The weekend before Thanksgiving found me in San Francisco for a food awards ceremony. You’ll hear more about that at some point but not right now – in any case, whenever I visit my home away from home, I try to cram in as many friends as I can, plus my distant-not-really-my-cousins-but-I love-them-like-family-anyway. I was lucky enough this trip to squeeze in brunch with my cuz, JKL, and her BF, Hi. (Yes. Hi & JKL. HiJKL – get it??? – but no those are really versions of their names! Plus I think I’m funny) JKL chose Chambers, where she and Hi had apparently visited previously for some drinks and nibbles but heard that the brunch was awesome, so they wanted to return. I’m always game for locals choosing our spot, so off we went to this very… interesting… restaurant. Snug up against a rather … well, it’s a motel, or it looks like my understanding of a motel from watching TV – you know, where the rooms open out onto the parking lot or second floor rooms open out onto a balcony-like thing? – the place has no sign. You just know it’s there because there’s an ornate door, and when you walk in, it’s all hushed and dark, like an eclectic millionaire’s library that’s all velvet and stuff, with a billion old records lining shelves upon shelves everywhere. The place looks super hip and cool, and I’m not going to lie: my first thought was “Where the heck did JKL take me?? Does she think I’m a hipster deet dee dee?!”
We were seated in a booth with very luxe seats and I enjoyed bouncing my way into place.
Then I saw the menu, and we could not focus to save our lives. So many interesting things! So much tasty tidbits we wanted to try! In the end, we settled on a few items and got to it:
Hi opted out of having to choose one dish and instead went with ordering three sides (which option is rewarded with a $2 discount). Two eggs over hard, house smoked pork belly, and the togarashi biscuits and country gravy. Hi generously shared, forking over slices of pork belly and biscuits without a second thought – don’t you love friends who share?! – and my goodness, that pork belly was RIDICULOUS. Succulent, tender, deliciously flavored, I was kindddddd of jealous I didn’t have a huge slab on my own plate. Kinddddd of. The biscuits were good as well, but didn’t hold a candle to the pork belly.
JKL ordered the Japanese omelet “tamago” – house smoked chorizo, sweet potato, cana de oveja, and scallions. The strips of crispy sweet potato, along with a bit of sweet egg omelet, a bit of chorizo and the lovely runny cheese all worked really well together – each component was tasty, but when brought together in one bite – holy hell that was delicious. Things that I would never think to put together just worked. JKL was very happy with her choice.
I personally wavered between the hangover hash – dry aged short rib pastrami and lots of other yummy-sounding items – or the eggs royale. In the end, my affinity for eggs benedict (with salmon instead of Canadian bacon) won, and I chose the eggs royale. Oh boy was this royale to the extreme: two sous-vide eggs, crispy hash browns, cold smoked salmon mandarin hollandaise, caviar, chive and dill made up my plate, and while you can’t really see it, there was an entire rectangle of the crispiest hash brown EVER underneath all that glorious egg and sauce. It held up to the smothering and was still crisp even as I mopped up the last bites! The sous vide eggs were silky smooth, with such a lovely sweetness to them, I wouldn’t be surprised if the chef was friends with the chicken farmer who raised these hens. Bites of each alone or together were wonderful enough, but then breaking open the egg with its perfectly thickened center, a bite of salmon and caviar… I think this might be my dream brunch dish. THE dish I dream of for years to come, wishing it would grace my Sunday morning table once more. THE dish that makes me want to return to Chambers, solely for a glimpse back into that morning… I don’t think I’ll be able to ever order anything else, were I to return for brunch once more. *sigh* Those textures and flavors created the perfect harmony in my mouth: BLISS.
Breaking tradition, JKL ordered a drink but I did not. I was coming from a solid 2 straight days of heavy drinking and needed a Sunday morning break, so instead I had the French press coffee, which was tasty and not overbrewed. I was happy with it. JKL was happy with her unique bloody mary.
Then, because we are gluttons and no one can ever say no to JKL, we ordered “dessert” or one of the sweet brunch options to finish the meal.
Spiced French toast with pear compote, vanilla whipped cream and bourbon syrup. Look at that! Look how huge it is! Look… how… we… finished… every… last… bite… Ahem. Piggies. Yes, I love my cousin, not least of all for how we both love to eat! And share!
Yvo says: A resounding must-have for brunch – seriously, everything I tasted was so good, so different, I am surprised it wasn’t busier while we were there. With a truly unique menu – Asian influences on some traditional brunch dishes, and then some modern additions – just really fantastic, you must check this place out if you claim to enjoy brunch at all. I have to go back … for cocktails, dinner, and more brunch!!! Oh and our service was great, too!