Custard French Toast @ NOPA

Ever returned to a restaurant and thought “I really should come here more often, like tomorrow”?  NOPA is that kind of place for me.

I’ve been a longtime fan of NOPA’s upscale food and casual vibe (pork chop dinners and late night flatbread and fries anyone?), so this Bay Area Brunch visit was long overdue.  This weekend when we found a parking meter right in front and plenty of seats at the bar, the brunch stars had finally aligned.

We grabbed seats at the long spacious bar, closest to the kitchen so we had a front row view of all the gorgeous and elegant brunch cocktails being concocted and the drool-inducing dishes coming out of the pass. Saving the cocktails for another time, freshly squeezed OJ ($4) and french pressed Blue Bottle Coffee were our beverages of choice. As coffee is served only in pots for 2 or 4 people, bring a fellow coffee loving friend or proper foot attire for when you bounce off the walls ($8 for pot for 2).

NOPA’s Custard French Toast is listed on 7×7’s 2012 Big Eat List and I agree that this is an unforgettable dish ($14).  The two generous slabs of brioche like bread were soft on the inside but nicely crisped up around the edges.  On top was a sugar trifecta of orange marmalade, honey lemon butter, and syrup that made my tastebuds do a happy dance.  It definitely put my longstanding French Toast relationship with Fred’s, to the test.

We also tried the Grilled Bratwurst and while it wasn’t the “wurst” it just couldn’t compete.  (Yes, I went there.  Sorry!)  While the two poached eggs were beautifully runny the rest of the plate (the mustard spatzle, the bratwurst, braised cabbage, and roasted acorn squash) was a bit bland ($15).  However, there are many other dishes on the menu I’m coming back to try, like the Housemade Bagel & Smoked Rainbow Trout.  Could it be better than Wise Sons Deli’s?  Bagel-off!

The check arrived French Laundry style with a clothespin-homage to the past history of the space.  However, I found myself thinking about the future, namely my next brunch at NOPA.

560 Divisadero (@ Hayes)
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 864-8643

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