*THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED*
Anyone who knows me knows I am crazy about sandwiches. As much, if not more, than pizza. (This is what happens when your father owns a deli and pizzeria when you're a kid.) I am determined to have my own panino shop one of these days. But until then, all I can say is God bless Ryan Scott at ~MYTH CAFÉ.~ (I know, I can hear the regulars groaning, "Great, now even more people are going to come and steal my precious tables and make the lines longer." Sorry, it's the nature of the beast that is the tablehopper.) Myth Café is in the former Zero Degrees space, connected to the neighboring Myth restaurant. The Executive Chef is the muy-talented Sean O'Brien, who was previously the Executive Sous Chef at Gary Danko. Scott came up with the menu under O'Brien's direction. Some back story: Scott cooked under O'Brien in Gary Danko's kitchen for four years, and also worked with Daniel Boulud in NYC. He knows what's up, he knows his ingredients, and he is one of the nicest and most excited chefs I've had the pleasure of meeting in a while. FIRED UP, this guy is. Like a George Foreman Grill.
The space is on a sunny corner, with a few outdoor tables, and some indoor seating at stainless steel tables in a modern café space. Lots of folks just bop in and out for take-out bag lunches, or breakfast treats with their coffee. The sandwiches at this joint are enough to make me wish I worked downtown (well, kind of). But before I dive into the sammies, don't deny yourself the wicked deviled eggs ($3.50). SIX halves arrive (no, your eyes do not deceive you), sporting a creamy piped-in filling, topped with a chunk of meaty bacon, some chives, and a dusting of Hungarian paprika. Damn those deviled eggs, damn them! There are also some delicious house-made truffle potato chips ($3.50), thin and crispy, with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and tangerine gremolata (totally upping the gourmet factor). A veritable pile arrives. Yes, you're in trouble with those fries. Bye, see you later!
There is an array of salads, including a fennel- and sumac-crusted ahi tuna ($8.50) (yes, ahi tuna!—it wouldn't be San Francisco without some ahi tuna somewhere on the menu) resting on a salad of haricots verts, Niçoise olives, crumbled egg, and a bed of cucumber, in a zippy lemon vinaigrette. Very refreshing. Damned good salad. I was slightly less enthused with the Boston Bibb lettuce salad ($6.50)—it had blue cheese and pecans and Asian pears, all lovely things I tend to adore together, but it just didn't quite get its groove on like the other dishes. Needed a peppy dressing. (Peppy, did I just use that word? And zippy? I did. I sound like I'm 65, or a total nerd.) You can even get carrot-ginger soup ($5) with mint cream and crispy sweetbreads. No, this is not your average lunch spot, Dorothy. Or should I say Mary? (That last line is for my fabulous gay readers. Hi boys!)
Okay, okay, to the sandwiches. So, buckle up: Scott makes the sickest BLT ($8) I've had in a while. Thick strips of applewood-smoked bacon, a generous heaping of melty cheddar, with sweet and herby roasted tomatoes (brilliant) layered in plus some crispy romaine between two glorious pieces of grilled levain. The sandwich is huge. And already perfect. But here's where Scott is pure evil—the levain bread is grilled with a swath of bacon grease. I mean, what the hell, if you're already into a BLT, you might as well go the whole hog. OINK.
I was also way into the chili and lemongrass-roasted chicken salad sandwich ($8), which came in the softest Acme roll ever. So fresh, and fluffy. The chicken salad was super savory with a touch of sweet: coriander seed, avocado, red onion, mango… and some pepper jack. Fresh lettuce. Definitely the lighter and slightly nicer member in the family, compared to the evil BLT.
And check this out: on Fridays it's PBJ Fridays, which means a PB&J on cinnamon swirl brioche, with bananas, a granny smith apple, and a glass of milk. For $6.50. You could do a lot worse in this town for $6.50 for lunch. They have six-seven other sandwiches, plus a hearty turkey potpie that comes in its own cast iron skillet, a homemade veggie burger, and quiche too (vegetarians can have it their way).
And then there's dessert. Myth Café has a dedicated pastry chef, Renée Atkins (rather ironic, that last name), who probably who probably kicked butt while at the CCA. She churns out a number of treats, from mini apple pies to muffins to cupcakes to really flavorful sorbets, like crème fraîche, guava, and raspberry. And then there are the cookies: rocky road cookies made with big dollops of homemade marshmallows, and for the East Coasties, there are scrumptious black and whites: part cake, part cookie, with fab icing. She's even made grown-up/gourmet versions of Twinkies (with chiffon cake and vanilla butter cream) and Ho Hos. Wait, she's almost as evil as Ryan Scott. She is as evil as Ryan Scott! This place is seriously luncheon hellfire. It burns, it burns, ow!
490 Pacific Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94133