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Reviews

Hollow Cow

hollow cow

“Served shamefully.” This is the last sentence in the description of one of Hollow Cow’s brunch cocktails, the Hare of the Dog. Ingredients: one shot of Fernet, one small glass of an IPA and one menthol cigarette. I don’t smoke menthols (or any cigs, really), but you better believe I had one of these for the sake of being able to provide a thorough review for Brunch Club. That’s how much I care. More on that below.

Hollow Cow is in Cow Hollow (duh) at Union and Laguna, located in the space that was formerly Lighting (RIP). As of now, it’s still pretty new, and it looks it, with a lot of wood and exposed brick in the inside and a covered patio out back with a lot of natural light. The music is fairly loud (but it’s the good stuff – 90s/2000s classics), and there are plenty of TVs both inside and out if you want to watch a game while you brunch.

The Bottomless

$25 for bottomless mimosas with no time limit. Instead of making the mimosas and bringing them out, they just serve ice buckets with champagne and a small carafe of orange juice, which is objectively the best way to serve mimosas.

The Food

The menu at Hollow Cow is fantastic – much better than what Lightning served when they were here. A few highlights:

  • Pork and grits – This was actually my second choice after being told they were out of chicken and waffles, but it was definitely the best thing at our table. The pork belly was nicely fatty and very tender, the grits were very flavorful and the poached egg on top was a great addition.
  • Short rib hash – A pretty traditional hash dish, but notable because the short ribs were perfectly tender and sweet.
  • Steak breakfast burrito –  Nothing too different from the usual breakfast burrito except that they use prime rib, which really works.

The Service

I was devastated to hear that they were out of menthols for the aforementioned Hare of the Dog. One of the servers, though, was kind enough to pull out one of his personal cigarettes to complete the cocktail. That’s service for you. Bottles of champagne also came out quickly, as did the food.

Overall

Top notch drinks, food and service – Hollow Cow brunch may be relatively new, but it was clearly designed by folks who know what they’re doing. The only minor knock is that it’s a bit pricier than some other brunch places (came to about $55 per person for bottomless drinks and an entree for each of us), but this is very much a case where you get what you pay for.

Rating: 🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾

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Non-brunch Reviews

Mums Cafe

mums cafe

Continuing this week with non-brunch bottomless restaurants, we have Mums Cafe, home to some of the best shabu shabu in San Francisco. It’s located in the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel (formerly known as Hotel Momo) in Japantown.

In case you’re unfamiliar with shabu shabu, it’s up there with sushi as one of Japan’s great culinary inventions. First you get a large pot of broth (the exact type depends from restaurant to restaurant, but miso broth is pretty common), along with a few things to season it with – at Mums Cafe, these are their homemade spicy sauce, garlic, jalapenos and radish paste.

While you stir the seasonings in and wait for the broth to come to a boil, the staff will bring out raw meat – again, types vary by restaurant, but beef is the staple – along with an assortment of vegetables and noodles. You put these into the broth until they’re cooked, then eat! “Shabu shabu” translates literally to “swish swish,” as that’s the motion you’re supposed to make with the meat when it’s in the broth.

Besides the fact that it’s generally delicious, shabu’s appeal comes from the fact that many places that serve it offer all you can eat and drink menus. Mums Cafe is, naturally, one of those, so you’ll find me there once a month or so.

The Bottomless

The all you can eat and drink will run you $42.95 for 90 minutes, which, trust me, is more than enough to get your fill. You’ll get Japanese beer by the large bottle (they usually have Sapporo and Asahi) and house sake, hot or cold. Sake bombs definitely aren’t frowned upon, especially if you come in with a large group.

The Food

Delicious, delicious shabu. They’ll default to continually bringing you beef unless you request something else. The other options are pork, chicken and lamb, and of those I would really just recommend the lamb. Pork’s a little too light of a meat for shabu shabu, and I just can’t get behind the idea of cooking raw chicken yourself.

The vegetarian foods include a couple of varieties of mushrooms, cabbage, tofu and spinach, along with udon and glass noodles. If you’re not a fan of all of those things, they’ll bring you individual bowls of whatever you request. You can also get white rice on request, but that just seems like a waste of stomach space that could be otherwise filled with meat.

The Service

It’s a small restaurant (so make a reservation if you’re coming in at a popular time or with a big group), and there’s always wait staff buzzing around ready to get you another plate of food or bottle of beer. They’re constantly slicing more meat in the back, so when you ask for it, it’s usually out there in under a minute. Same for beer and sake. Add to that the fact that they won’t judge you at the end when you’ve had an entire night’s worth of booze and a couple days’ worth of food in 90 minutes, and you’ve got yourself some excellent service.

Overall

Mums Cafe is one of my favorite places in San Francisco, and I’ve been there for dates, my birthday (and despite about 30 rowdy folks in attendance, they gave us no problem for singing and chanting while we ate) and just about any other opportunity. I’ve got nothing but good things to say – come to Mums Cafe the next time you get the chance!

Rating: 🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾

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Reviews

Corridor

corridor breakfast sandwich
Corridor very recently launched their bottomless brunch, so naturally Brunch Club had to go pay them a visit. You'll find Corridor on Van Ness in
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Reviews

Blackwood

blackwood food
You'll find Blackwood SF deep in the heart of brunch country - the Marina. It's a small place that shares ownership with Kitchen Story and
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