Sun-Chan Does It Again
By Caitlin Hawke
Hyper Local Eats came about as a way to praise our neighborhood's eateries (prior posts are all here). The idea was to raise up one special -- very special -- dish, here and there. To shout out to our nearby purveyors that their kitchen efforts are relished. And to tip the hat to real, unpretentious, local vittles.
In some ways it is getting harder to write this feature. The dining experience can be so antithetical to enjoyment in a boom boom economy where waitstaff has to upsell to survive. Authentic and lowkey are the first qualities to go.
But fret I do. The idea of it sends me running back to the comfort of Sun-Chan, a one-off homey joint that in decor is all about its plain-janeness and in its food is umami-central.
So as late summer's bounty comes in fast and furious, today is another ode to Sun-Chan and specifically to Kumiko's tomato salad.
Five round leaves of spinach to line the plate. One perfect tomato peeled and wedged. A sprinkling of sweet onion bits strewn like daisy petals over the tomato. All "napped" as the French say, or coated in a gingery soy dressing. It's not just scrumptious, it's also beautiful, arranged on the plate like a juicy rose.
The naked truth about a peeled tomato? It's an entirely different beast. Make it a perfectly ripe one and dash it with salt. Then you're talking heaven on a plate.
If I go to Sun Chan with someone, I order it, insisting it's a must try. But then I secretly sit and stew that I have to share it.
You'll have to go yourself and with luck you'll be all alone. And with more luck the naked tomato will be on the specials board. If Lady Luck smiles, all eight wedges will be yours.