Don’t tell anyone, but there’s an amazing place to get weekend brunch in trendy Hayes Valley and there are no lines – at least there weren’t when it first opened in early December. Without fanfare or announcements, the Parisian-bistro inspired Monsieur Benjamin, which opened in September 2014, quietly started offering brunch a month ago. The lack of lines won’t last long, so be sure to get there before word gets around.
The brunch menu has a few things in common with its dinner sibling, such as steamed mussels and garlic sausage served in a yummy beer broth ($18.50) and hamburger with frites ($18.50), but the stars are French twists on American breakfasts. Take for instance the grilled Paris ham ($19) — a much bigger, meater version of a piece of bacon, it comes with a perfectly cooked, sexily wobbly poached egg and little gem lettuces, grilled with a maple syrup glaze.
The combination of the salt of the ham, the sweetness of the syrup, the slight crunch of the lettuce and the unctuous richness of the egg yolk works beautifully together. A satisfying bite indeed. Not to mention, the little pot of heavenly hollandaise sauce, which comes with the dish. It was hard to know what best to eat the sauce with … a bite of ham? A mouthful of egg? No matter, all too soon gone it was gone.
Accompanied by a glass of Cremant de Loire, Bergerie NV, ($15) the meal was a real brunch treat, made all the sweeter by the lack of waiting for a table. Reservations can be made in advance via OpenTable.
Monsieur Benjamin is at 451 Gough Street between Grove and Ivy, San Francisco.