|Beaten biscuits and devilled eggs: Purists rejoice.|
With hostesses that sit opposite their restaurants like strip club barkers, brandishing menus and enticing prospective diners to lunch, Belden Place can look like a tourist trap. But in fact the tourists who wander into the alley's lairs or onto the patios out front usually find nice plates of food at surprisingly uninflated prices.
At the new Trademark Grill, ensconced where Voda Vodka Bar most recently poured, the menu reflects executive chef Jerry Mendoza's concurrent gig at the Elite Café and his past sojourn at the late-lamented Meetinghouse. There are the famed Meetinghouse biscuits, real Southern-style beaten biscuits, small and square (four for $5). They look homemade -- some slumped rather than perfectly risen -- and pull apart steamy and many-layered. The devilled eggs (three for $3) are a purist's version: tender whites piped with creamy, voluptuous yolks, no sting or crunch of pickle relish, just a spicy dusting of smoked paprika.
The real-deal biscuits and eggs outclass more ordinary mains. The barbecue brisket sandwich ($15), chunks of mild, juicy meat bathed in sweet sauce on ciabatta, comes with a vinegared multicabbage slaw and indifferent fries. A rare, pepper-crusted grilled Niman Ranch steak salad ($12) is scattered with crunchy red onions and marinated mushrooms almost as fleshy as the meat among its greens. Many other tables boasted soft-shell crab BLTs on toasted brioche ($12) or Dungeness crab salads with avocado ($12). Pleasant food for a pleasant day.
Trademark Grill 51 Belden (at Pine), 397-8800
|Barbecue brisket sandwich: Chunks of mild, juicy meat.|