Monday, December 7, 2015

Bini's Kitchen Brings Momos And Other Nepali Delights To The Heart Of The Financial District


I'm fortunate to inaugurate a new blog with a report on an old friend's latest career and life achievement, today's launch of Bini's Kitchen at McKesson Plaza. I will, of course, continue to update my other blog, Full Noodle Frontity, but there are more foods than noodles, more cuisines than Asian, and more things than food that contribute to the experience of a wanderer in the city. 

In the ethnic street food capital of the universe, Queens NY, one can step from the No. 7 Metro train at the 74th St-Broadway station and find 20 places to enjoy momos, the Himalayan contribution to meat-filled dumpling culture, within a 5-10 minute walk. San Francisco's Financial District will never become Himalayan Heights West, but BART's Montgomery station is now only 19 nearby dumpling shops behind the competition, thanks to today's opening of Bini's Kitchen, almost at the very top of the subway station's stairway.

Bini's Kitchen is the creation of Binita Pradhan, a Nepali chef who is a product of Caleb Zigas' La Cocina incubator for low-income food entrepreneurs. Her restaurant is the latest "Brick and Mortar" restaurant by a La Cocina graduate, and probably the earliest such success, coming barely three years after she entered the program as a single mother in near poverty. In the interim, she has developed a healthy catering business, and is a regular (and well-loved) tented vendor at Off The Grid's Fort Mason Center venue, as well as appearing at events like the San Francisco Street Food Festival and the Outside Lands Festival.

Bini's Kitchen is located in a small but functional and not unattractive outbuilding that backs up against the east wall of the McKesson Plaza Building, also known as 1 Post St.  If you are on Market St. and looking for it, just peek around the corner of Minamoto Kitchoan (not a bad suggestion for dessert).

Bini's Kitchen's opening menu is very similar to the one you will be familiar with at Fort Mason, with a few additions, including momos with a pork filling, alongside her turkey and veggie momos, all with a spicy tomato-cilantro sauce. There's the Nepali Chili known as kwati, her ever-popular gorkha chicken and various combinations served with jeera pulau (rice).  She's still in a shakedown period, but will be adding other options over time. You can wash down your lunch with chai, or with her wonderful mango lassi.

If you are already a Bini fan, you'll be happy to know where you can find her five days a week from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. If you don't know Binita, or have never had Nepali food, you are in for a treat on both scores. Bini's Kitchen is already getting slammed at lunch time, so stop by in the afternoon for a snack and a schmooze with Bini. Tell her I sent you.

Where? Bini's Kitchen, 1 Post St. at Market St., right by the BART station entrance.