1300 on Fillmore

A Birthday Treat


Carol was being very mysterious about my birthday. She kept saying she would take me out, but she said she wouldn’t say where. Then, “The place I wanted to take you closed, but I have another place in mind, but I won’t say where.”

Okay by me… as long as I know I won’t have to cook.

When she got home from work, she said, “I couldn’t get a reservation, but maybe we should just go anyway.”

“It’s your party,” I said. Clearly, she couldn’t wait to surprise me.

“Well… let’s go,” she said, “I’ll drive. It’s someplace we’ve never been before.”

“So we’re driving,” I said, “That rules out about 20 places.”

As she crossed Van Ness, I said, “I smell Fillmore Street.” She grunted. She turned left on Fillmore. Where haven’t we been on Fillmore, I wondered. She drove on. “Hmmm, maybe Yoshi’s?” I said. She said no, but when we got to Yoshi’s, she said to look for parking. A space opened up on the other side of the street. She made a quick left into it, a three-point turn and parked… a very city-like maneuver. In the near corner of the glass Yoshi’s building, we could see a restaurant looking place. No sign, but a big wooden door welcomed us. We went in.

We found a big room with high ceilings. The bar on the left was separated from the dining room by a partial clear glass wall with patterned beige translucent curtains. The hostess took us to a table for two near the back, where the kitchen, was separated from the dining room by a partial clear glass wall with those curtains. Huge cylindrical lights with large perforations hung from the ceiling and marched down the room pointing this way and that. It was a nice architectural affect and bathed the room with a soft glow.

In spite of the fact that we were seated right away, the room was quite full. Thankfully, it was big enough and soft enough so we could speak to one another and our waiter in normal tones. Carol said she read that it was a soul food place, and indeed, the clientele spanned a wide range of age and ethnicity.

Here’s what their web site has to say:
1300 Fillmore is a restaurant and lounge that draws on the rich cultural history of San Francisco’s Fillmore Jazz District, serving “Soulful American” cuisine.

The menu was interesting. We decided to share a Bourbon Braised Pork Belly with Shelled White Bean Puree appetizer, although the Barbecue Shrimp N’ Creamy Grits was awfully tempting.

Carol ordered an entrée of Maple Syrup Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs, Crispy Onion Rings and Buttermilk-Chive Mash Potatoes. Since that was taken out of play, I decided on Fulton Valley Farms Organic Black Skillet Fried Chicken, Buttermilk Whipped Potatoes and Pan Gravy even (or maybe especially) though I was warned that I must “allow for a 20 minute preparation time” for that dish. Hey, Southern Fried Chicken… what better place to have it. We also ordered a Caramelized Sweet Onion Ham Hock Braised Greens side dish, mostly because I have all those ingredients at home and maybe I can recreate it.

The sommelier described Tejada Temprinillo as a medium bodied red wine made from a traditional Spanish grape in Lake County. We ordered a bottle.

Thus far, the waiter and sommelier couldn’t have been more personable and helpful. We felt good before our first bite. Well, okay, we had been munching on lovely light slices of cornbread with butter and jalapeno jelly.

The pork belly appetizer was artfully presented and tasted as good as it was described, but it was difficult to share, what with the cutting of the meat and the greens that topped the dish. Even so, it was well worth the effort, and just the right size for the two of us. We savored the flavors slowly and deliberately, knowing that the chicken was going to take some time. Besides, we were enjoying the evening and the room and hadn’t made arrangements to go clubbing after.

Our entrees and side dish arrived shortly after the appetizer was cleared. Each was presented to tickle our taste buds. I had three pieces of chicken, a leg, a thigh and a breast, all boned and covered with a spiced thick breading. The meat inside was juicy and each bite brought home the idea of Southern fried, with no lingering grease. I ate slowly, wanting to savor what I could – there was no way in the world I could eat it all.

Carol gave me a taste of her short ribs – we’re not ones to share entrees, but an exchange of bites is okay, sometimes – it was as good as I imagined, but I was into chicken tonight.

The side of greens – though excellent – was unnecessary. There was quite enough food, and variety, without it. The waiter took our copious leftovers to package for take-home.

I wanted the apple bread pudding for dessert, it just seemed like the right thing. Carol felt it would be too heavy. Au contraire… it was light and tender and a perfect finishing touch.

After we paid the check and were ready to leave, the waiter brought out our leftovers. It just put the cap on the superb service we had enjoyed throughout the evening… they brought the stuff when we were ready, not when they were ready.

The next day at lunchtime, I opened the box.

looks like lunch

looks like lunch

The next day at lunchtime, I opened the box. Inside was a leg and half of the breast. I wasn’t in the mood to heat-and-eat, and besides, that would result in a pale shadow of the real dinner experience. Better to make soup.

chop chop

chop chop

I cut the chicken into bite size pieces, breading and all, and set that aside. I cubed a potato, sliced a couple slim young carrots and some celery. I chopped a spring onion and started a basic soup routine:

sauté the onion in butter, add the vegetables and stir, add enough chicken broth to cover and allow room for the chicken, simmer until the potatoes are tender, season with salt and pepper.

I added a few greens for color, stirred in the chicken and cooked for a few minutes until the chicken was hot and the breading had spiced and thickened the soup.

Southern Fried Chicken Soup

Southern Fried Chicken Soup

Now that’s good eatin’ times two. Yum and yum.

2 thoughts on “1300 on Fillmore

  1. OUTSTANDING! We have a place ALMOST like that: Popeye’s..

    DAMN! I sure miss SF!


  2. Sounds good. It’s been a while since I dug into some soul food. But at least I have an excuse, Tommy! If you can’t find good soul food in Atlanta, yer not looking hard enough! Of course, from Marietta you may have to cross the tracks to find the authentic (and don’t order the chitlins unless yer for real).


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