We’re all familiar with Western European cuisines such as French, Italian, and Spanish but Eastern European cuisine is something that’s often overlooked.
Newcomer, Dear Inga in the Mission, combines Eastern European flavors highlighting fermentation and smoking techniques with a Californian touch. It’s only been open for a little over a month and reservations are already hard to come by. Luckily, I got an early reservation on a Saturday night and within 30 minutes the room filled up.
The menu has a good amount of options so we decided to skip the larger dishes and order several smaller ones.
This was probably one of my favorite dishes of the night. Creamy Liptauer cheese (spreadable paprika flavored cheese) topped with smoky eggplant pieces and crunchy walnut pesto. Addictive. Their other dip sounded great as well with spinach, walnut butter, and za’atar. Definitely get one of them. Pictured behind the Liptauer cheese spread is their langos, fried bread. Warm, pillowy, and just the right amount of grease. A must order.
Two of my old coworkers are now working at Dear Inga and sent me this delicious endive salad with various textures and bright flavors. Another winner.
I wanted to try their fish platter as they cure and smoke their own fish but this fell a little flat. The smoked sturgeon could have used more intense smoke flavor (I could barely taste it) and I wasn’t the biggest fan of cold pickled mussels. The cured salmon and German potato salad were spot on though.
Of course, I had to try their pork and beef stuffed cabbage. Comfort food at its finest.
A solid kielbasa sausage with smoky nuances. Of course, it only gets better when dipping it in the grainy mustard.
Basically like firmer gnocchi, these dumplings were tasty with the tomato beet sauce. I especially liked that the exterior of the dumplings were lightly seared.
No meal is complete without something sweet and we went all out on desserts.
Autumn in a bowl with silky smooth kabocha squash pudding and halva (tahini) flavored ice cream. The sesame spiced cookie was great as well.
Moist chocolate cake with sticky fig jam and silky fig leaf flavored cream. A chocolate lover’s go-to.
This was a dense cake due to the millet which I actually didn’t mind. The almond and pluot flavors complimented the nutty cake.
Was I blown away by the food at Dear Inga? No, but I’m glad I tried it! It was something new and different compared to all the other restaurants in the city and some of the dishes were quite delicious. The ambiance is also great so my overall rating is a 7.5-8/10.