The inventive and talented pair behind the acclaimed last incarnation of Bar Tartine, Nick Balla and Cortney Burns, are changing things up once again, and taking their semi-permanent Mission pop-up Motze in a new direction. As Tablehopper reports, the Japanese-inspired concept that they've been doing in the former Herbivore space on Valencia since last fall will have its sunset next week, on May 27. A few days later, on June 1, they will debut Duna, a new Eastern European-inspired restaurant that sounds perhaps more in line with what they were doing at Bar Tartine though if you're familiar with that restaurant's evolution over the last few years, it was impossible to pin down, and culinary influences included Japan there as well, with Balla having spent part of his early career cooking only Japanese food.
Balla is of Hungarian descent, and Burns has Eastern European heritage as well, and Duna is the Hungarian name for Danube River. The menu, per Tablehopper, will include some greatest hits from Bar Tartine like their chop salad with Gyulai salami and housemade cheese; langos (smoked potato flatbread); and chicken paprikas with spaetzle. The team also mentions a couple of new dishes like a Mexican and Russian-inspired Rusa Salad with beets, squash, sweet potato, lime, and a green herb dressing.
Speaking to Inside Scoop, Balla says that Duna is a "homecoming to [our] families' flavors," characterizing Motze as their "exploration" of Japanese cuisine.
And Motze will apparently return occasionally, in pop-up form, on individual nights in the space going forward.
Like Motze in recent months, Duna will have a fast-casual, counter service format, and as Eater tells us, the space will be getting a quick makeover after next week's closure with "a leaf-canopied patio and wood meant to evoke the landscape of the restaurant’s namesake river."
Still in the works, presumably, is Balla and Burns's earlier announced project Crescent, for which they were looking for a permanent space when they announced their departure from Bar Tartine last year.