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Non-brunch Reviews

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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Non-brunch Reviews

Sushi Delight

sushi delight sf

Let’s start with the obvious here – Sushi Delight SF is not a brunch spot. This is not to say that I’m against the idea of sushi early in the day; after all, dim sum brunch at Chubby Noodle has been one of the best we’ve gone to. Unfortunately, Sushi Delight just doesn’t open until 5pm.

Nonetheless, I think it’s worthy of a review here because even if it doesn’t have brunch, it does have bottomless. Specifically, it’s all you can eat sushi (and assorted other Japanese food) and all you can drink beer and sake. If that’s not in the spirit of Brunch Club, I don’t know what is.

The Bottomless

All you can drink will run you $25, but if you’re coming to Sushi Delight, you might as well show up hungry and just do the all you can eat and drink for $29. There’s a two hour limit, but unless the place is packed they’re pretty liberal about that. The drinks include your standard Japanese beers (Sapporo, Asahi, Kirin) and house sake (only hot, but they’ll at least bring it to you room temperature if you ask). In case you were wondering what the etiquette around dropping your sake into your beer is here, “Sake Bomb” is explicitly listed under the drink section of the menu.

You can also get soda but, y’know, don’t.

The Food

I’ll be honest – I’m generally opposed to all you can eat sushi. Sushi is one of those foods where quality matters, and you’re not getting great quality at this price. The chefs take the usual route to cover up the low quality here; the vast majority of the rolls have fried fish and/or are doused in sauce. If you’re a sushi snob, be prepared.

That said, there’s a whole host of other Japanese food on the menu that’s actually pretty solid. You can start with some gyoza and tempura then move onto chicken or pork katsu for a good meal (which, let’s not forget, you’re paying $4 for).

The Service

Sushi Delight SF is a small restaurant, so there’s always someone nearby to get you another round of food and/or drink. The sake and beers both come out in bottles, so you’re not liable to run out even if you’re doing round after round of sake bombs.

The staff definitely know what kind of crowd they’re drawing, so they take no offense if you’re a little drunk and boisterous.

Overall

Sushi Delight is a fun spot, just not the best place for sushi. Still, it’s a rowdy environment with good service and certainly a fine way to kick off a Friday or Saturday night with a whole lot of drinks for a reasonable price.

One last important note – it’s right next door to The Mint (and in fact there’s a door that goes straight from Sushi Delight into The Mint), so once you’ve got your liquid courage in you, you don’t have to go far to let loose your finest rendition of Kiss From a Rose.

Rating: 🍾🍾🍾

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