Good Taste: Island-Inspired Pop-Up Restaurants

Food news and views on the Bay Area's most surprising flavors

There's a bit of an island retreat happening South of Market in San Francisco.

Caribbean food in particular and late night eating in general are scarce propositions in the city, but Vincy Sunset aims to address both of those needs in one operation. Chef Kennard Smith's pop-up kitchen starts firing up fare such as jerk-chicken tacos, mofongo (a dome of fried plantains) with shrimp marinara, and sweet potato beignets at a time when restaurants are winding down for the night.

Vincy Sunset is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. at Mercury Lounge (1582 Folsom). At this hour, the food is typically soundtracked by a booty-shaking mix of hip-hop and R&B and assisted by cocktails. Warning: Wafts of marijuana smoke may trail in the door with some of the young clientele, but that only adds to the island feel.

Mercury Lounge ceased its regular operations in March but remains open for ventures such as Smith's and Beach Bumz Island Grill. The latter offers traditional Hawaiian-style plate lunches such as chicken teriyaki and loco moco (a burger patty topped with gravy and fried eggs) weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as well as Sunday brunch with options such as French toast made with Hawaiian sweet rolls and a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, Portuguese sausage, Spam, and pineapple.

One of the greatest effects of the pop-up restaurant revolution is the proliferation of ethnic food options such as these that deserve more exposure here. And with the average price of entrees at both Vincy Sunset and Beach Bumz Island Grill weighing out at around ten bucks, it's not too much of a gamble to try something new.

Read more from Good Taste here.

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