Review: Pop-ups at Full Commission are so so good

Laotian, Polish, Taiwanese cuisine served at Grant Park restaurant

Some of the most exciting food on the local dining scene comes from the pop-up category.

Pop-ups appear regularly at breweries, rotate from farmers market to farmers market, and take over restaurant spaces during off hours. Yet, their transient nature can make them hard to find, if you don’t follow them on social media or subscribe to a newsletter.

Full Commission makes it easier for pop-up operators and patrons to connect.

Since the early days of the pandemic, Full Commission owner David Traxler has opened his Grant Park restaurant to pop-ups. It has kept his operation afloat, and using his eatery as a culinary stage has provided nomadic dining operations with consistent days and time slots.

Any day of the week but Wednesday, you can hit up Full Commission for a full-on dining experience brought to you by one of three pop-ups in residence: So So Fed, Brave Wojtek and Mighty Hans.

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So So Fed

If you keep a “must-try” dining list, So So Fed should be on it.

It’s run by Molli Voraotsady, who beautifully shares her Laotian heritage at Full Commission Sundays through Tuesdays.

I can’t get enough of her fermented fish sauce padaek; the spicy-sour dipping sauce jeow som; the basil and other fresh herbs; or the exquisitely prepared proteins. I was left dreaming of tender pork curry, and tearing up over how good slices of strip steak can taste after eating So So Fed’s sua long hai, also known as crying tiger.

The green papaya salad is representative of the amped-up flavors you’ll encounter from this pop-up. Available in two spice levels (the very spicy is no joke), ribbons of papaya offer great crunch, and it has fishy funk and Thai chile heat.

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Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

You should order So So Fed’s meatballs. The hint of lemongrass mixed with ground pork sausage takes three balls of sai gok, ladled with mild tomato sauce, into unexpected territory.

The red curry pork (gaeng phet moo) was meltingly tender, the sauce luscious and velvety. With eggplant slivers, oyster mushrooms, bamboo shoots, zucchini and bell peppers all coated in sauce, every bite was a delicious surprise.

The skin on So So Fed’s fried chicken is very crispy. And, the bird benefits from 24 hours in a brine that includes, among other seasonings, cumin and fish sauce — flavors that seep deeply into the meat. A braised chicken thigh (thom khem gai), served in a deep brown fish stew, was fragrant with ginger and star anise. That is pure comfort food.

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

So So Fed enhances the dining experience with candlelit tables and a cocktail list that relies on flavors such as lime, coconut, Thai chile, passion fruit and pineapple. Dry, tart and with a lingering heat, the gin-based Mekong sour is one of most balanced, elegant cocktails I’ve had in recent memory.

A busy front-of-house staff paces the meal well. The only snafu was an order of sticky rice that arrived long after I scarfed down a starter of laab steak that my server recommended as a good pairing with the minced sirloin.

Brave Wojtek

It’s not easy to find Polish food in Atlanta. Brave Wojtek fills the void three days a week at Full Commission, serving dinner Thursdays through Saturdays, as well as Saturday brunch.

Owner Matt Reeves gets especially cheeky with the morning menu, putting Southern spins on pierogies and other Eastern European favorites.

The toppings for potato and cheese-filled dumplings, sold for a $1-$2 upcharge, come Waffle House-style — smothered (cheese), covered (grilled onions), capped (sauteed lion’s mane mushrooms) ... you get the picture. For an $8 upcharge, you can go all the way, but I found that the flavors get jumbled if you have all seven toppings.

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

As someone who worked for weeks to make them from scratch for my Polish father, I have deep respect for the art of handmade pierogies. Brave Wojtek’s pierogies, which come four to an order, were terrifically filled, folded and sealed. The potato-cheese filling, however, was underseasoned, and would have benefited from salt and pepper.

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Kielbasa hash — a few thick sections of sausage, finely diced and sauteed sweet potatoes and tomatoes — made for a hearty, if expensive ($18), hot breakfast.

Sałatka słonicznowa sounded intriguing, but turned out to be a fairly bland salad of barely dressed lettuce greens (in need of a citrus hit) with a couple of chunks of boiled fingerling potatoes, hearts of palm, pecorino cheese and sunflower seeds, but missing the fava beans and radish described on the menu.

I’m most intrigued by Reeves’ pierogi and where he takes it. Thus far, he has stuck to savory fillings, but patrons have expressed interest in sweet stuffings, and he said to stay tuned.

Mighty Hans

Mighty Hans chef-owner Fu-Mao Sun makes a mighty fine Taiwanese-American Sunday breakfast at Full Commission.

Rise and shine to such pastries as a mochi doughnut, or rich custard toast with pineapple, inspired by the buttery pineapple cakes served at bubble tea shops in Taipei. You can pair them with a hot mug of silky homemade soy milk, which Sun notes on the menu is “as ubiquitous in Taiwanese breakfast as coffee is in the States.”

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

There are plenty of larger plates, ranging from the scallion pancake with bacon, egg and cheese, to a crepe cut into six cylinders, standing upright and topped with crisped shallots.

Among the four breakfast sandwiches, the sweet pork sausage patty, egg and melted cheese on a pillowy milk bun stood out. The mantou sando, featuring egg, scallions and pork floss in a Chinese steamed bun, was piled with so much floss that it became too salty and rich after a few bites.

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Despite a fairly small menu, Sun manages to introduce an array of Taiwanese flavors and seamlessly intertwines them with daytime dishes familiar to an American audience. That’s a mighty challenge, but he makes it look effortless.

So So Fed. 5-10 p.m. Sundays-Tuesdays. sosofed.com

Brave Wojtek. 5-11 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. tableagent.com/atlanta/brave-wojtek

Mighty Hans. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays. mightyhans.com

All three are at Full Commission, 519 Memorial Drive SE, Atlanta. 404-941-9102, fullcommissionatl.com

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