minutes to 2 hours at new comers!) The seating inside is limited and it is closely packed, but we were there for the food, not the ambience.
Service was quick and very pleasant. We ordered the signature item on their menu, which is the tea-leaf salad. The special ingredient is "tea leaves", which is mixed with lettuce, tomatoes, roasted lentils, peanuts and other stuff and has a lemon dressing. We loved the unique flavor the tea leaves imparted to the salad, not sure how I can describe it except to say it was yummy.
We also ordered the "samusa" which is kind of like Indian samosas, but with a thinner deep-fried outer crust. The samusa was good but not great - I guess we could have gone for the samusa soup.
Our main entree was "Curry Vegetables", recommended by our waitress as being uniquely Burmese. The curry gravy was similar to Indian curry and the vegetables were similar, but it had a lot of mint which gave it a different taste. Instead of rice, we ordered the "Prata" similar to Indian paratha but deep-fried. (What the heck, we had afterall done a reasoanble hike that day!)
V also ordered the freshly squeezed ginger-lemon juice and really enjoyed it.
All in all, a great meal! The bill came to around $40 for the two of us with tax and tip. We will definitely go back there to try the other items on their menu. We might get the pea-shoot stir-fry (recommended by P) or vegetable stir-fry instead of the curry and order the samusa soup.