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Broken Record--the bar/restaurant, not me repeating myself

After tips from Yelp and Tablehopper (where was chowhound?!?), we went to Broken Record in Excelsior last night. While mainly a bar with an incredible selection of whiskeys, ryes, scotches, etc., there is a kitchen in back knocking out some great bbq sandwiches and other delicious food items.

We had a pulled pork sandwich and a bbq brisket sandwich. Both were great. I am sure some bbq sticklers will call fouls all over the place, but whatever, the sandwiches tasted great. The pork had a really tangy slaw (they even call it "tangy slaw") and a nice vinegary sauce. The brisket was cubed, not chopped and had a nice red sauce on it. The rolls are even homemade. We also had brussel sprouts and mac and cheese, both of which were very good (the brussel sprouts were better then the mac n cheese). Finally, we had vanilla bean pudding with pecan pie bits and bruleed bananas. Yum!

The kitchen is run by a young couple who have had previous stints at Boulevard, campton place, Firefly, Range and some other places. they also have oyster po boys, various sausages like rabbit, wild boar and alligator, and a few other things. We can't wait to go back and try the rest of the menu.

Broken Record
1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA

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  1. Thanks for the report. If you click on the blue Places link that you so thoughtfully provided, you'll find another linked report buried in a larger discussion and additional info.

    1. I agree. We've had some great bar food there. We've tried a few of the sausages along with the brisket, a ribs special one night, the hush puppies, and the frito pie. The service has been friendly and helpful, both at the kitchen and the bar.

      1. Its been mentioned a few times. Most of my friends go for the whisky & rye selection, not the food.

        That said, the new couple in the kitchen has improved the food offerings substantially - before them it was very hit & miss. Last summer they seemed to have a hard time even keeping it open regular hours.

        I think the couple's guest appearance at Mission Street Food increased their visibility.

        4 Replies
        1. re: larochelle

          So I guess I didn't search enough:) It has been mentioned a few times. Anyway, it is great and people should go there. And the bartender says he makes a great Sazerac, so even more reason for me to return. Now, what else is great in the Excelsior? (And do you call it "The Excelsior" or just "Excelsior"?)

          1. re: Kmanlove

            When they first opened, the customers were only interested on beer & straight drinks. The first time I went there, the bartender had to look up how to make a Manhattan - I found that pretty shocking, given their booze selection.

            But they seem to be working on the cocktail skills so that's another nice improvement.

            1. re: larochelle

              The male bartender made me a great Sazerac but when I went back and asked for one from the female bartender it was not as successful.

            2. re: Kmanlove

              I like Sushi Raw. They usually have some very good specials listed (live scallop, for example) and are very freindly.

              Sushi Raw
              4435 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

            1. re: BernalKC

              Ahhh, don't you just love Marcia? I really like how a resident asking the City to enforce its own rules is slammed as "cranky".

              As much as I like Broken Record, I think they should have to play by the rules.

              1. re: larochelle

                count in the the cranky category. too many rules. too much meddling. by both city officials and cranky NIMBYs.

                fight for your right to party, laissez les bon temps roulez! etc. hopefully the hearing will fix the problem.

                1. re: BernalKC

                  Right. Most of these laws are just plain stupid rules. These rules are sucking the spirit out of the city. Look at SOMA, it's a shadow of what it was fifteen years ago.

                  Anyway, Broken Record is amazing. The food is just great. They should send the people running Baby Blues over here to learn how to make good pulled pork sandwiches. And the drinks at the bar are $5 and as good as the $13 drinks from the famed "mixologists."

            2. Now I will start sounding like a broken record. This place is great. Had another brisket sandwich, as well as the buffalo wings and collard greens and biscuit. Everything is delicious. The wings were big, crispy and spicy. The collard greens were the best I have had. I can't believe this place isn't more popular for the food. It should be on everyone's cheap eats list. Can't wait to return more times. Hopefully the stupid zoning laws won't hurt their chances of survival.

              1. It was packed by 8 tonight (a Wednesday), so I think it's a valued part of the neighborhood.

                We had the wings, brisket sandwich and pulled pork sandwich. We were very happy with the sandwiches, not so much fans of the crusty wings. I personally like a more basic buffalo wing, so I am biased. But the chicken meat itself was definitely juicy and the heat offered just enough of a bite. So they know what they're doing, it's just not my thang.

                The buns on the sandwiches are really great - soft and good at soaking up the juices, but I never worried my sandwich would fall apart en route to my mouth. The pork was mild, but the cabbage slaw on top made a fabulous crunch and I really appreciated it. They don't dress the sandwiches too much -- the vinegary sauce was an accent, not dominate.

                The beef brisket was served with a red sauce with carmelized onions, really satisfying -- but again, not too messy. They clearly have a viewpoint on what they are doing that is more about balance and restraint than indulgence and "meat".

                Everyone who worked there was nice enough, and we definitely felt welcome, although we were a tiny bit confused about how it "worked".

                When you walk in, grab a beer at the bar and then keep walking back to look at the menu board and place your order. Enjoy your food.

                1. Dang, they are not open for lunch!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Civil Bear

                    People are going all crazy on it lately but its important to remember that Broken Record is really just a dive bar with a food concession in the back.

                    Yes, right now there's a couple of really accomplished cooks there, but there have been several turn-overs in kitchen already so this current incarnation may or may not last.

                    1. re: Civil Bear

                      We went for dinner last night. Fantastic, of course. The Oyster Po-Boy was excellent. Allowed the oysters to shine but with a tangy dressing. Delish.

                      But the star of the show was the Whoopie Pie. I have never had one and was skeptical on the description. I don't care for chocolate too much (I know, who am I?) and prefer fruit desserts. Complete convert -- on the pie, not on chocolate. It was excellent. fluffy but still with substance cakey cookie outside. Fabulous buttercream filling. Bravo Catherine!

                    2. I went last night for the first time - uploaded a few snaps to the places page. The people doing the food - and the bartender - seemed weirdly nervous. I loved the food - pulled pork sandwich was esp good, and the mac and cheese with cornbread topping, although undersalted, was good. But the "dive bar" element seemed lacking. Why was there no music? Why were the staff so jumpy and nervous? They all seemed like they needed to have a few shots. When I asked about the music issue (no jukebox, an iPod), they put on some very very soft ACDC. If they booked bands in there and had more of a take-no-prisoners attitude, this place could rise above neighborhood joint/food nerd field trip destination.