Sometimes restaurants get into a neighborhood because it’s hot and the in place to be. And other times a restaurant goes into a neighborhood as a pioneer, hoping to lead the way to turn an area around.
V-105 café could be the latter, making the change in an area of San Francisco that’s the vortex of the Mission, lower Market, Hayes Valley, and the freeway on-ramp. The relatively new café is at 105 Valencia St., which explains the name, and there’s not much around the area except Laundromats and liquor stores.
But this café has been gaining fans in the neighborhood for its unique sandwich creations by Chef-Owner Daniel Martes, who a long time ago helped open the original Garibaldi’s restaurant in the city. At V-105, he’s making restaurant quality sandwiches and salads with fresh ingredients.
Sometimes it seems like Martes is still cooking in the 1980s, like the towering salad that I tried. (It was a summer salad special made with figs, white peaches, endive, tangerine, walnuts, goat cheese and avocado.) The staff is also very friendly, and the woman at the counter told me I could order a half sandwich since I was ordering the summer salad.
I got half of the Moroccan lamb sandwich, made with mint yogurt, caramelized red onions on a crusty bread (with a side of arugula salad). The lamb was thinly sliced pieces with the mint yogurt, and I enjoyed the combination of flavors even though some of the lamb was a bit chewy.
Since I didn’t try a lot of items on this changing menu, I’m not giving my typical ratings for this spot. But V-105 is definitely a welcomed addition to the area. Despite the somewhat dated presentations, it’s food made with love.
V-105, 105 Valencia St., San Francisco. PH: 415.525.3799. Open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. www.v-105.com
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