Le P’tit Laurent 699 Chenery St./Diamond St., in Glen Park (Monterey exit off Hwy. 280), (415) 334-3235. D daily, SunBr; $$.
It’s hard to beat Sunday brunch here in this often-sunny neighborhood business enclave.
Cozy bistro decor in this cheery French restaurant includes Venetian plaster walls, a pressed-tin ceiling, a 1940s art deco-style wood bar with seating, and classic French advertising posters adorning the walls. Some banquette seating is available, but I fell in love with our small table positioned next to a half-open Dutch door that let in revitalizing air.
My selection from the brunch menu was a no brainer—eggs Benedict--here served with French fries and a refreshing small salad. My husband opted for a vegetarian omelette. And, but of course, French toast, mussels, and escargots are also options. We shared a basket of three pastries and finished that as well as most of the complimentary bread basket filled with warm baguette slices—especially delicious topped with butter and cherry jam. The bottomless Mimosa added some lovely color to the table and cheer to the conversation. When I expressed disappointment that my cafe au lait was served in a regular cappucino cup, I was informed that this is a bow to disinterest on the part of most customers for the larger handless bowl that is classic in France. It was too late for me, but if you would like one just request it when you order. It was obvious everyone was enjoying themselves because festive chatter alsmost drowned out the atmospheric French background music. Dinner brings on a country-style French menu that might include sautéed sweetbreads with walnut crust and mushroom coulis, steamed mussels with white wine and garlic, lapin façon Normande (rabbit Normandy with fingerling potatoes), le cassoulet Toulousain maison (housemade cassoulet of duck leg confit, pork, and Toulouse sausage with beans), and fall-off-the-bone-tender lamb shank braised for 6 hours and served with French green beans and lamb jus. Desserts might include tarte tatin et glace vanille (warm apple tart with vanilla ice cream) or pain perdu et glace caramel (caramelized French toast with caramel ice cream). A special $27 three-course Neighborhood Menu is available Sunday through Thursday and includes soup or salad, entrée, and dessert.
After, we browsed the Bird & Beckett bookstore a few doors down, then headed up Diamond Street to wind our way up and over Twin Peaks and on down to Market Street, which is quite a scenic drive during daylight hours. Alternatively, the free Alemany Flea Market that operates on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. is just a few freeway exits away.
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Way more things to do in San Francisco.
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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers