54 Mint

Overall Rating: 6.600


Address: 16 Mint Plaza
Cross Street(s): Jessie St., near 5th & Mission Sts.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94103
Neighborhood: SOMA
Phone: 415.543.5100
Hours: M-Sa 11:30am-10:30pm
Type of Establishment: Restaurant
Cafe Rating: 7.00
Barista: 6
Savvy: 6
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: Elektra
Coffee Rating: 6.20
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 6
Crema: 6
Flavor: 6
Taster's Correction: -1.0
Size: L
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Caffè Umbria
Cup Manufacturer: OperaNova
Price: $2.50
Last Update: 08/21/2009
First Reviewed: 08/21/2009
Notes: Outdoor Seating

Review
In the Mint Plaza, right across the Blue Bottle Cafe mothership, this café provides outdoor dining opportunities - plus some limited indoor seating upstairs and a homier cellar below. Alberto Avalle, a founder of New York's Il Buco, partnered with others to open this authentic Italian spot in SF - and they get it down to the prosciutti and salami hanging in the cellar below. They hired a Sicilian chef, and it shows in the menu - but less so in the coffee (i.e., no Miscela d'Oro). Using a two-group Elektra machine at the bar and Caffè Umbria beans, they pull generous espresso shots with a bare, thin layer of medium brown crema. The cup still has a substantive mouthfeel and aroma, although the flavor is skewed heavily towards more of the over-roasted end of the spectrum: toasted wood, resins, and pepper. Served in decorative OperaNova cups by a sparse staff you have to gang-tackle to get their attention.