No. 78: Emperor's Pancake from Suppenküche
For more than 15 years, this Hayes Valley German restaurant has been offering diners a different kind of Sunday brunch: Eggs, sausage, and potatoes make up much of the menu, but it also includes sauerkraut, smoked pork, pretzels, cucumber salad -- and beer. Diners crowd around the bar, waiting for a spot at the communal tables by nursing foot-high half-liter glasses, which may be why the mood is always so animated.
Listed alongside the Nürnberger bratwurst and farmer's omelets is Suppenküche's glorious Emperor's pancake (Kaiserschmarrn), an Austrian specialty that dates back to the days when the Viennese were the world's best pastry chefs.
The craggy, fluffy mass begins as a normal-looking eggy pancake -- practically a half-inch soufflé -- studded with brandied raisins. (These days you can also get an Emperor's pancake with Nutella and bananas.) It's cooked quickly until the edges are rimmed with brown, then chopped up and covered in whitecaps of powdered sugar. While the pancake itself is a pleasure to eat, when it's dredged through the puddles of applesauce and rich, prune-y compote on the side, it becomes a marvel of breakfast confectionery.
Suppenküche 525 Laguna (at Gough), 252-9289; Sunday brunch served 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Hungry for more? The dishes in our countdown thus far are linked below: