The Mission Bowling Club is probably one of the most unusual places to grab some food in the Bay Area.
Building on the retro trend of upscale bowling alleys, Mission Bowling in the city’s Mission District is an intimate spot with six bowling lanes and a food program headed by Chef Chris Kiyuna. (When the place originally opened last year, the menu was created by Anthony Myint, creative genius behind Mission Street Food, Mission Chinese Food and Commonwealth.)
I actually visited the place for the bowling, when I signed up for a social gathering of a few guys. After placing last among my group for the bowling (I never said I was a regular bowler), I decided to drown my misery at the bustling bar, where I was able to try a nice IPA from their extensive beer and specialty cocktail menu, and some of the food.
Although there are a few dining tables in the front, most people are eating around the bar as the sound of balls hitting pins echo in the background. The happy hour menu features a solid list of popular items like fried oysters, fried chicken and the popular Mission Burger.
Later on, the full menu comes into play and it carries some of the happy hour items and much more, resembling a menu you’ll find at any of the popular restaurants in the Mission. What other bowling alley would have a salad of heirloom tomatoes and “dirt”?
The beet and yogurt salad ($11) I ordered is another example of a beautiful plate of locally sourced ingredients that might feel out-of-place at a bowling alley. I wouldn’t call this comfort food, but it was definitely worth ordering and trying.
Of course, I had to try the Mission Burger ($15), which was a hefty ball of meat with Monterey jack, grilled onions, and caper aioli. It’s served with your basic tomato, lettuce and pickles, and a hefty portion of French fries.
The burger had a wonderful texture with just the slightest of juices to keep it moist but not messy to eat. The flavor reflected the quality meat used to build the patty. Overall, I thought everything was cooked just right.
The Last Bite
A night of bowling is always a fun time, and doing it at the Mission Bowling Club kicks it up a notch when you can enjoy the interesting dishes coming from the kitchen. While the bowling lane rentals can be on the high side at peak times, you can always count on the approachable pricing of the food that competes well with any nearby full-fledged restaurants.
Rating: 3 out of 4 camera snaps
Mission Bowling Club, 3176 17th St. (at South Van Ness), San Francisco. PH: 415.863.BOWL (2695). Open daily, serving happy hour, dinner, and weekend brunch. Reservations, major credit cards accepted. missionbowlingclub.com
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