Brunch, it's not something I usually get to these days, especially in San Francisco. Since it is still all the rage there are just too many people waiting for a table to eat eggs. I can make those at home. One place that gets a lot of brunch play is Mission Beach Cafe. It's a place that's been around awhile and has a good reputation, but for one reason or another I just never made it there. Recently Miss O and I had our schedules converge and since she lives round the corner from the place we decided to hit it up for dinner.
This is what the place looks like when go just as they open, no lines, no crowds and the table of our choice. Plus, as an added bonus the waiter was adorable in an adult way, not your typical too skinny, tattooed, pierced up, flannel wearing hipster. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it was a pleasant change. Also fortunate for us, we are very hungry and the menu looks really good. After serious thought and perusal we go all in with 2 appetizers, 2 entrees and yes, 2 desserts. Gluttony.
Marinated beets with citrus creme fraiche, navel orange, poppy seeds and cilantro. I'm just a sucker for beets of any color and this was a fresh, tasty and pretty looking dish. Everything seemed to come together beautifully here with a mix of tangy and sweet, the creaminess of the creme and the notes of cilantro herbiness were very pleasing. There isn't much texture and I couldn't taste the poppy seeds but didn't matter. We scarfed it up and I used a spoon to scoop up the rest of the fraiche--whatever, don't judge.
Wild mushroom potpie with demi glace and a side of pickled radish, turnip and fennel. So fancy terms for potpie and gravy with pickled things. The side things were nice and actually sweeter than I'd thought they'd be, plus I'm pretty sure they were there to relieve some of the heaviness of the potpie. The outside was nice and crusty and it was served hot. Cutting it open the steam rises and you get a great earth smell of the mushrooms inside. For the most part we both liked it but parts of the inside could have been cooked just a tad longer and it could have used more of the
gravy demi glace as it was kinda thick inside. Good, we did eat it all and potpie is such a great comfort food, but needed a few tweaks to make it a must have dish.
Rabbit gumbo with prawns, andouille sausage, peppers, celery, carrots and corn with two big pieces of toasted, buttered bread. Like a warm thick, hearty soup that wraps its spicy arms around you. Large chunks of meat and veggies made this a filling and flavorful delight. The only odd thing was it had no rice like a traditional gumbo, which at the time we were eating made it seem off somehow. But after a few days to think about it I was okay with it as the rice would have just been useless extra carbs, plus the buttered bread was just fine to sop up any leftovers. On a foggy, chilly San Francisco day (if they ever return) this would be the perfect dish to soak in.
The Mission Beach Burger--a hulking slab of beef cooked medium rare with heirloom tomatoes, caramelized onion, baby lettuce, red onion, Point Reyes toma, lemon aioli on a toasted bun. And we splurged the $2 for bacon and it already comes with Kennebec fries. What can I say--this was a big ass burger, and at $16 it needed to be. There is a lot going on here and it all just works. the sweetness of the two types of onions and tomatoes, the tangy cheese, the smoky crispy bacon--it was all a juicy, wonderful, handful of a mess--like any good burger should be. I was a little worried the lemon would be off-putting, but it is just the barest hint of a flavor that blends seamlessly with everything else. Is it my new favorite? No, but it definitely makes the top ten of one of the best burgers I've had in this town, even at that price. It is a mouthful of burger for the buck. And no, we are done just yet.
All desserts and pastries are baked in-house so we couldn't pass up trying something. First up was the lemon velvet cream pie. Creamy, tangy, sweet, luscious, yummy--everything I wanted in a lemon pie. A large slice served slightly chilled with a side of fresh cream--which wasn't really needed as the cream on top was piled high. Fluffy, rich and satisfying. But of course, that wasn't enough........
.....there was pecan chocolate pie to be had. As a Southerner I love me some pecan pie and for me this hit all the right notes, even with the addition of the chocolate. I know for some folks this pie is way too sweet but for me I really liked it. The caramelized crunch and pecans on top, the rich brown sugar filling, the buttery slightly salty crust, it was all just right. The chocolate here, besides the drizzle on the plate, was more just a hint in the pie to me. All the other great earth flavors of nuts and brown sugar shine through. The cream also adds a a little balance to the richness. If you're into pecan pie this is a must try. And yes we, okay mostly me, finished off both of these yummy pies.
Fortunately we ate early in SF terms so I was able to roll myself out of the restaurant and take a casual stroll back home to let my food settle enough that I wouldn't be up all night with crazy food dreams. Even if I was, it would be dreams of all the good food we stuffed ourselves silly with at Mission Beach Cafe. While I can't speak for their brunch food, yet, I can say you should really take the opportunity to have dinner there. The food is fresh, comforting and when you can finish it off with some fabulous dessert, then it is totally worth it.