Monday, May 29, 2006

Le Metro French Bistro - Divisadero - San Francisco

Ooh la la, pour un brunch joyeux!
Le Metro Cafe: 311 Divisadero, San Francisco, CA 94117, tel: 415 552 0903

Please note - Le Metro Bistro has since closed.

photograph picture metro french cafe bistro on divisadero san francisco

Click to enlarge

As I made my way past the kitchen to Le Metro's patio garden, which is open for brunch only, I spied these little jewel-like cubes of beet and goat cheese being prepared in the kitchen. Bright and zingy with a pronounced basil dressing that was fresh and fragrant, this side dish was the perfect foil for the rich, eggy dishes that dominate the brunch menu.

photograph picture metro cafe bistro on divisadero san francisco

Click to enlarge

New to that menu is a Vegetarian Tartlette, a puff pastry base topped with meltingly tender leeks, tomatoes and gorgonzola cheese. The egg is an optional extra that comes soft-poached with a dribble of the hollandaise that makes Le Metro's many Benedict options crowd-pleasers. A vibrant red pepper sauce paints a colourful flourish that rounds off the dish. Wash down with a generous glass of Cremant Rose.

My friend Vinny, (Happy Birthday today, Vinny), remarked of his Croque Madame that he wish it hadn't been served actually on top of the green salad. The same could be said of my green leaves too which became a little wilted under the warm tart.

Le Metro is the only place of in San Francisco I know of where you are served Potatoes Dauphine. These are large puffy balls made from a mix of pate choux and potato that put a big smile on Fred's face (and mine too).

photograph picture metro cafe bistro on divisadero san francisco

Click to enlarge

All of our visits to Le Metro so far, have been for brunch. The waitress hinted we should try dinner instead, unfortunately served inside the little bistro only, (we love the garden), that is rumoured to be remarkably good value. That makes sense - Le Metro was immortalized by our favourite playgirl chef Rachael Ray when she visited San Francisco on her $40-a day budget. We'll have to return and try dinner soon.

photograph picture metro cafe bistro on divisadero san francisco

Click to enlarge

Another good reason for food-loving types to get over to this part of town during the day is that Le Metro is just a few doors away from Cookin' - Recycled Gourmet Appurtenances. This place is a treasure-chest beyond the dreams of any food blogger. You can find just about anything in this cluttered little shop packed to the rafters with glasses, saucepans, baking trays, foundu sets, waffle presses, etc. It's certainly not a cheap place to shop and we couldn't get the proprietor to budge on any of her prices, but it might be just the place to find the wierd old kitchen-something you have always been looking for. Check out Kevin's Cookin' post at Bacon Press for more details and pictures from inside the store too.

PS This overview was tried & tested, which means we have visited Le Metro at least three times.

Links, Resources and Further Reading

Bay Area Resources:
Cookin' | Location
Le Metro | reserve via Opentable

Other Resources:
Pommes Dauphine | Recipes

And on this day in 2004: It was Vinny's birthday two years ago too.

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Le Metro French Bistro - Divisadero - San Francisco


  • At 29/5/06 13:28, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Le Metro sounds and looks too good to be true. And nice pictures!
    I had not heard (let alone had any!) of Potatoes Dauphine in the longest time, and now I need to have some :D
    Any one knows of a good and easy recipe?

  • At 29/5/06 14:24, Blogger Catherine said…

    Le Metro looks good but Cookin' looks better!

  • At 29/5/06 15:36, Blogger Mrs. Delicious said…

    Gregoire in Berkeley also serves the Potatoes Dauphine! Except he calls them "potato puffs". Just thinking of them is making me drool!

  • At 29/5/06 21:07, Blogger Elise said…

    Hi Sam,
    Le Metro is right across from where my uncle lives; I've been eating there for years. It's such a gem in such an unexpected place. Also love Cookin' - the woman who owns the shop is a real character. Great selection of used Le Creuset.

  • At 29/5/06 22:27, Blogger Delphine said…

    I went to the Metro 2 weeks ago and found it closed for brunch for family reasons. Did it reopen?

    I just love their ash brown salad so yummy yummy. I really like this place (one of the few, really, with Badoit water on the menu).

    Happy Birthday Vinnie!

  • At 29/5/06 23:23, Blogger Ced said…

    Now that you bring it up, it was mentioned by Rachael Ray, and it was dismissed by Meredith Brody's review of Rachael Ray's trip to SF. Meredith finds Rachael finishing, less than spectacularly, I thought, with a measly coquille St. Jacques at the Metro Café on Divisadero, a place I wasn't familiar with. (April 05 review). But that brunch looks wonderful. They have a nice early bird formula, really good value.

  • At 30/5/06 04:52, Blogger wheresmymind said…

    This couldn't have been on Ray's terrible $40 a day show? I'm all for finding fun places to eat, but I don't like to cheap out when I'm on vaca

  • At 30/5/06 09:53, Blogger Sam said…

    Pascal - we made potatoes dauphine at cooking class, but they werent as good as Le Metro's which are amazingly light and puffy. I'll have to have a play with making them and see if I can come up with something similar.

    Catherine - and the two of them side-by-side: a perfect combination.

    Mrs D - I'll have to get over to the East Bay and give them a try. I am sorry if I have been making you homesick.

    Elise - I have been eating there since I met fred three years ago. It certainly is an unexpected gem. I really must try it for dinner.

    Del - Maybe they were just closed temporarily, they are definitely open again now - i saw it with my own eyes and tasted it with my own tongue.

    Ced - its not a rocket-science restaurant. The brunch menu has few surprises, EXCEPT - I was surprised by the beet salad which, whilst simple, was so prettily and delicately presented - a cut above what you'd expect to find in a place at that price point. (I think the beets were just $5)

    WMM - this isn't a special treat place for visitors, it's true, it's more of a plcae for the locals to have good value food in a great atmosphere.

  • At 30/5/06 11:07, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I live close enought that I have had dinner here several times and am never disappointed. Always delicious and always a good deal!

  • At 30/5/06 22:49, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you Sam. I look forward to hear about your experiment!

  • At 31/5/06 22:05, Blogger Passionate Eater said…

    That perfectly poached egg looks too good to be true! I just ate, and I am now hungry again thanks to that stunning picture!

  • At 1/6/06 09:28, Blogger Jeanne said…

    Oh wow - so you have a ready-made entry for EoMEoTE#16

    Now all you have to do is smash the egg with a heavy brass candlestick and you've got a post! ;-)

  • At 1/6/06 09:44, Blogger Sam said…

    Lisa - I am glad to hear that the dinner is highly recommended.

    Pascal - it might take a while - I am off on vacation

    Passionate Eater - I find it hard to resist a good poached egg. That's why I always choose a croque madame over a croque monsieur.

    Jeanne - good try - but you know the poetry ones inspire me but the prose ones I find really really difficult to pull off.

  • At 1/6/06 15:12, Blogger Sara said…

    Le Metro is our neighborhood bistro. My boyfriend and I go there when we want a quick but nice little date night, so I do recommend the dinner there! Of course, the backyard is so gorgeous that it is sad we can't eat out there in the evening, but I've always enjoyed every meal I've had there - and there have been many!!

  • At 1/6/06 22:55, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The little goat cheese and beet cubes look fabulous! I've been tracking foodie blogs from LA for and your posts always make me wish I had a second home up in the city...

  • At 1/6/06 23:21, Blogger Sam said…

    Sara - that is great to hear, we will definitely be trying it one evening soon.

    Yasmin - yes I'd like to try out those beet things at home some time - I am going to check out your website...


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