Tin Vietnamese Cuisine, S.F.


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Tin serves fresh, brightly flavored Vietnamese cuisine.


Owner Hung Dang named his restaurant after his nephew, but "tin" is also the Vietnamese word for "dependable" - which is exactly what his food is. Dependably fantastic, in fact.

Tin is Vietnamese cuisine at its best: fresh, brightly flavored dishes served up at affordable prices and with family pride.

The chef, Chinh Quan, is Dang's aunt, who ran a noodle shop in Dalat before moving to the United States eight years ago.

Her papaya salad ($7) is crisp and refreshing. Her grilled lemongrass pork, served either with rice or vermicelli noodles (both $8), is zippy and rich.

But the dish we're still swooning over is her caramelized clay-pot catfish ($8), so tenderly glazed that it coats, then melts in your mouth.

For the caffeine inclined, Tin offers traditional Vietnamese-style coffee with condensed milk, as well as french-pressed Four Barrel Coffee ($2.50 single/$4.50 double). There's also a selection of single-pot teas ($3) from Red Blossom.

With everything on the menu under $10, it's easy to see why Tin has gained a steady following since it opened in November. The growing lunchtime crowd can overwhelm the staff at times, but help is on the way.

Dang says more relatives will be joining him at the restaurant in the next few weeks, so try catching this family in action before the masses catch on.

Tin Vietnamese Cuisine: 937 Howard St., S.F.; (415) 882-7188. www.tinsf.com. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri. $10 credit card minimum.

- Janny Hu, jhu@sfchronicle.com

This article appeared on page G - 10 of the San Francisco Chronicle


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