Sunday, January 12

Kitchen Story in San Francisco

 By now, I've clearly established that I love brunch. I have amassed enough brunch posts to start a "Brunch" category. In fact, I'm brunched out. My relationship with brunch no longer satisfies me the way it used to. We lost the twinkle in our eyes when we meet; the nervous anticipation of our union has grown into an annoyance; the classic dishes have now become old tricks. I am taking a hiatus from the brunch game for a while. The last brunch I had was at Kitchen Story in San Francisco. This one is a stand out star and a good way to end my exhausting relationship with SF brunch...for now.

The team running Kitchen Story on this day spoke mostly in Thai. I can't surmise that the establishment is owned by a Thai family. All I know is I recognized Thai words being spoken by the staff to each other. 

We were seated at the bar, in front of the heat lamp used to keep food warm before serving. What a perfect place for a food blogger. I was able to see all the dishes being prepped for other customers. Unfortunately, the lamp's lighting turned out to be challenging to photograph food. I did get this shot of the adorable table setting with a small flower arrangement and used books underneath a lantern. The used books are a recurring theme in the decor and are even used as clipboards for receipts.
Here you see the books again. It was a wonderfully decorated place that made me feel like home. Sometimes it is nice when restaurants feel lavish and exciting and other times, it feels nice to eat at "home."

 ($14) Crab panini - crab, celery, garlic spread, caper, pimento, arugula, pepper jack
I was very insistent on not eating eggs for brunch again for the millionth time. The Kitchen Story menu has a variety of non-egg options to choose from. Among them was this panini which caught my attention because it had crab, capers, and pepper jack. Sounded like a winning combo and it was. Served on soft warm ciabatta and perfectly paired garlic spread.

($12) chicken mango melt - chicken mango sausage, spinach, roasted tomato, sweet basil, mild cheddar
This sandwich has a slight Asian flare to it with the mango. Just a tease of sweet. Everything else, including the bread with its photogenic grill marks, was perfect.

($14) California Burger - wagyu patty, grilled onion, tomato, avocado, sprout, arugula, balsamic glaze, mild goat cheese
Stephen ate this burger and here are his paraphrased thoughts: It tasted like real beef/meat flavor, mildly sweet from the balsamic glaze, which was a nice touch. Stamp of approval from a picky male eater.

Brunch friends! I know his eyes are closed in the photo on the right but Sherry looks too cute not to post. You may remember her from such photos as look this girl "is wearing leggings as pants." 

I actually came up to the city to take photos of this tree. All my photos turned out like crap.

While the service is not lightning quick, the staff does well for their small kitchen and large crowd. I was privileged to observe the synchronized teamwork between kitchen and wait staff while sitting at the bar. Food comes out of the kitchen window and is garnished impeccably then moved to the heat lamp like clockwork by a staff member. Large glasses of Bloody Mary's and mimosas were mixed in the tiniest of bars hidden behind a wall only to magically appear on a tray ready for pick up by a waiter. The service was so organized and smooth that a little hiccup like their POS system shutting down for a few minutes could go unnoticed had I not been sitting right near it. I have no doubt that this type of teamwork attributes to the quality of food served to customers and furthers the familial warmth felt from the cozy decor. 

Kitchen Story's brunch menu is different because it has more options and even a few with a slightly Asian twist. The ingredients were fresh, the portions decent, and the combinations were creative. At least for $12-$14 you get something more imaginative than eggs Benedict on smoked salmon and an English muffin, though there's nothing wrong with that either. Perhaps I like this brunch more because the menu is mostly a lunch menu. The brunch time slot has typically extended so far as to roll into lunch time anyway. So what separates brunch from lunch? Is it the eggs? I can only answer with this memorable quote from Jacques in The Simpsons episode where Marge has an almost-affair.

It's not quite breakfast, it's not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of canteloupe at the end. You don't get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal.

So that's it for my last brunch outing from 2013. One of my unofficial New Year's resolutions in 2014 is to try not to eat brunch in SF as often. Sorry San Francisco brunch scene, I'm just kind of over you now. You took up a lot of my money and my time and while we've all enjoyed the ride, all good things must come to an end. I need to give other cities and other meals a chance now. This is also a call to the South Bay: open more brunch spots please!

Kitchen Story on Yelp Kitchen Story on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Mmm this looks good! Do you know if they have a gluten-free menu?
    Cheers, Dani



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