Foreign Cinema: Brunch is the Key Scene

No, we’re not showing the Avengers…“, said the hostess as she hung up the phone. Having the name Foreign Cinema, it’s hard not to confuse it with a normal theater; this restaurant resides within a space that has the exterior with a marquee, and they play foreign and independent films in their outdoor courtyard (check out their website for the films. After my friend mentioned this place makes homemade pop-tarts, I immediately jumped on board for brunch.

Reading through the menu, I was caught up in their descriptions; words like “heavenly” or “crowned with” and “warmed” were used throughout, as if these dishes were in some dramatic play. Would they live up to how they’re beautifully illustrated on the menu?

Act I: Whetting My Appetite

I started brunch off with a Bloody Mary, of course. This version of the Bloody Mary was spiced and served with lime and some pickled vegetables. It was perfectly savory and prepared my taste buds for some legit brunch food.

Act II: Prelude of Pleasantries

Say what…organic blackberry ‘Pop tarts’? What I really liked about this was that it actually tasted like a real pastry. It was flaky and crispy, and when I bit into it, real blackberries oozed out.

We ordered lavender goat cheese with endives, golden raisins, tapenade with baguette toasts. It was served up warm, and worked as a great spread on the bread, which was creamy and slightly sweet.

I absolutely LOVED this dish – brandade gratin (whipped salt cod), potatoes, garlic, green chillies served with grilled baguette and house pickles – because it had the right amount of saltiness, and pickles helped with cutting any excess creaminess.

If there was any dish I felt was average, it was the duck liver pate toast, with Sausalito Springs cress, baby beets, Banyuls vinigrette and toasted spices. The pate wasn’t gamey, and it was tasty overall but just not as memorable as their other dishes.

Smoked salmon with Petrossian salmon caviar, creme fraiche, pickled onions, fresh dill and spelt toast was light and refreshing, not too fishy, which I think is hard to achieve with salmon as your main ingredient.

Act III: Eggy Bliss

I couldn’t resist ordering the Champagne omelet (with a name like that, how can you not) with morels, fine herbs, Comte and Raclette cheese, creme fraiche, small salad, and crispy fried Yukon potatoes. Using Santa Cruz pastured eggs, this omelet was one of the best I’ve tasted. It was as if special care was taken to make this dish. Fluffy and flavorful, there was a soft but still firm inside so it still held its shape. The ingredients in the omelet were finely chopped, so it dispersed the mushroom and herb flavors evenly.

Act IIIa: Side of Amazement

We couldn’t resist getting their brown sugar alderwood smoked bacon which was sweet, slightly crispy and full of bacon goodness. After devouring my piece, I wished every slice of bacon would be just as good.

After yearning for a number of these dishes days after this meal, you can be sure I will be going there again. The space is great, food is tasty, and maybe even catch a movie next time. And…cut!

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 648-7600

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