There are few things that I like more than finding great food in unexpected locations. That's why I'm a shameless promoter of street food, of fluorescent-lit strip mall restaurants serving great Sichuan food, of granny carts piled high with tamales. So I just had a feeling when I first heard about Broken Record that I would be into it. Great food, inexpensive, served from the back of a bar on Geneva Ave. in Excelsior? Yes, please. Now my only regret is that it took me so to make it out there.
Don't make the same mistake. Because out there, at Broken Record, hidden beyond the neon facade, is some seriously good grub cooked with heart by two fancy restaurant veterans, Ryan Ostler and Katharine Zacher. These two know their way around the kitchen. The reward for your journey to the outer reaches? Supremely tasty beef brisket and pulled pork sandwiches, the succulent meat piled high on housemade rolls. The best buttermilk biscuit I've ever had in San Francisco. Garlic-parmesan fries, with real garlic, and real Parmigiano-Reggiano. A deep, dark, cocoa-rich chocolate cupcake with whipped chocolate frosting that makes every other cupcake, even those from dedicated cupcakeries, seem like a pale imitation. And I didn't even try the Frito pie—four meat chili with cheese, sour cream and onions, served atop Fritos. Sounds like the perfect meal to pair with a glass of whisky from Broken Record's 200-some-odd selections. Ryan also told me that his pride and joy, the dish no one orders, is the red beans and rice—his description (which included the words "smoked ham hock") made me wish he and I had had this conversation before I ordered all that other stuff. Next time, next time.
Round up a group of friends and make the trek.