I got news of the Weird Fish Satellite leaving Bender’s a week ago and all I could do was stuff with my face with even more seitan. Some sort of denial. Couldn’t even bring myself to post about it here. Dramatic? Maybe. But I’ve basically been eating at this counter two to three times per week for the past year and a half–ever since Gestalt started falling apart–and I always felt like this little menu in an unapologetic dive represented everything that was wonderful about the Mission and San Francisco in general. It always seemed like that ordering some of the best goddamn vegan food in the city from a guy that looked like he would punch your grandmother just to say he did so was an “only in San Francisco” experience. The food was out of this world, you could almost always find a table, the beer was served in cans, pints, and pitchers, and you could even sit outside if your skin was up to it.
And then there were the fried pickles.
Obviously this isn’t all doom and gloom. Justin, the man behind the grill, has enough chops to make sure whatever menu he eventually lands on is as epic as possible. For the meat eaters, the burgers are still around, and from what I hear the quality hasn’t changed. The new black bean quesadillas are definitely solid and nothing beats a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich. But, at the end of the day, that deep-fried seitan was the jam, something that you just couldn’t get in any bar, grill, or city, and it’s gunna be missed.