Stocked to bursting with handcrafted sandwiches, savory sides, and organic fair-trade coffee, this unassuming deli sates the appetites of on-the-go customers. A chalkboard menu presents the vegan breakfast sandwich with a colorful flourish of penmanship, along with the avocado hero, with the green fruit acting as "meat" amid ample veggies and cheese. Eco-friendly java from Olympia Coffee Roasting Company gives customers a welcome jolt to their morning in case they forget to kiss their toaster, and freshly squeezed juices and gluten-free pastries accommodate health-conscious breakfasts.
As hungry customers approach the flat-top grill after which the restaurant is named, they'll find it a sizzling island surrounded by a sea of rice, noodles, fresh vegetables, and colorful sauces. Disenfranchised by the undemocratic menus of all other restaurants, Flat Top diners are empowered with the right to vote for the ingredients of their choice. Start the process by choosing rice or noodles. Then fill your bowl with fresh, seasonal vegetables (such as tomatoes, snap peas, and carrots), mix and match three or four ladles of sauces to create a sweet, spicy Asian-inspired flavor or your own personal concoction. Finally, add a hearty protein (including white fish, chicken, beef sirloin, tofu, or a host of vegetarian and vegan options). Add the finishing touches with clever customizations like hot and sour soup, mu shu wraps, skewered shrimp, or roti prata bread. Lunch bowls are $8.99, and dinner bowls are $12.99. Once your dream dish is assembled, let Flat Top's experienced chefs bring it to life on the grill while you treat your taste buds to an appetizer, such as the kung pao prata ($3.99) or a chilled summer shrimp roll ($5.99). Flat Top rookies needn't fear: Knowledgeable staff are happy to offer advice, popular recipes are perched atop tables, and tips are available on oversized chalkboards around the dining room. For an extra $2 (or $1 at lunch), diners can enjoy unlimited trips through the line, allowing them to try a wide variety of stir-fry combinations.
Haymen Da Luz and Ying Wu travel the tea gardens of China and Taiwan to find the choicest leaves to stock the shelves of their San Francisco shops. The husband-and-wife team promotes a thorough understanding of steeped beverages, brewing complimentary tastes of their many green, oolong, jasmine, and herbal teas. Standing behind a curved tea bar with a built-in stone drain, Da Luz shows the techniques of rinsing leaves, preheating mugs, and ridding teapots of displaced genies during demonstrations and private classes.