Two Sisters Bar and Books, new small-plates cafe, bar and library in Hayes Valley
Last night I stopped into Two Sisters Bar and Books, a new cafe/bar on Hayes Street at Laguna.
Several small plates like roasted boar sausage with potatoes, braised salmon with baguette, and chicken meatballs with pesto and spinach. In practice, these were more like petite entrees than Spanish tapas. A small meats and cheeses section (the cheeses weren't interesting to me) and some bar snacks (nut mix, house-made beef jerky, deviled eggs, salmon rillette). Prices range from $4 for snacks and meats up to $9 for the most expensive small plate. For drinks: a few beers, wines, and apertifs.
I tried the roasted garlic, fennel and tomato bread pudding with black truffle oil and a brussels sprout leaf salad with feta, roasted corn, sliced cherry tomatoes and a lemon vinaigrette. Loved the sprout salad--the pretty, oiled leaves had been separated and then quickly blanched; they held their shape and supported the mild French feta and big chunks of tomato and corn. A good size for a light dinner. The bread pudding was lighter than most I've had, and while it had a clean, bright olive oil flavor, it lacked a certain richness that I wanted--not sure if they used low-fat milk or something other than cream to hold this together? To drink, I enjoyed a Northern California Saison.
Bookish? Warm lighting, a set of low bookcases against the wall, English country house wallpaper, very friendly service. The place is very small--only four or five tables against the wall (with 3-4 chairs) and then maybe 6-8 seats at the bar. The place remained at capacity during my visit--there were couples on dates, a group of girlfriends laughing and talking about jeggings, one person reading a selection from the library, one Chowhound editor with wet-dog hair and a book about 19th century whaling. It feels a bit like what Revolution Cafe wanted to be, or was, until you turn 30 and get tired of dry cleaning the weed smell out of your clothes. A good place to catch up with a friend, though the size and shape of the place mean that it gets--and feels--full quickly.
Brunch apparently is on the way, and it is cash only for now. I don't think they take reservations.