Brunch at Chow in the Castro

I finally made it to the Castro, an area of San Francisco I’d been neglecting for far too long considering the wonderful cuisine options that are there! Since I live in SoMa and I’m still figuring out where everything is, I actually had no idea how easy it is to get there from our place. A little bit of a Muni ride and you’re there!

According to Wikipedia, “the Castro is one of the United States’ first and best-known gay neighborhoods, and it is currently the largest. Having transformed from a working-class neighborhood through the 1960s and 1970s, the Castro remains one of the most prominent symbols of lesbiangaybisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activism and events.” There are a ton of fantastic things about this area, it has some really great architecture and again amazing places to eat and dine and some cool attractions. I’m not going to beat around the bush though, the Castro is also particularly known for some of the crazier and scandalous things a tourist might see, especially in the nudity realm. Even on this first trip, we encountered two nude walkers donned in top hats. I’m glad their heads were covered!

We decided to meet up with friends at Chow on Church Street which has a pretty popular following on Yelp (for once!). Now, like many of the restaurants in the Bay Area, Chow’s focus is on organic, fresh, and local. This establishment really delivers on these characteristics though. Everything I ate tasted like it had come from the backyard or an herb garden nearby. Their orange juice was literally akin to biting into an orange.

The place was crowded, but not too loud. We ate al fresco in their back courtyard as it was a really pretty day and it’s actually warmer in the Castro (I’m not sure if this is scientifically accurate, but I felt it was). Another part of Chow that really stood out to me is the level of service. You would not generally expect it from such a casual laid-back establishment, but everyone was so friendly and attentive! Even the guys busing our tables and the food-runners went out of their way to say hello and check on us. Our server was awesome and helpful in her recommendations and made casual conversation without being too intrusive or engaging in that “hovering” behavior a lot of servers pick up.

I opted for the veggie scramble with feta, thinly sliced zucchini, mushrooms, and other veggies, complete with a hodgepodge of herbs and goat cheese. It was to die for- the herbs were so fresh and it was the perfect amount of goat cheese. The scramble was served with toasted rye bread and these amazing breakfast potatoes that packed so much flavor, yet were void of the normal grease you usually associate with brunch starches.

The couple we were dining with split a blueberry pancake. After hearing them rave about it, I had to have one of my own. It was crammed with fresh blueberries (you literally bit into them and juice poured out) and served with mascarpone cream and this amazing blueberry sauce that you could dunk the pancake into. I have no words for this awesomeness and will have to go back and take a picture next time.

I was so so satisfied by the end of the meal. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a breakfast place for the books, and one that I will be going back to! I would love to come back and sample their lunch and dinner, but I’m almost nervous that it won’t live up to the high bar I have set for this place.

A 10 in the brunch and breakfast department though, and TBD for later meals.