I have three words for you: hash brown sandwich. It's a straight-up brilliant addition to the usual line-up of breakfast suspects. Take that, omelette and French toast and eggs Benedict! In all my years of eating breakfast in diners, cafes, restaurants, truck stops, cars, ships, planes, taquerias, trains, and truck stops, I have never encountered a hash brown sandwich. Until I ate at ~ART'S CAFÉ~ in the Sunset. I almost want to purposefully go out and get a hangover just so I can have an irrefutable reason to return soon (it's definitely a food coma on a plate).
Imagine a stuffed half-moon omelette, but instead of eggs, the exterior is made of extra-crispy hash browns, with a stuffing of your choice (I went for ham and onions, while my friend went for spinach, onion, mushroom, and hot sausage). Plus there's melted cheddar cheese in there, holding it all together. It's almost like a big breakfast taco. You know I shook some hot sauce all over that thing.
Damn, it's just so bad for you it's good. Plus it comes with two eggs on the side (bummed one of mine arrived broken, but it happens). Plus two pieces of buttered toast. For $6.55! My friend's combo was only $7. I know, hold the freaking phone. It's a borderline BLD (breakfast, lunch, dinner, all in one handy meal).
This old-school diner has been around for over 60 years, and the hard-working Korean husband and wife who own it have been working at Art's for 20 straight years. How hard working? Let's just look at this little fact: their only day off is on Monday. You do the math.
So, back on that hash brown sandwich. Once you take a spot at the narrow counter (there are only something like 14 stools), you get to watch the short-order magic. During lulls in service, the hash browns are made fresh from a handy little grater machine, and then sheets of the hash browns are put on the flattop, and lightly crisped on each side. The individually sized sheets are stacked in an orderly fashion near the grill until it's time to fire an order. Quite a tight little operation.
And here's where things get groovy on the menu: a lot of the dishes have a cool Korean twist on them, like the tofu omelette with homemade kimchee, sausage, and Korean hot bean paste ($6.75). I mean, seriously, what goes better with tofu than meat? (And don't worry, the omelette comes with hash browns on the side, so you still get to experience those crispy little taters.) My kind of fusion. There's also the bi bim bop veggie version, with spinach, zucchini, bean spouts, carrot, and Swiss cheese ($6.95). Or the samurai, with beef teriyaki, onion, and cheese. For those looking for a break from the usual Denver omelette, here's your new playground.
Breakfast is served all day, so civilized. The menu also has burgers, sandwiches, some additional Korean dishes (like bulgogi, different bi bim bop dishes), and even a cheese steak made with grilled teriyaki steak, but I can't personally vouch for 'em. I was all about my hash brown sandwich.
Bonus points for the counter packed with personal postcards from customers traveling all over the world (some vintage lovelies in there, let me tell you). As for when to come, well, this is not a place to hang out really, unless you're doing it all midweek and late like a freelance writer would do it (yes, I am talking about me). Don't come in a group--it's a counter, so solo diners or parties of two work best. There is definitely a line on the weekend, but things move quickly at Art's--zip zip zip--so no loitering or lingering. Someone outside wants your precious seat.
747 Irving St.
Cross: 9th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94122