Look for the orange sign. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
The lumberjack galette. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Roasted apple and salted caramel crêpe for dessert. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
San Francisco has been severely lacking on the authentic crêpes front since Ti Couz closed in the Mission. Most crêpe places end up using the sweet batter of white flour, eggs, milk, and sugar for savory crêpes, which isn’t quite correct. In Brittany, France, a savory crêpe is called a galette, and is traditionally made with buckwheat flour—the sweet version is called a crêpe. And on a tiny dead-end lane in the Financial District, you’ll find a place that understands the difference.
~GALETTE 88~ is on Hardie Place, just off Kearny Street in between Bush and Sutter, so you’ll see a bunch of downtown workers chowing down during the week (they move fast here, so you can get in and out quickly). As soon as you walk in, the place wafts with butter and cheese—it’s one of the best smelling places in town, seriously. Galette 88 has a rustic-chic look, designed by owners Céline Guillou (formerly of Yield Wine Bar) and Erin Rooney (Slow Club, Serpentine). Since it’s only open for lunch during the week 11am-3pm, you can rent it out for private events the remainder of the time.
The menu has 10 different kinds of open-faced galettes, from la basique ($6) with Emmentaler cheese and caramelized onion, to the hefty lumberjack ($10) with Taleggio cheese, caramelized onions, potatoes, crème fraîche, and ham for $10. Yeah, you know which one I got, and it was deeeelicious. Other toppings include mushrooms, or smoked salmon, or sausage, plus gourmet combos like goat cheese with housemade fig jam and caramelized onions—the ingredients are all choice, and they come with a small salad on the side. The galettes are made with organic buckwheat flour (the owners have Giusto’s in South San Francisco mill the flour specially for them), water, and sea salt, so they actually don’t have any gluten-containing ingredients (buckwheat is a berry, FYI). I personally love the flavor of buckwheat, so I was way into my galette here.
Be sure to order a glass (or in this case, a Mason jar) of sparkling French cider to go with your galette, like the Clos Normand Cidre Brut ($6). There’s also Four Barrel coffee and housemade aguas frescas, along with a couple salads, and just in case you saved room for dessert, there are sweet crêpes as well ($5-$6.50), like one with Nutella, or another with roasted apples and salted caramel.