No reservations are taken for Bar Jules’ coveted weekend brunch. So arrive early, but not too early as doors open only at 11am. And not too late, as soon thereafter all 18 tables and 10 counter stools will inevitably be taken.
This small Hayes Valley restaurant offers an unfussy, colorful atmosphere to loyal locals and passersby. The welcoming all-women wait staff make sure you feel at home while chef/owner Jessica Boncutter can be seen behind the dining counter running her kitchen.
Work starts early, way before brunch service begins. From outside you can see them calmly prepping ingredients and getting the kitchen ready for a busy morning to come.
The menu changes every day. Its selection displayed on 2 blackboards that hang on the dining room walls. They are hand written by the staff right before the doors open revealing that day’s unique fare. Even thought the menu is short, the ever-changing options are very appetizing. A few signature dishes seem to always make the list, sometimes varying slightly to reflect what the chef gets from local farmers. Mixed berries or strawberries, short ribs or lamb.
Bar Jules serves coffee from Blue Bottle, brewed in individual French presses. A great start.
One of the signature dishes, often recommended by the staff, is the Cornmeal-buttermilk griddlecakes with strawberries and maple syrup. But this is no ordinary spongy, dry pancake. The fried griddlecakes have a creamy inside that melts in your mouth, the cornmeal adding a nice texture to it.
On the savory side, try the Fried eggs with potatoes, gypsy peppers, tomato salsa with grass fed skirt steak. A tasty dish colorful in appearance and flavors. The meat is tender and cooked to the desired doneness.
The Scrambled eggs with Parmesan and sorrel; prosciutto and grilled bread is also good. This simple egg dish is sometimes prepared with Gruyere instead. The prosciutto properly served cold on the side.
On a heavier side, try the Baked eggs with short ribs, potatoes and corn. A very hearty dish that calls for a hearty appetite. Flavorful and aromatic, the slow braised meat is served with of fresh parsley and capers.
There are no sweet side dishes like pastries or merveilles on the menu. The only option is the River cafe chocolate nemesis. A very rich and moist flourless cake served with a dollop of house made whipped cream. Delicious but a little too much for a brunch appetite.
Bar Jules is a welcoming neighborhood restaurant that’s open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. The seasonal brunch menu is short but inventive and the food is prepared with care. The lack of side dishes, especially sweets, is the only downside. Like at Canteen, you may leave happy but longing for another bite.
Bar Jules is at 609 Hayes St.
No reservations are taken.