The Morris isn’t the type of restaurant you’d randomly walk by - unless you like paying your respects at the Muni service center/graveyard deep, deep in the Mission. If you’re eating here, it’s because you either live very close by, or you came on purpose. And however far you’ve traveled, it’s going to be worth it.
This place is on a quiet corner pretty far off the main Valencia drag, and it’s much more low-key than the Mission’s trendier options. No one eating here appears to have just walked out of a Coachella tent. It would be perfectly reasonable to think The Morris was a longtime neighborhood spot, even though in reality it’s only about a year old. But that under-the-radar, low-key charade lasts about as long as it takes for the first plate to reach your table, at which point you’ll realize The Morris is pumping out f*ck-yeah food that’s on a much different level than your average “American” place.
It’s a good idea to share here, because you’re going to want to try a lot. Some of our favorite dishes are the shrimp toast, charred broccoli and squid, and incredible whole smoked duck, which should be on your table no matter what. Seasonal options are switched in and out pretty frequently, too, so don’t ignore the specials - especially the crab salad or charred baby favas if they happen to be available. And it will be a challenge, but try to save some room for dessert, because the churro-like doughnuts here are supremely good.
The space is pleasantly quirky, with an approachable open kitchen up front and bar seats in the back. It’s small enough to feel intimate, without shoving you so close to your neighboring table you’re rubbing elbows, and the energy is high without being chaotic. Mostly, the restaurant is just a lot of people excited about their food.
The Morris looks a lot like a laid-back neighborhood place, but that’s not what it is at all - it’s actually a destination restaurant in disguise. And while we want you to know about it, a tiny part of us also hopes that its disguise holds strong, so we can still get in six months from now.
This is a one-bite deal, and a good way to start off dinner. The taste reminded us a little of pulled pork, and we’re OK with that. Get one.
Basically a fancy take on avocado toast, with some diced avocado, chopped shrimp, and spicy peppers. Get an order or two to share with the table.
Squid and broccoli might not sound like an obvious combination, but this dish works. It’s also quite spicy, as advertised. Order it.
This is the main event, and the best thing on the menu. The version for two people is enough for two ravenous humans or three not-so-ravenous humans, so the version for four is probably better for a table of five or six, if you add a bunch of starters. It’s tender with perfectly crispy skin, and the the roasted vegetables that come along with it are stellar too.
Another excellent thing to share - it’s not too heavy, and the wild mushrooms and pumpkin make it more interesting than your usual pasta plate. This is worth your stomach space.
Dip these sugar-coated doughnuts in a whiskey cream sauce that’s good enough to eat straight from the bowl. They come in orders of four, and we get them every time. You should, too.