The story: Boulettes Larder opened in 2004 as a tiny specialty shop and restaurant in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, and grew a cult following for its breakfast dishes. Chef Amaryll Schwertner and her business partner, Lori Regis, expanded to an adjacent space two years ago to create the Bouli Bar (where I’ve already dined) and now Boulettes Larder has taken on many of the decor and menu of Bouli Bar, so much so that you can’t really tell where one ends and the other begins (well, except for the dividing wall and curtains).
Why I went: My friend Blake and I planned to see a Sunday matinee at the Embarcadero so decided to get brunch before hand. I’d never actually dined at the original Boulettes Larder so decided to try its popular brunch because it was close to the theaters. Most tables are reserved, but walk-ins are seated at a communal table.
The vibe: Boulettes Larder renovated after Bouli Bar was opened, and the quaint almost country kitchen vibe of the original Boulettes Larder has now taken on the sophisticated and elegant style of Bouli Bar. The neutral tones and contemporary fixtures coupled with the attentive service made me feel like I was dining at a spa.
The menu: A limited daily changing menu reflects Chef Schwertner’s use of consciously-produced farm ingredients. For brunch, the menu offers a few small bites, three egg dishes, six savory dishes, and a sweets section. What will strike you about the menu (at least for me) is the price, with entree dishes ranging from $20 to $30 (and this is for brunch).
The booze: There are a few brunch-like cocktails and a wine list. I decided to try a cocktail that sounded intriguing, but I forgot its name and what the liquor was that attracted me to it. (It had the word French in its name.) It’s base is a liquor that was brandy-like, which wasn’t really my thing, and I wished it was more bubbly. (The cocktail was $14.)
My favorite dish: I can’t say I tried enough to have a favorite. I ordered the scrambled eggs with smoked trout and salt cod brandade ($20) and it was a nice mixture of saltiness with creamy eggs, but it didn’t necessarily blow my mind. Blake ordered the poached eggs ($20) with lentils, chickpeas, ham hock and collard greens, which he enjoyed but was also not blown away.
The last bite: The dining experience at Boulettes Larder is like dining at a five-star resort with the premium prices. And while the quality ingredients and well-executed food is commendable, the plates don’t push themselves enough in creativity or complexity to match the high price tag.
The rating: 2.5 out of 4 camera snaps
The deets: Boulettes Larder, 1 Ferry Building Marketplace (next to the Sur La Table store), San Francisco. PH: 415.399.1155. Open Tuesday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch, and Sunday brunch. Reservations, major credit cards accepted. www.bouletteslarder.com
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