RAM: Shift Into Gear

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Time for another Restaurant Appreciation Month post. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read about Restaurant Appreciation Month (RAM) here. You can read past installments here, herehere, here, here, and here.

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Velo Rouge, Supervisor Eric Mar’s selection for Restaurant Appreciation Month, sits on Agruello Ave, right at the gateway to the Richmond District. The Richmond District is an historically middle-class neighborhood that’s generally associated with excellent whole-in-the-wall ethnic food; banquet-style dim sum, Asian dumplings, Irish and Russian bakeries, Vietnamese soups and the like. Its a neighborhood full of well-loved long-time food institutions.

So color me surprised that Eric Mar chose the new kid on the block.

velo rouge

If “cloyingly hipster” was a cuisine, Velo Rouge would serve it by the pound. The decor was very twee and precious. You’re young upwardly-mobile white people living in an adorable neighborhood, I GET IT.

For a man that who recently compared gentrification in the Mission to ethnic cleansing, I thought it was a little weird of Supervisor Mar to chose to bestow his commendation on a cafe that checks all the boxes for Stuff White People Like (one on the cusp of an historically Asian neighborhood no less). It was like aliens saw a picture of Williamsburg and tried to recreate it, molecule by molecule, in a small corner of San Francisco.

I mean Velo Rouge has it all; decorative bicycles, extremely limited seating, manic pixie waitstaff, every possible beverage option is either French, Fresh, or Cold pressed. There was an actual man with an actual handlebar mustache eating next to me.

Whatever. Eric Mar has to live inside the world of his own logic. I don’t. And when it comes to Restaurant Appreciation Month, I just play ’em as they lay. I’m sure Eric Mar had some good reasons for picking Velo Rouge, but I’m too lazy to revisit the video of that public meeting to find out what they were.

“Are you ever going to get to the food?” And yes, I can hear the exasperation in your thought bubble.

The food was meh. Dining Companion M was unavailable for this RAM event, so I enlisted the help of Dining Companion L who thought her Yucatan Pork Tacos ($10) were pretty tasty, and I can’t disagree with that.

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I got a home-made Moroccan Lentil Peasant Pie ($5.50) and a bowl of squash soup that was described in the menu as something else, but really it was mostly squash soup. Both items were advertised in a way that made them sound full of flavor, but the menu turned out to be false prophet in that regard.
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I could go on to describe the extent of my meal’s blandness. I could say something like, “if food were music, this was the song of a tone-deaf whale;” or “it was the Tuesday of meals; not especially troubling, but not especially anything else either,” but I’m not one to cast aspersions, so I won’t say anything like that.

All I’ll say is that if, as the name Velo Rouge suggest, you’re riding your bicycle into the Richmond, shift into a higher gear and head to the greener dining pastures of Clement Street or Geary & 25th.

Final Rating:

(this is my “keep on moving” face)

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