I've lived in SF for 7 years, and have known since day one that Dottie's (Jones at O'Farrell) is supposed to have the best breakfast in town. But I've also known that it's top on the list for tourists. So I avoided it, thinking "There are too many other great breakfast spots in town. I'm not standing in line behind a bunch of tourists* just to eat some eggs."
But lately my BF and I have been in a breakfast phase, and I figured we might as well give Dottie's a shot. So off we went Saturday morning. We arrived at 9 and there were "only" about twelve people ahead of us in line. All were smiling broadly, shod in their walking shoes and strapped into their fanny packs. The line moved quickly enough, but I was wishing there was a coffee shop nearby. About twenty minutes later, we were at the door and managed to slip ahead of a few people who didn't want to take a counter seat (BF and I love a counter seat).
The one cook at the grill was a sight to see! Working without pause the entire time we were there, he was a one-man ballet of flipping, slicing, warming and sautéing. He even smiled.
We started with coffee (adequate, not great) and ordered a fresh raspberry roll, which arrived evenly warmed without being toasted and covered in a generous amount of glaze (sugar and milk? not sure). It was a total sweet bomb, but delicious. No cinnamon or spice of any kind distracted us from the melody of sweet warm dough and gooey sweet glaze punctuated by the bright, tangy fresh raspberries. Heavenly.
BF then worked his way through a frittata loaded with jalapenos, tomatoes, and other things I can't recall. It definitely packed some heat, and the few bites I had were wonderful. I had the gruyere onion tart with fruit, biscuits and poached eggs. The tart was a bit rich for me, but crust wasn't the least bit greasy and concept overall was executed perfectly. Biscuits were very doughy, not crumbly like a traditional biscuit, but damn good. The fruit (pineapple, cantaloupe, strawberries, blackberries) portion was big - about 2 cups.
Couldn't finish our entrees, partially due to the raspberry roll, partially due to the fact that the portions are HUGE.
Service was good, if a bit "cutesy". But every server has their own personality, and I'd much rather they had an odd one than none at all.
We'll definitely be back, maybe for lunch too -- the sandwiches looked great. This place does everything top quality and the hype is well deserved. Also, it's one of those restaurants where everyone inside is really happy to be there -- all that positive energy is palatable and really makes for a nice start to the day.
*Don't get me wrong - I love tourists, I really do. Their enthusiasm and unabashed cluelessness is charming. Plus, they're here because they love a city I love too. But more people in line is more people in line.