Burmese restaurants in San Francisco
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Yes, there's a wait, but do you see anyone walking away? Blame it on creamy, fragrant catfish curries and la pat, a traditional Burmese green-tea salad tarted up with lime and dried shrimp. Reservations aren't accepted, so ask the host to call you at the cafe across the street, and enjoy a glass of wine – or if you can't wait for that tea salad, head down the street to its casual small-plates sister restaurant, B Star Bar.
The basement stairway to this international food court is grungy, and the TVs in the dining area emit the depressing drone of CNN - but as adventurous Asian hole-in-the-wall aficionados know, that means you're paying for tasty foods, not atmosphere. Line up for your bowl of steaming rice noodles with all the fixings: toasted yellow lentils, chicken, chilies, and cilantro, all served in a broth with a hint of coconut milk.