Lots of people, both local and travelers say one of the best place to eat in San Francisco, especially or brunch, is Brenda’s French Soul Food. So, of course, we had to check it out. It was fairly easy to spot, with its red painted exterior. The chef/owner of this place, Brenda (naturally), grew up in New Orleans so her cuisine is truly original Cajun, French soul food, unlike someone imitating their cuisine. They have special menu each day, and all they offer sounds like food heaven.
The inside is large, with very high ceiling which holds some skylights, making it nice and bright. It seemed like it used to be two large rooms on the floor. They kept some of the dividing wall, but top half (more than half) of it is open, so it feels and looks very much open and large. Nice, fun decor, and I really liked antique-looking coffee can to hold the silver wears and tin can to hold condiments. I thought it was such a cute touch!
We started our Brunch with a nice cup of coffee, “Community Coffee with Chicory” ($2.50). It was nice and strong, nice aroma, and of course, free refill. The mug was kinda big, so you won’t be getting that many refills, unless you are some caffeine lover… Really nice cup of coffee, and at $2.50, it is a steal!
So, lets go into the food, shall we? We ordered Hangtown Fry ($13.00) and Egg & Bacon Tartine ($10.75). The Hangtown Fry came with crispy oyster, bacon & scallion scramble, with grits or hash, plus cream biscuit or toast. We chose hash and biscuit. The “scramble” was more like a round omelette, and it had fried oysters in it! The mix of egg and fried oysters were actually surprisingly delicious, and the added bacon and scallion provided extra flavor, making it such an exquisite dish! And the biscuit… oh, my, biscuit. I’ve heard about their biscuit being really great, and it was really, really great. It was buttery, flaky, fluffy, just an awesome, warm biscuit ever! The hash had nice flavoring also, very filling.
The Tartine came with bacon, scrambled eggs, gruyère & tomato-bacon relish on toasted french roll, with choice of grits or hash. We chose hash. You can’t really see the french roll, but its there, under the egg, and was toasted nicely, making it kind of an Egg Benedict with a twist. And a very tasty one! The tomato-bacon relish was really amazing, flavor explosion. It was really tasty all the way, and very filling.
So, the food was sooooo good and delicious, we decided to back few days later, for sweet dishes this time. We ordered Sweet Potato Pancakes ($9.25), which comes with Butter Pecan Sauce. It was HUGE, fluffy, with gooey sauce, pecans, and dusted powder sugar. It had chunks of sweet potatoes in the pancake, so the taste of sweet potato was not lost in the pancake. Super delicious!
We could not leave without trying their Beignet… Their regular Beignet menus come 3 per order, but you are allowed to order just one. Since we wanted to try more than 1 flavor, we ordered one of their Plain ($2 per piece) and another one, the special Beignet of the day, “The Congo” Beignet ($3/piece). The special Beignet of the day is priced per piece, so not to get confused…
The plain is for the “die-hard traditionalist” and comes in the traditional rectangle, without any filling or anything fancy. Just a simple, basic, great Beignet the way it was born into this world… Their Beignet was airy, fluffy, lightly fried, moist, and very delicious. Reminded me of the days in New Orleans…
The Congo Beignet is made with banana, walnut, chocolate chips, and cream cheese. Yes, it sounds amazing, right? And yes, it tasted just as awesome! When you cut them in half, you see all the chunks of banana, walnut, large chocolate chips, and gooey cream cheese goodness! It was so decadent and rich and delicious! I love the original Beignet but this one was really great too, especially for the sweets lovers…
Overall, everything we tried at Brenda’s was a big hit. Great food, nice ambiance, large, open space so that you are not cramped in there, and pretty good service also. So, when you are in SF, you might want to head over to Brenda’s for some seriously awesome French Cajun! One note – they do NOT take reservation, so go there early!
Brenda’s – 652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102