SF Brunch: Mission Beach Cafe
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By Dawn Maxey and Akshay Govind
Mission Beach Cafe, located on 14th and Guerrero streets in the Mission District, is a self-proclaimed New American bakery, restaurant and wine bar that features fresh, seasonal, local and organic ingredients. That description, which applies to approximately six bazillion Bay Area restaurants, meant absolutely nothing to us, so we decided to brave the staggering brunch crowd one Sunday morning to see what all the fuss was about.
Arriving 10 minutes before the place opened, Akshay was able to put our names down on the already lengthy and quickly growing list. Luckily, we made the first round of seating.
Strangely, we were only given one menu to share between us and when we asked for another, our request was denied. Shrugging our shoulders, we practiced our sideways reading as we scanned what appeared to be typical permutations of egg scrambles, Benedicts and pancakes.
We ultimately decided on the Wild Mushroom Benedict ($13.50), French Toast ($13) and a couple of coffees. Mission Beach Cafe brews Blue Bottle coffee, which was a definite plus. Not only was it strong and delicious, it was bottomless, which can either be a miracle or a terrible tragedy depending on both your caffeine tolerance and ability to say no.
When our main orders arrived, we noted that the portions were generous. The French toast was nice and thick — with a chewy exterior and a nice custardy inside.
The fresh berries and mascarpone cheese topping went nicely with the warm bread, though we would have appreciated more than just a dollop of cream and a smattering of blueberries for our three giant pieces of toast.
The Benedict was solid as well. The eggs were plump and rich, and the freshness of the steamed spinach, sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions made for a well-balanced flavor that could be bolstered at will by a savory and smooth truffle Mornay sauce. The side of pan-fried potatoes fulfilled our inner child’s need for munchables, and the only downside of the dish was the burnt edges of the English muffin.
Aside from the food, the restaurant had spaciously high ceilings and tasteful artwork. Other patrons nursed gigantic round wine glasses filled with mimosas of varying shimmering colors, and although there was a long line of people waiting to be seated, we were given adequate time to eat our food and make conversation.
Overall, Mission Beach Cafe produces high-quality versions of classic dishes with all the right buzzwords to direct a steady flow through its doors from San Francisco’s endless reservoir of clean-cut thirty somethings.
Though the food is a touch pricey, the ambiance is open and relaxed — perfect for a weekend morning brunch. We don’t anticipate they’ll print more menus anytime soon, but like us, nearly all patrons will stroll in and waddle out, happily stuffed with fare that is fresh, seasonal, local, and organic.
Dawn Maxey is a third-year medical student. Akshay Govind is a second-year resident in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.