But the veggie pancake ($5.25) was unlike anything I've had before, a kind of soft Asian crepe, like a socca or farinata, made from ground lotus and taro root (instead of chickpea flour) and spruced up with water chestnuts, scallions, and pesto.
We also detected European influences, or echoes, in a duck curry stew ($9.95), a crock of meat, potatoes, and carrots that resembled beef burgundy, except that the beef was duck (a little fatty, but tasty) and the sauce had no red wine but plenty of yellow curry, mildest of the Thai curries. Spicy sunflower chicken ($6.75), on the other hand, though not yellow, was straight from Thailand a larb, really, of minced white chicken tossed with a lively combination of Thai basil, garlic, and chiles. The meat was heaped in the center of a large plate, with canoelike leaves of endive set around the perimeter like hour markings on a watch. The endive was convenient for the scooping up of the minced meat, of course, but even after the leaves had run out, all the members of our table, forks in hand, were jostling for a crack at the last of the chicken.
The kitchen at David's Kitchen doesn't much look like the kitchen at Canteen, Dennis Leary's small boutique place downtown. Leary's kitchen is L-shaped, for one thing, and also more exhibitiony: you can sit at the counter and watch the chef work the stoves.
But to be at either place is to be aware that the restaurant as a labor of love is a phenomenon that persists even in this overpriced city and that there are a few fine chefs who still do their own cooking. And then some. *
Lunch: Tues.Sat., 11:30 a.m.2:30 p.m. Dinner: Tues.Thurs. and Sun., 59:30 p.m., Fri.Sat., 510 p.m.
1713 Taraval, SF
Beer and wine