The story: Marlowe was an established fixture in a cozy SOMA spot, but now it’s front and center in a corner spot a few blocks away on Fourth and Brannan Streets. Under the supervision of Executive Chef Jennifer Puccio, Marlowe recently branched out into the intense San Francisco brunch scene.
Why I went: I was meeting my niece who was visiting from Colorado, and decided to check out the new brunch at Marlowe. I’ve been meaning to try the new space since they moved late last year, and was rebuffed for dinner because of its popularity. So Marlowe is a place where you definitely need to secure reservations no matter when you go.
The vibe: A sleek modern restaurant with rustic touches, from the white-painted brick walls to the reclaimed wood and butcher paper. It retains the same cozy feel of the original Marlowe, but it feels a bit more sophisticated in the larger space. The brightly lit dining room seemed like the place to people watch and to be seen.
The menu: The brunch menu isn’t your traditional brunch fare with a heavy emphasis on egg dishes. Sure, there are eggs here and there, but you get a mix of breakfast items (like yogurt, pancakes and mini eclairs) and more straight-forward lunch food like fresh oysters, jumbo shrimp and fried chicken sandwich. Of course, the popular Marlowe burger (which Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle called the best in the city) is available for brunch.
The booze: Ten specialty cocktails are available for lunch, and I couldn’t resist the Pimm’s Cup ($12), which was a nicely mixed drink of Pimm’s No. 1, Beefeater London dry gin, lemon, cucumber and ginger. My niece went with the standard cup of coffee, which came with a pretty tray of bottled milk and brown sugar cubes that our tablemates next to us thought were so cute they wanted to snap a photo of it.
My favorite dish: While our starter of warm kale and brussels sprout Caesar ($13) had a unique ashy touch to the dish of wilted kale (giving it a smokey flavor), my favorite dish was my entree of Dungeness crab and rock shrimp crepe ($18). The thin crepe was packed full of crab that was full of flavor. Typically crab can be subtle in flavor, but not in the ones sourced by Marlowe. The only odd thing about the dish was the mountain of greens covering the crepe. It was healthy but almost unnecessary.
The last bite: Marlowe has grown into a sophisticated restaurant that can almost be considered an institution, which is fitting given that it moved into the spot long held by restaurant Coco500. With its welcoming space and tasty food, Marlowe is a solid option in the city’s brunch scene.
The rating: 3 out of 4 camera snaps
The deets: Marlowe, 500 Brannan St., San Francisco. PH: 415.777.1413. Open weekend brunch, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; weekday lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; and dinner daily from 5:30 to 10 p.m. (till 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday). Reservations, major credit cards accepted. marlowesf.com
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