Serpentine, San Francisco

Serpentine is located in the up-and-coming Dogpatch, a neighborhood characterized by turn of the century warehouses and the city’s oldest residences, dating back to the 1860s. Like SoMa, but with much more personality, the old architecture juxtaposed with a myriad of stackable modern loft condos. The restaurant’s facade on the corner of 3rd and 22nd streets blends in with the industrial architecture around it. Wire glass windows raised 10 feet above street level provide little clue to what’s inside; only the painted sign on the corner column gives it away.

Inside, the building’s industrial heritage is contrasted with warm woodwork. Exposed pipes, concrete columns and iron dividers frame the spacious high-ceilings dining room while rustic hardwood floors and light colored wood accents contribute to a more welcoming feel. On the walls, a series of ocean horizon photographs complement the bluish-gray palette of the zinc tables and the beautifully distressed concrete ceiling, from which hang distinct glass blown lamps.

The simple design seems to adapt perfectly to a welcoming morning ambience as well as a more intimate dining scene.

The menu

Few things appeal more to comfort food lovers than a good weekend brunch. Maybe for that reason, morning dishes tend to stick to traditions, rarely taking risks. Not everyone likes waking up their taste buds to complex flavors. Besides, the positive effects of roasted beets on morning hangover are yet to be proven. Sweet brunch dishes like pancakes and French toast are also favorites among those years away from drinking age. Kids love brunch for its simplicity, unfussiness and high sugar content. But if that’s all you expect for a weekend morning meal, then Serpentine may not be the right place for it.

The sister restaurant to the popular Slow Club features some familiar dishes but overall, the fare is more sophisticated. More adult. Pancakes are made with buckwheat and the vegetable accompaniments on egg dishes go far beyond potatoes. Brussels sprouts, anyone?

The meal

Coffee is brewed from Mr. Espresso beans. Good and strong. The Peach lemonade, on the other hand, is unpleasantly artificial. Tastes fresh from the box.

Under the Baked eggs, flavorful vegetables like roasted celery root, fennel and Brussels sprouts. Sometimes onions and spinach replace the fennel, depending on what comes fresh from the market that day. Served with herb cream and corn bread, this is a welcomed grown-up version of a classic brunch dish.

Another good one is the Red flannel hash, Prather Ranch beef brisket, red beets, yellow finn potatoes, horseradish crème fraîche, poached eggs & grilled levain. The nicely cooked eggs go surprisingly well with the beets-horseradish combination.

One of the best dishes is the Meyer Ranch flatiron steak & eggs. Served with scrambled eggs, sausage gravy, arugula and buttermilk biscuit. The breaded steak brings a nice crunchiness to the luscious gravy-eggs combination; while the peppery arugula adds freshness to the dish.

Also tasty is the Fried egg sandwich with buttermilk biscuit, arugula, dill aioli and the best crispy potatoes in town. Optionally served with house made pork sausage. Although a bit on the dry side, this is also a good option.

In short

Serpentine serves a grown-up version of the all-American brunch fare. The ambiance is unfussy but unlike Slow Club, the Dogpatch restaurant takes reservations–a big plus. The brunch menu is inventive and only lacks sweet side dishes like Merveilles, donuts or beignets. Everything is tasty and carefully prepared. Whatever you order, don’t forget, eat all your vegetables.

Serpentine is at 2495 Third Street
Online reservations

1 comment:

Chef Ben said...

I've been to Serpentine for dinner and yes, it does have a warm ambiance to it after the sundrenched room is replaced with candlelight. I enjoyed the food, but now have to definitely go back for brunch after reading your post!