Brenda’s French Soul Food is a specialty we hadn’t heard of around here—French soul food brunches. It’s only open on weekdays, it’s only open for breakfast and lunch, and it serves the most awesomely down-home French breakfast food you could imagine. There are beignets. There are fruit-topped pancakes. There are beignets stuffed with chocolate. There are biscuits and gravy. There are po’ boys. There are fried oysters. There are beignets stuffed with crawfish.

If you’re starting to think that the soul food is actually France-by-way-of-the-bayou—well, it is.

Pancakes are fluffy, with bananas, walnuts, and peaches cooked into them. Totally yum, says Windy. Sandwich roll with fried oysters and spicy rémoulade is absolutely delicious, with excellent slaw, bread, and butter pickles. Biscuits and gravy is tasty and cool; the biscuits and the gravy come separately, so you can assemble them yourself. Gravy is light brown and a little thick; biscuits are fluffy, like beignets.

Beignets are nicely greaseless. “Not quite as good as the Powderface beignets, but completely respectable,” says Windy. “It’s a sweet little spot on a grimy block.”

Service is nice, though a little rushed: The server is speedy with the clearing action; you have to guard your plate with some vigilance if you’re a slow finisher.

Brenda’s will be opening Saturdays, soon—call ahead to make sure.

Brenda’s French Soul Food [Tenderloin]
652 Polk Street, San Francisco

Powderface [East Bay]
3411 E. 12th Street #134, Oakland

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