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Smoked Salmon Benediction @ Fattoush, SF

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Smoked Salmon Benediction @ Fattoush, SF

Melanie Wong | May 25, 2005 07:42 PM

On a whim I popped into Fattoush for brunch when passing through the neighborhood recently. While it was hard to ignore the Levant-style lunch menu for my first visit to this chow favorite, I wanted to try the weekend-only offerings for one of my rare Saturdays in the City. Also, most of the patrons were happily eating eggs and other breakfast-y things, which I took as a good sign. I asked to be seated outdoors in the patio on this sunny day, but it had been reserved for a large group.

A section of the brunch menu, called "Benedictions", features various permutations of eggs benedict. My order, the smoked salmon benediction, featured a generous layer of chopped smoked salmon on toasted English muffins, poached eggs, and a luxurious swathe of spicy hollandaise sauce. The piquant sauce, stained red-orange from hot pepper powder and rich with yolks and butter, was a surprise for the eye and palate, as the menu description gave no hint of the use of spice. I liked the peppery accent, though it might be better for one of the other benedictions instead of the smoked salmon. As the salmon had a noticeably sweet cure and the hollandaise was too low on the lemon juice component, I asked for some lemon wedges to balance the flavors. These turned out to be low on tartness with more than few drops needed to have any effect. The manager stopped by later to ask if everything was alright, as he'd noted my request for lemons and the quantity of food I'd left on my plate. When I told him that the hollandaise was low on lemon acidity, as were his lemons that day, he said that I should have spoken up sooner. He emphasized that he wanted me to be a satisfied customer and that he encouraged all feedback for the kitchen to fine tune the ingredients. He was so gracious, I didn't have the heart to point out to him that one of the egg yolks was punctured and had leaked out before reaching the table.

I also had a pomegranate juice, the one concession to the Middle Eastern standard. It had a musty, pruney note plus a lot of sediment. After drinking POM juice, I wouldn't order this again.

Service was efficient and personable. Even though harried due to the large party outside, the staff did a better job than I would have expected under the circumstances. Each time my waitress passed my table, she did a quick look to see if I needed water or anything else. While my food wasn't perfect, it was tasty and offered at a fair price. The warmth of the staff made it even better.

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