Rocco’s Cafe, Maybeck’s, Brenda’s French Soul Food: Check, Please! Bay Area reviews

Announcer: A KQED
television production. ♪♪ ♪♪ Sbrocco: I’m telling you
right now — I am hungry! Sbrocco: Hi.
I’m Leslie Sbrocco. Welcome to
“Check, Please! Bay Area,” the show where regular
Bay Area residents review and talk about
their favorite restaurants. Now, we have three guests,
and each one recommends one of their favorite spots, and the other two go check ’em
out, to see what they think. This time, however,
we have a very special show, with three
San Francisco celebrities. [ All cheer ] Sweetbriar: Where?
[ Laughter ] Sbrocco: Chef, restaurant owner,
radio host, and “Top Chef” contestant
Ryan Scott is a very busy man. He left Los Banos to join
the California Culinary Academy, and it’s been
about food ever since. Even his beautiful
baby’s name is Olive. Scott:
And she’s at the table. Yes. Sbrocco: There we go. And recording artist and
entertainer, BeBe Sweetbriar, has a special name, one she created by combining
the name of her first pet, along with the name of her
first street she lived on. Wow. What a sweet,
little combination. But first, activist, fundraiser,
and public speaker, Sister Roma, is one of the sisters
of Perpetual Indulgence. This Order of queer nuns
is devoted to community service delivered with humor
and irreverent wit. But there’s nothing irreverent
about her old-school Italian joint on Folsom
in San Francisco. Her pick is called Rocco’s Cafe. [ Horn honking ] ♪♪ Dial: Rocco’s Cafe
is exactly what the walls are. It is San Francisco,
it is Italian, it is American. It is an old-school restaurant. My name is Don Dial. I am the owner and chef of
Rocco’s Cafe in San Francisco. Food’s been in
my family forever. We’ve had restaurants,
you know, since the 1930s. My grandfather had a restaurant,
my uncle had a restaurant, my aunt had a restaurant. Rocco’s Fine Foods was
my grandfather’s restaurant. So, I opened up Rocco’s Cafe
in his honor. Some things are just in your
blood, and this was in my blood. My blood’s like tomato sauce. ♪♪ I have a big personality,
and I have an open kitchen. I don’t really have to move
from the kitchen to see every seat
in the restaurant. I really enjoy handing
them the food and actually talking
with people. The food’s steaming
right off the plate. You come here, you eat,
and you get a facial. I mean, that’s the whole idea. We’re not trying to be
something that we’re not. We just do it the way we do it. Is it right? I don’t know. It’s the way we do it,
and it’s consistent. Sbrocco: All right, Roma. We’re going to talk first about
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Roma: Oh, great. Sbrocco: Yes, because
you particularly are so involved
in community service, along with all
of the other Sisters. Tell us a little it about it. Roma: Well, the Sisters
actually started right here in San Francisco 49 years ago. We’ll be celebrating our
49th year on Easter Sunday — Sbrocco: You don’t
look a day over 40. Roma: Thank you.
Sbrocco: You’re welcome. Roma: Well, I actually have been
a Sister for 30 years. Sbrocco: No.
Roma: I have. So, it’s been quite
an amazing journey, and there really isn’t
a place like San Francisco where this type
of thing could begin, but now we have Orders all over
the world, on four continents. And we do community
service and activism and fundraising
and entertaining. And I’m a writer and all sorts
of wonderful things. Sbrocco: All right, and now
we’re going to talk about your restaurant, Rocco’s. Roma: Ah!
I just love Rocco’s so much. Sbrocco: Why? Roma:
Because it’s one of those places you walk in, and
you feel immediately at home. First of all,
the decor is just — There’s so much to look at.
Sweetbriar: All the pictures. Roma: All the pictures, the
frames, the mirrors, the people. There are celebrities
that have been there and just local customers. They love their customers. And they’re so friendly. And the thing that I like to do
is take people who live here who’ve never been,
and they’re like, “How did I not know
about this place?” Sweetbriar: Well, I think
they forget, too, because it’s in the middle of where all the new stuff
is happening. And yet, this place has been
there for so long. It’s kind of —
You get the taste of the old. I hope it never goes away.
Sbrocco: Right. They try to put with
that old-school Italian — And this is the
third generation — Chef Don’s grandfather.
Roma: Chef Don is my jam. I love him. He’s so friendly. You know I’m a chef groupie,
Ryan. Don’t get jealous. You’re my number  uno,
my favorite of all time. Sbrocco: Chef Don could be
just maybe number 2. Sweetbriar: And Rocco’s
is named after his dad. Sbrocco: Right.
Scott: Is it, really? I didn’t know that.
Roma: It’s a family affair. Scott: That’s really cool. Roma: And there’s also
an open kitchen, so even if you go alone,
you can have a great time, because you can watch ’em doing
everything, and it’s all fresh. Sbrocco:
Is there a dish you crave? Roma: Well, I like to go
for breakfast, usually. Sbrocco: Oh! Roma: So, I like Rocco’s
favorite frittata, which is fluffy eggs
and cheese and tomato and onion and giant chunks
of like sausage that are real spicy and — Sweetbriar:
Kind of like your jewelry. [ Laughter ]
Roma: Yes, I like big chunky — Sbrocco: I don’t want
to get hit by her. Scott: By the way,
I did not get the memo. Nobody gave me the memo. I’ve got a wedding ring,
that’s it. Sbrocco:
Ryan’s missing his jewelry. Scott:
May I please have some bling? Sweetbriar: That’s a big
meatball right there on that. Sbrocco: All we need
is some spaghetti. Scott: By the way,
spaghetti was delish. I love a place
that you can get eggs all day. But you can also get
spaghetti in the morning, you can get a hamburger
in the afternoon. But when I sat down,
this reminded me of my hometown. Started with a side
of meatballs. It was amazing! Caesar salad — I love you —
a little on the sweet side, but it was good. I’ve got to say, out of all
the things that I ordered, that burger,
the house ground burger, you would tell me a place
that makes homemade pasta, does everything
that Rocco’s does, and the burger with
the blue cheese on the sourdough bread
that screams San Francisco. Sweetbriar: Amazing. Scott: Look, a $16 burger
in San Francisco right now, is like a four-bedroom
house for $400,000. You can’t find it.
It doesn’t exist. And I ate it. The fries were salty
and delicious. The server came up
and asked multiple times, “How is your meal?”
That’s all I want. I want comfort, I want somebody
to ask how I’m doing, and I want food
that somebody stands by. Sbrocco: And that’s what
this place is about. It’s about comfort. What did you have
when you were there? Sweetbriar:
I went with chicken Marsala. And I love anything where I can
take my sourdough bread and dip it in there. The sauce, it covered
the entire plate. And the mushrooms were fresh
and they were so, so good. And I started my meal off
with a Sierra beer. And I love, ’cause they serve it
in the little small, traditional, like,
Italian glasses. I totally enjoyed it. The flavors of that Marsala
were excellent. I can’t even tell you. I wanted to roll my eyes back,
like, you know, it was that, that good. Scott: By the way,
can I just say this? This is a bucket list for me,
and this cheese is real, okay? This is real. Roma: However, this bread
is another story. Scott: They’re not
supposed to know that. They’re not supposed
to know that. Sbrocco: Bring his loaf back!
We need that loaf. Scott: I know, it’s fine. But let me say this —
The chicken piccata, I would go back
100,000 times for. They brought it out,
there was so much sauce, to where you could take a
soup spoon, and you drink it up. Perfectly cooked. It was chicken breast that
was pounded it perfectly. Roma: And you can
take the chicken in it and it’s not smothered
by the other flavors. Scott: And it’s not
too seared, by the way. The chefs —
two guys in the kitchen in that packed restaurant. My favorite part
is they ring the bell every time the food’s done. There’s something
about that homey comfort that Rocco’s is all about.
I love it. Sbrocco: I left my heart
in San Francisco, right? Sweetbriar: And they have
that sign, that Mayor Alioto sign above the door. So, you almost feel like this
has been anointed. This is the place to be. I really felt that.
Sbrocco: What else do you get? Sweetbriar: Well, you know
I’m a big meat-eater, and they make
a delicious pork loin, garlic pork loin,
that is fall-off-the-bone, melts in your mouth perfection. Well, they make
amazing crab cakes. Sweetbriar: I’ve had those.
Roma: Weren’t they delicious? They’re so light and fluffy, but
you can totally taste the crab. It feels like they just took it
right out of the bay. Sbrocco: And what about the rest
of the clientele there? I mean, is it locals
who are coming there? It’s not tourists. Scott: When we went in,
there was suits, there was people rushing. Uni was stopping and office
workers around the corner. And I watched the tables,
some got breakfast, some got lunch,
some got spaghetti. These places
don’t exist anymore. Sbrocco: Yeah.
That’s a crazy kitchen. Scott:
And they were crushing it. Roma: And they do not
bat an eyelash if a drag queen
or a leather man walks in, because they are right
in the heart of Folsom, and that is one
of our districts. Sweetbriar: The customer
service was really good, but I’d have to say that I
didn’t feel like it was special. It was definitely good,
it just wasn’t exceptional. Sbrocco: And talk about prices.
Is this good value? Sweetbriar:
Oh, great value, I think. Scott: This place, I’m sold.
Thank you. Roma: Wonderful.
Scott: I’ve been here 16 years, and I never knew it was there
and thanks to you. Roma: See, that’s the kind
of reaction I like. Sbrocco: Right.
So, this is your spot. Wrap it up for us. Roma: So, if you’re looking
for a place to go to bring people who are in town
or even from out of town, and you want ’em to have
a wonderful meal with friendly service,
go to Rocco’s. Sbrocco: Okay. And, Ryan? Scott: I’m sold. Done. I’ll go back many, many times
and the chicken piccata is really dog-gone good. Sbrocco: All right, BeBe?
Sweetbriar: I love it. I love the fact that they use
really great sauces, and the sauce is good
for the rest of your meal. Dipping of your bread,
that sourdough bread. Go.
Scott: Straw needed. Sbrocco: If you would like
to go to Rocco’s Cafe, it’s on Folsom Street
at 7th in San Francisco. The telephone number
is 415-554-0522. It’s open every day
for breakfast and lunch, dinner Tuesday
through Saturday. Reservations are recommended
and the average dinner tab per person without drinks
is around $30. Sbrocco: You can define
Ryan’s place as straightforward and simple
with a touch of smoke, a place to sit alone
or party with a crowd. And with a different
special every weeknight, planning is easy. On Scott and the Marina
in San Francisco, it’s called Maybeck’s. ♪♪ Lowe: We’re two peas
in a pod, really. Toensing: I’m Aaron Toensing,
and this is… Lowe: Erik Lowe. Toensing: And we are the chef/
owners of Maybeck’s Restaurant. Lowe: We’ve basically forced
ourselves to become friends. Toensing: Yeah.
Lowe: Yeah. [ Both laugh ] Toensing: We have no choice. Lowe: We get along
really well, actually. There’s times when
we butt heads, but — Toensing: Yeah,
we finish each other’s… Lowe: …sandwiches.
Toensing: Mm-hmm. Lowe: A lot of the times — More sandwiches
than sentences, really. A lot of the food is based
on classic American dishes. One dish’s that’s close to
my heart is our chopped salad — Very simple, classic,
and it’s served in a Pyrex bowl from the ’50s
that my mom found on eBay. My mom says, “Oh, my God.
You have to have those bowls.” So, she went online
and bought every one that was available out there. Your chopped salad. You see it across the room.
You say, “Hey, what’s that?” and then you order it,
because you want that cool bowl. But there’s something
good inside it, too. Toensing: Yeah.
Lowe: Yeah. Toensing: It’s really
about the neighborhood. The people in the neighborhood
are really supportive. When I leave a restaurant,
I don’t know, that satisfaction
that you feel — Lowe:
It’s a personal experience. Toensing: Erik and I
are on the floor a lot. Lowe: We take a lot of pride
in knowing our guests and treating them well,
and that’s why they come back. Toensing: Yeah, people
go back to restaurants because of how they
were treated, so… Sbrocco: Let’s talk
about Maybeck’s, because this is a cool spot. Scott: It is such a cool spot. Look, here’s the thing
in San Francisco. To open a restaurant
is hard enough, to open one on Lombard Street
is hard enough. Two guys, Erik and Aaron — when you have a place
where chefs run the food, bus the tables,
make the pasta, they’re a pastry chef,
they’re a host — Sbrocco:
They come out and talk to you. Sweetbriar: They were there.
Roma: Yeah, so friendly. Everybody was really friendly. Scott: Yes!
I was so — I was so nervous. I sent two of you to the Marina. When is the last time — No, when is the last time
you’ve been in Marina? Roma: Well, no, look,
it was not my crowd. It definitely felt very Marina. However,
the staff was my people. I saw people I identified with
on every level there. And, of course,
people were very friendly in the tables around us, too. I went with three friends,
and we were loud, It was Friday night.
It was on jam. Sweetbriar:
It’s that New York loud. I felt almost like I was
walking onto a movie set. ‘Cause you know how
the lights are — Sbrocco: Well, they have
the tin roof above. Sweetbriar: It was busy ’cause it was their
beef Wellington night. Roma: That’s what I want
to go back for! Sweetbriar: But I didn’t have
Beef Wellington, but I — Roma: They have a carving party. You go at 7:00,
and they do a carving party. Toensing: All right, so,
thank you for making the trek back to the kitchen. We just decided to do
beef Wellington once a week. Uh, we played around with it and got it to a version
that we really liked. And people started to ask if they could come back to
the kitchen and see us slice it. So, we decided to just
start inviting the whole dining room
back to the kitchen. We call this
the ceremonial slicing. And hopefully, like I said, we have a nice ring
of duxelles here and we do, so there you go. Roma: I was glad to be
dressed up a little bit. I was glad I invited the people
I did because they cook and they like food
as much as I do. And they’re very adventurous.
Sweetbriar: You don’t cook. Roma:
No, they like food like I do. Sweetbriar: You said they cook. Roma:
They cook and they like food. Scott: Microwave. Roma: You know I’m good
with a microwave. Scott: It’s called 30 seconds. Roma: I’ve had meatballs
and peanut butter for dinner. I will be single
for the rest of my life. And Ryan was like,
“I’ll cook for you!” Scott: I’ll take care of you,
Auntie. Sbrocco: I’ll go out
to dinner with you. Roma: I discovered
that I like octopus. Sbrocco: Oh!
Roma: It’s so delicious. Cooked to perfection, and then you take it
with their special sauce and then a little
chunk of potato, and eat it all in one bite, and the flavor
just explodes in your mouth. It is the perfect bite.
Sweetbriar: Yeah. Sbrocco: There’s so many things
I could say to that, but I’m not going to.
Scott: PBS. Roma: Did you have
the garlic bread, though? Sweetbriar: Oh, yeah!
Scott: Oh! Stop. Roadblock.
Roadblock to heaven. Roma: We ordered it twice. Sbrocco: You had a loaf and then
you ordered another loaf? Roma: We did, because
it was so delicious. We ordered it
with our appetizers and then we were like,
“We need some for dinner, too.” It’s hot, of course. It’s wrapped up like
a little baby, like swaddled, it was literally swaddled. It was dripping
in the olive oil. And then the fresh chopped
garlic on top, generous amount. Scott: And the cool thing about
it is — People don’t know this. You go to the bar,
they have fried pickles, they have a chicken sandwich
at the bar. The Wellington won me over, but
I think the chefs won me over. They make all the desserts,
they make their bread, I mean — Roma: Oh, that
chocolate lava cake? Sweetbriar: My God!
Sbrocco: Wait. Dessert. Hold off on dessert, girls, because I want to talk
about the pork. Sweetbriar: Oh! The pork was amazing.
Sbrocco: Let’s talk meat. Sweetbriar: And it had
a grilled apple on top and the flavors
of that smoke and sweet and the pork chop was not dry. The potato, which had
kind of a curry — kind of almost like a Marsala. Scott: Really? Voullivan.
Sweetbriar: Voullivan? Sbrocco: What do you think
they’re talking about? Roma: I have no idea. Scott: It’s not your hairpiece,
by the way. Sbrocco: Vadouvan!
Sweetbriar: Vadouvan! Scott: I love how
you know that, Les. Chef here, chef. Sweetbriar: Well, we had
the spaghetti and meatballs, which were delicious.
I mean, how can you — You really can’t screw up
spaghetti and meatballs. Scott: But Rocco’s —
You go from Rocco’s to this. Roma: It was pretty good. I mean, it wasn’t
the best spaghetti and meatballs I’ve ever had. The thing that really
knocked our socks off was the wild flounder,
the fish and chips. And, you know, usually when
you get fish and chips, at least in my experience, it’s just like three
or four little pieces, it’s one giant piece
of delicious white, flaky fish. I mentioned earlier
I’m not a huge seafood fan, but that fish was perfect. Sbrocco:
But you are now an octopus lover
and a flounder fan. Roma: I guess I am. And they have a remoulade
that you dip it in the tartar sauce that was —
Scott: Homemade tartar sauce. But here’s the thing. Erik and Aaron
know the fishermen that drop that fish off. Sbrocco: I want to talk a little
bit about the wine list, because I was super-impressed. I mean, it’s two pages,
affordable wines, really eclectic, delicious. And I was impressed
with the wine. Scott: I mean, when I looked
at that wine list, I mean, we wanted to invite
more people just to share, just to try,
because it was affordable. That’s what’s cool. One person at the bar can have a
glass of wine, a bottle of wine. Roma: BeBe.
Scott: BeBe. Sbrocco:
Don’t look at her or me. Scott: So, you two
are there next week. And a pasta and then
have a little spumoni. You were taken back to Italy,
but in San Francisco. Roma: And we did
have the spumoni. We had the chocolate lava cake,
the spumoni, and the almond pound cake. Scott: You had every dessert.
Roma: Oh, yeah, we did. Well, the homemade gelato
is so delicious. And the thing I really liked
was the pistachio. This had giant chunks
of nuts in it, and the flavors were so good. And then the chocolate cherry
and the vanilla, it all just came together. Sbrocco:
And that pound cake is dense and almondy
with the little crisps — Roma: Powdered sugar on top.
Fantastic. Sweetbriar: I had the chocolate.
The chocolate was to die for. I took one bite of it,
and I just, like, closed my eyes and just went… I pictured, people were
looking like, “What is he doing, a séance?” Scott: You almost sang that.
Sweetbriar: I almost sang it. Scott: You saw that, right? Sbrocco: Don’t worry.
I’m gonna get her to sing. Don’t you worry.
Scott: I saw that. Sweetbriar: I could go back
just for dessert, really. Sbrocco: Well, you can. You can go back, sit at the bar,
have a glass of wine. Sbrocco: All right, your spot —
Wrap it up for us, Ryan. Scott: Hey, chef/owners,
they get it, understand it. And great food, great pasta,
great desserts, great meat, everything.
Go there. Sbrocco: All right, BeBe. Sweetbriar: Walk in,
immediately, you feel special. Great from beginning to the end. The food is to die for.
Go back. Sbrocco: Okay, and, Roma? Roma: Perfect
for a special occasion. Everything is delicious
and wonderful wait staff. Going back. Sbrocco: All right, if you would
like to try Maybeck’s, it’s on Scott Street
at Lombard in San Francisco. The telephone number
is 415-400-8500. It’s open for dinner
Tuesday through Sunday, with lunch on Saturday. Reservations are recommended
and the average dinner tab per person without drinks
is about $50. Punch. I remember sneaking sips
from my parents’ Christmas party bar as a kid. Whether made
with added alcohol or not, at the time, punch’s reputation as the drink of the day
was starting to decline. But punch is back. The word comes from a Sanskrit
term meaning “five,” as the original punches
had five ingredients, with alcohol, water, spice, and sweet and sour flavors,
from sugar to citrus. Hailing from India in the 1600s, when British sailors
concocted or adopted this group-worthy cocktail, punch made its way
across the globe and became a staple
in British pubs and pre-Revolutionary
American watering holes. Cultures from across the world
have their own versions, but in my signature blend,
I use a little rum, a lot of fruit,
something fizzy, and, um, did I say rum? Yeah, It packs a punch. Ahh! Cheers. ♪♪ BeBe grew up with
family connections from New Orleans
to Baton Rouge, which cemented a love
for all things Creole. And her spot excels
in those flavors, while mixing it up a bit. On Polk in San Francisco, it’s called
Brenda’s French Soul Food. ♪♪ Woman: Mmm! Truesdell: When a person
comes to Brenda’s, we want to make sure we’re
feeding their darkest, deepest, most satisfied cravings
that they have. Buenviaje:
French soul food, to me, is basically Creole food
that I grew up with. It’s French-inspired,
earthy, rich, it’s spicy. I’m Brenda Buenviaje. I’m the chef/owner
of Brenda’s French Soul Food. Truesdell: And Libby Truesdell. I’m also the co-owner
of Brenda’s French Soul Food. Buenviaje: Since we’ve opened,
I’ve employed my beignet machine,
also known as Louis. He makes
about 100 beignets an hour. He’s here for eight hours a day,
so you do the math. A lot of beignets. Truesdell: The building that
we’re in is over 100 years old, that survived the
San Francisco earthquake. Buenviaje: When we
finished the remodel and we exposed
this gorgeous brick wall that’s cracked
from the 1906 earthquake. Truesdell: One of the most
satisfying things is to have our regulars
come back again and again and say,
“This is my favorite dish, because it reminds me of
when I was young.” Buenviaje: I’ll have people
stop me on the street and you can see
the actual love in their eyes and I’ve actually like,
invoked something from deep within this complete stranger who just is moved
by something that I fed them. Sbrocco: Okay, BeBe, you have
an amazing talent. Sweetbriar: Oh, thank you. Sbrocco: Can you give us
a little — Sweetbriar: Well, I’ll
give you something I think will lead
into the restaurant. How’s that? Okay?
Sbrocco: I love that. Sweetbriar:
♪ When I think of home ♪ ♪ I think of a place ♪ ♪ Where there’s
love overflowing ♪ ♪ I wish I was home ♪ ♪ I wish I was back there. ♪ ♪ With the things
I’ve been knowing ♪ Roma: That’s my favorite song! Sbrocco:
That gives me goose bumps! Scott: I love you.
Encore! Encore! Sbrocco: So, Brenda’s
reminds you of home? Sweetbriar:
I grew up in a household where food was more than just a thing to
nourish our bodies, it was really something
to make us feel good. And so, that’s what
I think about when I want to have
a food experience. And I think Brenda’s
definitely does that. When I first walked
in there, I felt — you’ve been to
New Orleans many times — like it was a restaurant
in New Orleans. It’s very simple.
Scott: The decor is well done. Roma:
I mean, if it was 120 degrees, I would’ve thought
I was in New Orleans. Sweetbriar: Right. Exactly. The diners, too,
it was such a perfect cross-section of San Francisco. I mean, you see
everybody there. And it’s so affordable. I started with the black walnut
ice coffee with whipped cream. Sweetbriar:
But to start off with that? Roma: Yes!
You know I’m a coffee freak, so if you have a good coffee,
I’m all in. Scott: Coffee, eggs,
pancakes, peanut butter. We’re learning. We’re learning.
Roma: That’s it. Sbrocco: I think
she’s from the South. Roma: Did you know
that the cheese is real? [ Laughter ]
It is. Sbrocco: But the bread is fake. Roma: I had to try that. But I had the pork belly
with grits and cheesy — Ohh! And a poached egg. Oh, the pork belly
was thick and crispy, but then you got that fat. I mean, fat is where
the flavor’s at. Sbrocco: Oh, yeah. Roma: So, that’s what
pork belly is all about. And I had forgotten
what I ordered, to be honest, so when it came, it was in this
giant 3-inch deep plate. And it was just
covered in cheese, and I thought, “Did I order
Mexican? What is this?” ‘Cause it looked like
sour cream. And then I poked in,
then the egg just fell open and the yolk joined the cheese
and the grits and — Scott:
Was this brunch or dinner? Roma: I went for brunch. Sweetbriar:
And what about the biscuits? Roma: Oh!
That biscuit is ridiculous! [ Laughter ]
Sbrocco: It’s the size of this. Roma: Yes, it really is. And it’s just so fluffy
and flaky and buttery and it’s all got peaks
and valleys and it was so good. And the fried chicken. Sweetbriar: The BFC. Brenda’s Fried Chicken
is the BFC. Scott:
I didn’t even get it because
I went through everything else. Do I have to go back
just for that? Sweetbriar: You do have to go
back for that. Sbrocco:
And what makes it the best? Sweetbriar: I don’t even know,
because it’s a special recipe. Roma: Secret recipe.
Oh, no, it’s a secret. Sweetbriar:
It almost feels like there’s a
caramelization of maybe a maple? Roma: Yeah, there’s
a different spice in there. Sweetbriar:
That’s what keeps the juice in. It has to be something. You know.
What would do that? Scott: Uh, a place
that has fried chicken as a side must be really good
at fried chicken. When your biscuit
stands alone — Ohh! Like, I asked to take two home,
and I gave my wife a brown bag. [ Laughter ]
I ate both of them. Sbrocco:
“Here, honey. I love you.” Scott: Look, if you’re
ever going to cheat, cheat at Brenda’s. When calories don’t count,
go to town. Like, I was just in the corner,
just like, “Num, num, num.” I loved from the beginning
to the end. I love how the servers at
the front door are attentive. But here’s — I’ll be
the girl at the table. Um, I ordered the salad. I ordered the salad. I got the deep-fried brie
with the buttermilk dressing and the crispy shallots. And then the sweet
potato dumplings. I thought,
“She’s not going to — It’s fine. She’s going to
serve me some wonton thing, and it’s going to
look all weird.” No, she killed it. And I got the cobbler, and it
was cobbler of the night. And it was apple and blueberry. Loved the biscuit, again. The biscuit was on top,
so I had the biscuit again. The ice cream was amazing, but it seemed like somebody
turned their head and they put
too much cinnamon in it. It’s a simple mistake.
I get it. Look, dessert’s not going to
stop me from going back there. Sweetbriar:
The last time I went there, I had their sampler beignets
as my dessert. So, you get all three of the —
you know, the traditional one with just the powdered
sugar on it. And then the other one
is a chocolate-filled and then the one I love the best
is the Granny Smith’s apple. And it was like really having
apple pie just rolled up. But I — I devoured all three
of those, yes, i did. It did remind me
of being in New Orleans and being back
in the French Quarter. And that’s what I love about
trying the different restaurants here in San Francisco, because it kind of transports
you from here to wherever. That’s why I liked Maybeck’s, ’cause I felt I wasn’t here
in the Marina. I felt I was in New York.
Scott: I think you’re right. I think there’s a synergy
between all three of our places. They’re chef/owners,
they’re there, and there’s a lot of heart. Roma: I mean, how lucky
are we to live here, to have these
great places to go? Sbrocco: We are so lucky. Roma: We really are.
Sbrocco: A toast to that. I’ll tell you right there.
Toast to that. Sweetbriar: How come you
don’t have much in yours, Ryan? Sbrocco:
‘Cause Ryan spilled his. Scott: By the way, the cheese is
real, and the champagne is real. Roma:
The champagne is almost gone. Sweetbriar: I’m just trying
to figure that out. Scott: I’m the only person
to get a refill on this show. Roma: Three times.
Scott: Yes. Camera, right here.
Champagne is real. Cheese is real.
Sbrocco: He’s been drinking. All right, Brenda, I —
Sweetbriar: Brenda? I’ll take it. Scott: I’ve been drinking?! Don’t edit that.
Please don’t cut that. Sweetbriar: I’ll change my name
to Brenda in a minute if it means I have
that restaurant. Scott: Please don’t cut that. Sbrocco: All right,
I’m off track! BeBe? BeBe, BeBe, BeBe? Sweetbriar: If you really want
some great soul food where you’re actually feeding
the soul with the food, Brenda’s is the place to go.
Sbrocco: And Ryan? Scott: If you’re not
eating bread, this is the place
you’ll cheat on it with. Trust me on that one. This is not infidelity,
this is goodness. Roma: No diet restrictions. Just go and get
in there and enjoy that delicious
New Orleans flavor. Sbrocco: All right,
if you would like to try Brenda’s French Soul Food, it’s on Polk Street
at Eddy in San Francisco. The telephone number
is 415-345-8100. It’s open every day
for breakfast and lunch, with dinner Wednesday
through Sunday. Reservations are not accepted, and the average tab
without drinks is around $20. Right, Brenda? [ Laughter ]
Sweetbriar: Yes. Yes. Sbrocco: All right, I have to
thank my amazing guests, my amazing guests
on this week’s show, the best. Sister Roma’s
third generation spot, serving up big portions of
home-style Italian dishes at Rocco’s Cafe
in San Francisco. And Ryan Scott, whose new
American classically-influenced restaurant with nightly specials at Maybeck’s in the Marina
in San Francisco. And BeBe Sweetbriar,
whose Creole tastes led us to Brenda’s French Soul Food,
also in San Francisco. So, join us next time
when three new guests will recommend their
favorite spots right here on “Check Please! Bay Area.”
I’m Leslie Sbrocco. And I’ll see you then,
and we’ll replace the cheese. Sweetbriar: Oh, no, no. Scott: The cheese is real. Roma: Cheers. Sweetbriar: No more cheese.
No more. ♪♪ Sbrocco: So, now it’s your turn. We want to hear from you
if you’ve visited any of our “Check, Please!”
restaurants. You can post a selfie
on Instagram, join the conversation
on Facebook, and tweet us anytime. And don’t forget
to visit our website. All the shows are there
along with my wine videos and notes about the wines
we drink on-set. You’ll also find our fun,
new web series “Taste This,” where we celebrate food
and drinks around the Bay. Cheers. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

12 comments on “Rocco’s Cafe, Maybeck’s, Brenda’s French Soul Food: Check, Please! Bay Area reviews”

  1. Weldon Gaming says:

    Great show!!

  2. KnowYourHistory says:

    I love Brenda's but the neighborhood is too sketchy. She has a nicer place on Divisadero called Brenda's Meat and Three.

  3. proshats says:

    Best episode so far 🙂

  4. Carolyn Tan says:

    Best guests to dine with together

  5. seanco says:

    Rocco's Cafe – highly recommended 🙂

  6. brad lee says:

    What is average dinner tab

  7. Carrie o'brien says:

    OMG loved this episode!! Yummy and also hilarious!

  8. Chicago1975 says:


  9. おまえは死んでるなに!!! says:

    look at this dude

  10. Tim Green says:

    I’m glad Ryan learned what Chicken Picatta is.


    …I love you, Ryan

  11. _Google_ says:


  12. jawkneekat says:

    Fabulous episode. Extra love for it since it concentrates on two out of my three favorite eating spots in San Francisco.

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