Where The City’s Top Chefs Go, But Not For Dinner
In a city full of great restaurants – many of them sitting inconspicuously on street corners in quiet neighborhoods – one of my favorites is a place called Brazen Head.
Located on a side street in the largely singles section of “The City,” the Marina District, Brazen Head is so hidden several San Francisco residents don’t even know of it.
It’s on a very dark street (tho it’s safe here) just down from the Motel Capri, and there is no sign on the door. The way I find it is to look for the two small wooden doors. Inside, it’s small, cozy, quiet and as dark as the night.
So don’t go in there to be boisterous or to find a party scene; for that, Balboa Cafe is just down the street.
Despite being hidden, this is a popular place – for those who know about it. For starters, it serves later than most restaurants in “The City.” A lot of them close by 10, but Brazen Head serves dinner until 1 a.m. As such, it’s where several of the top chefs in San Francisco go after getting off work. They go not so much to eat as to drink. They sit at the bar downing drinks while talking to other chefs about their menus and/or problems.
Since they usually fill up the few seats at the bar, I take one of the tables in the dining area a step above the bar floor and sit by the railing where I can look down on them and try to eavesdrop a bit into their conversations. But, of course, like everyone else here I leave them alone.
I always get the French Onion soup, which is great and cheesy on top ($10) and for the entree it’s usually the Chicken Marsala ($22).
My local friend who introduced me to the place says it’s far from the best food in town but he likes it because it’s open late and frankly, I’ve always found it to be quite tasty.
So I recommend Brazen Head. Don’t go there for the culinary experience but more to be in one of the cool, tiny hidden neighborhood gems that are all over San Francisco, which is a big part of experiencing the true culture of this city.
Just know that, at least upon my last visit, they don’t take credit cards. They do, however, take bank debit cards.
On a side note, part of doing a blog is revealing hidden things and some bloggers like to keep them hidden by not revealing their location. But I’m not that way. So below is its address and link to a map.
The Brazen Head Restaurant is located at 3166 Buchanan St.