And more: heavy gratings of parmesan, a wealth of nicely oily croutons, and a garlicky vinaigrette over perfect romaine leaves in the side Caesar salad, which is a 75¢ upgrade for most of the sandwiches. The corned beef in the Reuben ($8.75) seemed to have been house-cured, judging by the juiciness of the meat and the liveliness of the bits of fat still attached to it. Corned beef has nothing to do with corn, incidentally, except that the cattle might have been fed it in their last days. "Corn" refers to the coarse salt with which the meat is cured; the word used to mean "grain" or "granular" hence "corn snow."
I did find the ground beef in the patty melt ($8.50) to have been slightly underseasoned, but this deficit was made up by plenty of excellent sautéed onions and slices of (toasted!) rye bread. The side of fries, though not of the elegant French matchstick variety, was flawless and must be counted among the better versions in the city. Like the Reuben, the bacon cheeseburger ($8.50) was made with Niman Ranch beef 1/3 pound's worth but the quality of the meat was largely eclipsed by the intensity of the toppings: a heavy mat of melted cheddar cheese and lengths of well-crisped bacon.
One evening we sat near a young family whose little girls, while waiting for their evening pancakes, were crawling over everything like monkeys up on the table, down the back of a chair, across the floor, making little squeaks and yips all the way while their parents patiently shepherded them back toward civilization and kept a conversation going between themselves. The gist of their remarks seemed to be: When will the pancakes arrive, and perhaps, Will we be toast by then? Answers: soon and no, everybody happy. *
Mon.Sat., 7 a.m.9 p.m.; Sun., 7 a.m.4 p.m.
1748 Church, SF