Last Saturday marked the second recent outing for chef duo Ian Mullen and Jason Smith, who have dubbed themselves Mullen & Smith and appear ready to embark on some ambitious work in the local food world in years to come. The pair met working on the line at Fifth Floor under Laurent Gras, and Mullen has also worked at Per Se in New York. Smith is currently a butcher for Golden Gate Meat Co. in Santa Rosa, and he’s also worked as a private chef and at the Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead, Georgia. And for their most recent underground dinner at Naked Kitchen — an intimate, eight-person dinner around the counter in a private home kitchen in the Mission — the theme was Pork & Pinot, and it came just a month prior to the big Pigs & Pinot fest happening up north.
It was six courses, all with elements of pork, and easily our favorite was a unique, deep-fried pig’s head torchon, reminiscent of a fried trotter cake, served with a perfectly acidic-sweet lemon mostarda, fennel flowers, and toasted brioche. All of the courses showed equal amounts of creativity and restraint, and we’re curious to see where these two dudes land next. (For the moment, they’re available for private dining via Kitchit, and you can see their under-construction web site here.)
Observe the photographic evidence, and if you’re intrigued, snap up a seat (when they go on sale) at their upcoming dinner March 30, which will be themed around the spring, and will feature at least one course of lamb.