Prima Colazione @ Jimmie in San Francisco
Jimmie Kwok, chef/owner from Bodega Bistro, has opened his own place, Jimmie Bar Ristorante, in the Cova Hotel.
Yesterday I gave it a try for prima colazione (breakfast). Before looking at the menu, I tried to order cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese iced coffee), but none to be had here. I asked my server, Ben, why the Italian theme and mentioned the nod to Marco Polo in Grubstreet’s piece. He laughed and said that the owner thought it would be a good niche for the neighborhood. While there will be some Asian dishes on the menu, he doesn’t want to compete with Bodega Bistro. Ben added that the lunch special of shaking beef has been a hit and the shaking beef brochette at night is very popular.
Besides Italian and a smattering of Asian flavors, Jimmie also features a raw bar. Ben said the menu was printed before the seafood prices shot up due to the Gulf oil spill, but they’re continuing to honor them for now even if they’re not making any money on those dishes. The current oyster roster included Drake's Bay, Blue Points from the East Coast, and another type from the Pacific Northwest.
I tried the Tosto Francese with mascarpone and maple syrup, $7.20. Nicely presented with a quenelle of mascarpone on the side though the strawberries were hard. I popped the lid on the Dickinson’s pure maple syrup and asked if it could be warmed up in the microwave. Ben took it back to the kitchen, then we both learned that there’s no microwave oven. They offered to heat it in a pan for me, but I declined. Made with slices of French bread, the French toast has a soft, custardy center. I couldn’t help but remember the awful cream cheese-stuffed French toast at Peter D’s, but fortunately, this was 10x better.
To answer the question about why the $7.20 price, Kwok’s lucky number is “9”. All the menu prices are multiples of “9”.
Ben said that the place has been packed every night since opening last week and he wished they had more tables. But it has been dead in the morning. I was the only other customer besides the wine salesman, and they’re thinking of closing down breakfast service.
I hope they stick it out for a while, as I’d love to try the eggs benedict. Driving by the crowd of folks lined up in the rain outside Brenda’s, I felt the urge to pull over and tell them to walk two blocks over to Ellis to try the new kid in Little Saigon.
655 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Stopped by for lunch the other day, did not realize they were still in the soft opening stage - next week is the grand opening. A strange menu that looks part Bodega Bistro and part Italian and the two don't seem to blend together that well - I was with 3 other people so we tried 3 lunch specials ($9-$13) one was shaking beef and garlic noodles - a fairly smal serving. Another was a lemongrass chicken salad, with greens that looked like the ones you put into the pho, they had a special of the day that was a roasted poussin (I think - the waiter kept pronouncing it differently) with raisins and a glaze and that was the standout dish for me - really good. We decided to try the pasta of the day which was penne and pancetta and onions in a tomato cream sauce. It was just okay a little sweet, a little overcooked and the onions were not really cooked. It looks like they will have a full bar and gelato when they are fully open. I hope that the menu gets tightened up a little because it is not cohesive at all (fresh oysters, fried calamari, potstickers, pho, several meat dishes). I love Bodega Bistro and I am desperate for something new in the Civic Center area (even in the 'loin). The atmosphere is much better than the former Chinese Restaurant that was there in the Cova hotel.
607 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109
re: Sharon S.
Thanks for the report. The Euro-food at Bodega Bistro can be quite good, it's just not what I feel like ordering when I'm there. Sounds like a few more Asian things are creeping onto Jimmie's menu.
I had also thought that the refrigerator case at the end of the bar would be a scooping station for gelato. But when I asked, I was told that it would display the shellfish for the raw bar.
607 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109