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Jan 15, 2011 03:47 PM

Smoked Salmon Brunch Pizza at Rose’s Cafe (San Francisco)

The last day of 2010 was dry, albeit it very chilly, and a good time a stroll down Union Street sans umbrella. The sidewalk tables at the usually ultra-busy Rose’s Cafe were deserted, seeming like a chance to eat here without a wait. Inside, people were squished like sardines waiting for tables indoors. With immediate seating outside, I opted for al fresco. With a steamy bowl of café au lait, an overhead heater radiating above, and a personal control knob to regulate the heater, soon I was as toasty through and through as I’d been in days. Rose’s Café ended the year by offering its weekend brunch menu instead of Friday lunch.

Rose’s fires pizzas in a wood-burning oven. However, a smoked salmon pie might not be the best demonstration of the fire power as shown by this platinum blonde, crackery crust pizza upskirt.

Yet, this very minimalist crust was a good blank slate for the toppings: slices of velvety cold-smoked salmon, creamy scrambled egg, a light brush of sour cream with fresh herbs, and peppery arugula, $16. Each ingredient was in just the right proportion for delicious harmony. This pizza’s more than enough for one, and probably better shared by two.

Other reports on Rose’s pizzas?

Rose's Cafe
2298 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

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  1. have heard fantastic things from my friend who lives nearby

    4 Replies
    1. re: vulber

      For as popular as Rose's Cafe is, I'm surprised that no one else has chimed in.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I had a friend who lived nearby and didn't do ethnic, so we often compromised on eating at Rose's. Solid food, not quite destination level for me as I live in a different neighborhood, but good enough I haven't minded waiting 30 minutes for a table at lunch.

        We usually order at least one pizza. They're good, not on my short list for best, but certainly in my top 20 for SF and, now that I think about it, better than my last several pizzas at A16, which sadly isn't saying much as the A16 ones were disappointing enough on 2 occasions that I haven't bothered returning.

        The salmon breakfast pizza you had is apparently good enough that my other dining companion would never share it with me and told me to order my own if I wanted more than a bite ;-)

        The chopped Gorgonzola salad is a bit of a simple pleasure, and I don't think they're allowed to take it off the menu. I often order it with the same guilt with which I order mac n cheese: I know I can make it at home, I know it isn't healthy, I know I could order something that would be more of a new experience, but it's just good.

        Service is notably consistent and accomodating in my half dozen visits to Rose's. It's still a cafe in the way that Zuni Cafe is a cafe, but there is more professionalism in the service than at Zuni.

        There probably aren't many mentions of Rose's because it is very much a neighborhood restaurant that is usually full, and upper Cow Hollow doesn't seem to have much demographic overlap with Chowhound or the desire to publicise an already-crowded restaurant.

        Edited to add: I just looked at the menu to refresh memories, and I usually skip the formulaic entrees, which are one option of each category: chicken, fish, pork, and beef. They're probably tasty, but I've always been more tempted by the appetizers, salads, pastas, and pizzas. I've also shared meals here with people of a much older and less adventurous generation, and we've all found something that we were happy with on the menu due to the layout, so "formulaic entrees" shouldn't necessarily be taken as a criticism.

        2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

        1. re: SteveG

          Thanks for the rundown. For a brief time some good friends lived directly across the street and would keep an eye on the crowd to dash in during lulls . . . not very frequently.

          Is the pale crackery crust on the smoked salmon used for the other pizzas? I thought it might be lighter just for that topping.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            You're probably right. I remember a more substantial/chewy crust for the lunch/dinner pizzas I've had, definitely not so pale, but it could also be a stylistic change. It's been over a year since I've been, come to think of it.

    2. Over the past 5 years, my sister and have met about once a month for breakfast at Rose's (we once sat outside next to Sean Penn and watched him get a parking ticket, but I digress). We are feeling virtuous, we eat poached eggs. When we are feeling naughty, we share the smoked salmon pizza. We prefer being naughty. It is definitely one of my favorite breakfasts in SF.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kl105

        Like your story! I've lived in the neighborhood longer than Rose's has been open but this was my first time to sit down and have a meal. From time to time I have pushed myself through the throng inside to buy a pastry to go, and they've all been good. The staff are surprisingly unpsychotic and cheery considering the demands on them here.