There are morning people and night people. The former are most productive when they wake up and usually don’t stay up late. The latter make the most of the evenings, but you can’t count on them early in the day. Chez Papa is like night people.
I made online reservations for brunch, 10:30am. The day before, I got a call from the restaurant apologizing that they wouldn’t open until 11 and asking if I’d be okay pushing my slot.
The outdoor tables were still empty when I arrived, I couldn’t tell if they were already open, it felt somewhat desolated, I walked in. There was a sense of bewilderment; some things didn’t quite fit the occasion.
Contrary to the charming Potrero Hill Chez Papa, this one features a much larger dining room. The interior design is reminiscent of a nightclub, hanging black chandeliers, dark walls and a long bar filled with about a hundred liqueur bottles. On the far end, an oversized terracotta sofa that I would place somewhere between Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and The Cheesecake Factory. Despite the excessive use or mirrors, it’s not a bad décor. That, of course, if you look at it at night.
The bright morning light seemed to reveal every little detail. What was meant to be subtle, to blend in, was called out as a highlight. The dark hardwood floors showed every single dust footprint, the intricate table wood grain looked overdone, the color palette was suddenly too strong. The staff, wearing terracotta aprons over black, seemed to have just arrived from a home shower after a long night.
Even the menu felt somewhat confused with the morning wakeup call. Of the twenty plus selections, only two are egg dishes; eggs benedict and omelet. Hardly a Brunch menu. Caesar Salad, Noçoise, Mussels, Chicken Club, Kobe Beef Tartare are some of the other options.
I had the Eggs Benedict with Jamón and sauce Bérnaise. It was boring. Properly done but lacking enthusiasm. I would have traded the lightly dressed green salad for roasted potatoes or something more flavorful. Gladly, I also ordered a side of homemade sausage that was good.
The French toast was dry and unexciting, a few scattered strawberries and that was it. It looked like an afterthought, threw together quickly without much care.
Coffee was good, brewed from Illy beans but on the weak side. Orange juice, on the other hand, was a joke. Five dollars and fifty cents for a half glass of supermarket juice, from concentrate. Served with a black straw, misplaced from a previous night’s cocktail.
I will still try dinner at the newly opened Chez Papa Resto. I always liked the original Potrero Hill location and, despite lacking its charm, I feel like I owe this one another try. However, I can safely say this is no place for brunch. The ambience, the staff and the menu are not cut for a morning call. Everything is dazed and confused. Feels like a nightclub with morning hangover.