Review: Brenda’s French Soul Food.

After I got a taste of Southern food in New Orleans last fall, I’ve been wanting to try one of San Francisco’s most popular restaurants, Brenda’s French Soul Food.

Brenda’s French Soul Food was been on my radar forever but since they don’t take reservations I just never made it there. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on most days but obviously the dinner menu has the most options. Since their dinner menu had so many delicious options, I didn’t get to try some items such as the chicken, sausage, and okra gumbo, hushpuppies, buttermilk fried cauliflower, Brie cheese en croute, red beans and rice, sweet potato dumplings, catfish, po’ boy sandwich, and the muffaletta sandwich. Guess that means I just have to go back right?!

Crawfish Beignet with Cheddar Cheese, Scallions, and Cayenne Pepper (8/10).

Inside the Crawfish Beignet (8/10).

We started off with one of their signature items, the crawfish beignet. We only ordered one to share since they’re a pretty good size (I probably could have eaten a whole one though). The exterior of the beignet was dusted with a spice mix and when cut open, the warm cheesy crawfish filling oozed out. The filling had little chunks of tender sweet crawfish mixed with sharp Cheddar cheese, a great combination.

Side Order of Brenda’s Fried Chicken, Wing and Drumstick (8/10).

Next we tried a side order of their famous fried chicken. You can either order one piece of chicken breast, thigh, drumstick, or wing. There is also an entrée portion where you get three pieces of fried chicken with collard greens and a cream biscuit. We decided to get a drumstick and wing because those are our favorites parts. The coating was super crispy and seasoned nicely and the chicken meat was moist and flavorful.

Side Order of Collard Greens (7/10).

The side order of collard greens were good but could have used a bit more seasoning to amp up the flavor.

Chicken Etoufféee in Spicy Creole Tomato Gravy with White Rice (8/10).

Shrimp and Cheddar Cheese Grits with Tomato Bacon Gravy (8/10).

As for entrées, both were hearty and scrumptious. The chicken etouffée had small cubes of tender chicken meat smothered in a creamy luscious tomato gravy with white rice and scallions. The shrimp and grits, always a favorite of mine, had the most rich cheesy soft grits with griddled shrimp and a savory tomato bacon marmalade.

Banana Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce and Whipped Cream (8/10).

Apple and Blueberry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream (7/10).

We didn’t finish the entrées since they were both substantial portions and decided to take them home so we could sample some desserts. One of their most popular desserts are their beignets (traditional with powdered sugar, chocolate, and apple). However we decided to try the bread pudding and cobbler. The bread pudding was sooooo good. Banana chocolatey deliciousness doused in a bourbon sauce and topped with airy whipped cream. The blueberry apple cobbler was tasty, not as good as the bread pudding, but the warm fruit cobbler was great with the cold vanilla ice cream.

Southern food ain’t light and the portions aren’t skimpy either making it slightly difficult to try various dishes but Brenda’s French Soul Food is the perfect place if you’re craving southern cuisine. I definitely need to come back to try their other dishes! Overall my rating is a 8/10.

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