Of course they also go well with the cheeseburger ($13.50), a straightforward presentation of Niman Ranch ground beef and Grafton cheddar on a bun, without distracting frou-frou beyond the fries.
At LuLu, the agent of ubiquity is not the french fry but the wood-burning oven, whose smoky perfume casts a spell of enchantment even in the middle of the day. You find yourself thinking of the mountains, winter, a horse-drawn sleigh, mulled wine. Or: pizza, which has been a LuLu specialty from the beginning and through the large changes in the kitchen — the handoff from Hearon to Jody Denton in 1995, and from Denton to Jared Doob in 2003. If most of us probably don't associate pizza with brunch, it might be because we've never had LuLu's egg pizza ($16.50), a kind of deconstructed omelet, of caramelized onion, parmesan cheese, pancetta — and of course a whole egg, over-easy-ish — on a thin crust. It doesn't sound like it would work, but it does. Also sounding unworkable, but working, is the venerable, if less brunchy, calamari pizza ($17.25), the slices of squid glisteningly tender and accompanied by a scattering of arugula leaves, chili flakes, and aioli. Simple, potent, proven.
One of the pleasures of brunch is archaeological: examining certain sorts of jumbled dishes, such as oven-baked eggs ($13.50), for leftovers from the day or two before. We found shreds of duck confit in one batch (with spinach and braised spring onion), but the next week it was roast pork — could this have been left over from sandwich production? Doesn't seem likely, for the roast-pork sandwich ($11.95) is a colossus, with mozzarella, romesco, and baby spinach on a raft of pillow-soft red-onion focaccia. Our progress through it was slow but determined and, in the end, satisfactory. SFBG
HAYES STREET GRILL
Lunch: Mon.–Fri., 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Dinner: Mon.–Thurs., 5–9:30 p.m.; Fri., 5–10:30 p.m.; Sat., 5:30–10:30 p.m.; Sun., 5–8:30 p.m.
320 Hayes, SF. (415) 863-5545
Not quiet, but reasonable
Sun.–Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.
816 Folsom, SF. (415) 495-5775
Can get noisy, but bearable