Two CHOW editors on a caloric extravaganza exploring innovation, novelty, and deliciousness. RSS
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A Multiculti B Star Brunch

The back patio at San Francisco’s B Star is a little bare bones, and it still feels a little hidden and undiscovered. The fact that the staff doesn’t usually mention that they have a patio when they seat people just adds to the feeling of discovery, once you know. It’s a nice place to be if it’s actually sunny in the Richmond District.

Brunch starts at 10 a.m. on weekends, but if you show up between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. you can order off both the brunch and lunch menus, which gives you more than 40 options to wade through on the extremely multicultural menu: salmon ochazuke (rice with green tea broth poured over it), duck hash, blueberry pancakes, huevos rancheros with bacon, tomato mozzarella omelet, kau soi (chicken coconut noodles).

Since the restaurant is the sister of the phenomenally packed, line-out-the-door-every-night Burma Superstar, we started with that restaurant’s signature Burmese tea leaf salad, which is justly famous. Crunchy romaine lettuce is mixed up with tangy, funky, dark-green wads of tea leaves, ginger, crunchy fried garlic, peanuts, and sunflower and sesame seeds. The coffee wasn’t hot enough on the first round (it got hotter), and the orange juice tasted a little off, but the Burma Cooler, basically a shandy, was a refreshing mimosa alternative served by the pitcher.

Main courses: steak and eggs were served with salt and pepper fries and wasabi butter on the steak (which could have used a more nose-burning wasabi kick). The pork tocino, ordered on recommendation from the waiter, was a really comforting bowl of garlic fried rice topped with grilled jerk pork, sunny-side-up eggs, and a handful of cherry tomatoes, drizzled with some sticky balsamic vinegar. The soft-shelled crab po’ boy was done banh mi style, served in a roll with pickled carrots, daikon, sliced hot peppers, and cilantro, with surprisingly spicy (in a good way) Sriracha mayo. It would have been nice if the ratio of filling to bread was pumped up—we ate it open-faced since it seemed too bready otherwise. The lotus chips on the side were tossed with a spicy, sweet, and salty blend of seasonings and were a nice alternative to potato chips.

If you’ve ever watched Kitchen Nightmares, you’ve seen Gordon Ramsay crucify restaurants for putting too much on the menu from too many places, but B Star manages to put Burmese, Thai, American, Filipino, Japanese, Mexican, Indian, and Vietnamese foods together in a big jumble in a way that works. And that makes it a good spot to go with a crowd of people who all want to eat different stuff when they are hungover on a Saturday and don’t want to wait in line to get into a restaurant for brunch.