Lunch at Brenda’s French Soul Food

house salad with fried shrimp-1
This was lunch on my second day in San Francisco. See I still tried to be good with my diet. Ariel brought me to Brenda’s since I’ve read a lot of good things about this restaurant owned by Filipino chef Brenda Buenviaje.
Ariel warned me that there might be a line since Brenda’s is a popular restaurant despite it’s location in the Tenderloin district. Surprisingly we got a table right away.
Brenda's French Soul Food

Brenda's French Soul Food-1

The restaurant used to be this small.
Brenda's French Soul Food-2

Recently it expanded into the space beside and now it’s a big and airy restaurant with high ceilings and bright light streaming through the windows.
Brenda's French Soul Food-4

Brenda's French Soul Food-3

Brenda's French Soul Food-5

sweet watermelon house tea
sweet watermelon house tea

After reading so many glorious reviews on Yelp I was so excited to try their crawfish beignet. They also had apple, chocolate and original flavors.
crawfish beignets
crawfish beignets $7

I knew the beignets were big since most people on Yelp warned readers on the size but I wasn’t prepared on how big it really was. It’s almost as big as my iPhone!
crawfish beignets-1

Beignet is basically a fried doughnut. That’s why I was expecting a light, airy dough. Instead this was dense, thick and almost like pan de sal. The crawfish filling on the other hand was creamy, very cheesy and spicy. It was really good.
crawfish beignets-2

This is what my beignet looked like after I ate only the filling. Ariel and I just ate one each and took the third one home or else we would have been too full for our entree.
crawfish beignets-3

Ariel ordered the house favorite, Hangtown Fry, which was crispy oyster and scrambled eggs. He ordered a cream biscuit since he knew I loved biscuits. I tried a piece of the oyster and was surprised to find the fried oyster to be cold. It seemed like it was pre-fried and sitting for a while waiting to be used for this dish.

I love, love biscuits and was willing to sacrifice my no carb diet to eat it since there are no biscuits in Manila (I don’t know why). The biscuit was huge and my first bite was ecstasy. It was light as air yet so flaky and crisp. It was really one of the best biscuits I’ve ever tried until I got to the middle part where it was almost raw and tasted so doughy. I ended up just eating the top and bottom parts of the biscuit.
hangtown fry
hangtown fry $11

I was going to ordered grilled chicken with my house salad but the last minute I decided to go with the fried shrimp and it was the right decision. The shrimp was coated with a cornmeal batter and was very crisp. I also liked the herbed cheese on the side. The creole mustard dressing was also different from my usual vinaigrette and I enjoyed my salad very much.
house salad with fried shrimp
house salad with fried shrimp $7.25

When we were there, TFC (The Filipino Channel) was shooting some pictures for their show Adobo Nation which featured chef Brenda Buenviaje. They asked for our permission to show our mugs on video and we said, “YES!”
TFC's Adobo Nation
TFC’s Adobo Nation

TFC's Adobo Nation-1

This is the video that was shot that day. I suggest you watch the whole video but if you’re impatient and just want to see me and Ariel you can go directly to 1:53-1:58, that’s our food being shown with me moving around my salad. And at 3:43 you get to see our faces!!! Thanks to the photographer and editor for including us in the final cut.

Brenda’s French Soul Food Menu
Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner

Brenda’s French Soul Food
652 Polk Street (Cross: Eddy Street)
San Francisco, CA 94102
telephone (415) 345-8100


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