A Snazzy-Jazzy Time at 1300 on Fillmore

A more refined version of fried chicken at 1300 on Fillmore in San Francisco.

1300 on Fillmore will transport you to another time, another place.

The glamorous San Francisco supper club greets you like a contemporary Southern belle with attitude from the moment you step inside its massive, heavy doors.

All warm, chocolate brown leather and polished wood, the lounge features a dramatic wall of back-lit black and white photos of the historic Fillmore Jazz District that surrounds the restaurant, a short drive from the Hotel Kabuki San Francisco.

Indeed, there’s live jazz in the lounge regularly, and even gospel performances during Sunday brunch.

The lovely lounge area with historic photos of the Fillmore Jazz District.

The sexy, soothing dining room.

Recently, I was invited to be a guest of the four-year-old restaurant to try Executive Chef David Lawrence’s singular take on Southern specialties. Lawrence owns the restaurant with his wife, Monetta, who greets guests in the dining room as if welcoming them to her own home.

He is English-born, of Jamaican heritage, and French-trained — all of which shows on his plates. The food has the comforting quality you want in Southern cooking, but here it’s done up with far more flair and refinement.

Cornbread you'll want to devour.

Warm triangles of cornbread, crusty on the outside and tender within, arrived at the table with a pot of sweet-spicy red pepper jam. You will have to summon all the willpower you have not to eat every single one.

An amuse arrived — a large plate with a small crater in the center, cradling thick, rustic grits with tomato marmalade and blue cheese. It had nice balance, because even with the addition of the pungent cheese, you could still taste the lovely sweet corn flavor of the grits.

An amuse bouche of cheese grits with blue cheese and tomato marmalade.

A gem of a salad.

Little Gem salad ($8) brought crunchy long leaves drizzled with tangy buttermilk dressing, and scattered with spiced molasses glazed pecans and crunchy croutons made from more of that wonderful cornbread.

Barbecue shrimp and grits ($14) carried a lovely hit of spice, as well as irresistible fried garlic chips that made the dish memorable.

Barbecue shrimp and grits.

Of course, who can resist fried chicken at a Southern restaurant? You need to allow 20 minutes for this one ($24), as it’s cooked to order. This is not your fried chicken with crunchy curlicues of crisp batter enveloping it. This is more your neat, civilized version of fried chicken. First off, it’s boned out. Second, Lawrence uses a marinade-brine to keep it super moist, then dredges it in organic corn flour seasoned with a touch of cumin, before shallow-frying it in cast-iron skillet. Take a bite and it’s more of a chewy crunch rather than a shattering one, with the flesh tender and juicy. The chicken is served with mashed potatoes and gravy, plus the lightest, most buttery chive biscuit ever.

Pan-seared scallops with pancetta.

Pan-roasted diver scallops ($26) arrived beautifully seared with sweet potato mash with a hint of cinnamon, and a carrot-cardamom sauce studded with crispy bits of pancetta.

We couldn’t pass up a side of white truffle macaroni and white cheddar cheese ($7). This is not your heart-attack version drowned in paste-thick, cheese sauce. Instead, the macaronis are coated in a thinner, more restrained sauce that’s still dreamy-creamy and satisfying.

Not your usual mac 'n' cheese.

For dessert, you can’t go wrong with banana cream pie ($9). It’s not served as a wedge here, but as an individual tart with a filling that’s more pleasingly custard-like than pudding-ish. Swirls of caramel-lime sauce add a little more sweetness to this very fresh tasting dessert.

A modern banana cream pie.

Like any good supper club, 1300 on Fillmore takes you to another place — one so comfortable that you won’t want to leave anytime soon.

More Fried Chicken: Ad Hoc’s Famous Version

And: Little Skillet’s Fried Chicken and Waffles

And: My List of Favorite Fried Foods

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Date: Friday, 3. June 2011 5:27
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Chefs, General, Restaurants

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19 comments

  1. 1

    Wow! I would love to go there.

  2. 2

    Dressed-up Southern food is a wonderful thing. White truffle mac and cheese sounds divine.

  3. 3

    Wow. I just heard about this place on Sunday for this first time and now reading your review…I am dying to go there. Every single thing looks delicious!

  4. 4

    Very classy joint. The BBQ shrimp looks so tempting. Now I know where to go for some civilized fried chicken! ;)

  5. 5

    Love the decor….very elegant. That’s the first thing you see, isn’t it? And the food! Oh my! I just had lunch and my mouth started to water all over again. The gem salad looks wonderful, as does that banana cream pie/tart. Wish I lived in SF!

  6. 6

    What a wonderful meal, the banana cream pie looks absolutely heavenly!

  7. 7

    You had me at grits. It’s so rare to find on a menu. Yum!

  8. 8

    OMG. Nothing more needs to be said.

  9. 9

    I would love to come to this place if I ever get a chance to travel there. The food looks great and the atmosphere looks very inviting, plus I love jazz music so this is definitely a place I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  10. 10

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Carolyn!!!! It’s your birthday, right? I’m a stalker, so I know. ;)

    Everything looks SO good here…even the salad!!! I wonder what you ate for your birthday? ^__^

  11. 11

    It’s restaurants like this that make me all the more eager for my trip to America at the end of the year! :)
    P.S. What are grits?

  12. 12

    Every single dish had me crying out “yes please!”. the photographs are gorgeous too, I felt like I could have reached into my iPad and grabbed them all! :P

  13. 13

    I used to go to a place similar to this Boston…and now I wish I were back in San francisco so I could try THIS place out! Looks fantastic!

  14. 14

    JasmyneTea: Oh, you must try grits some day. It’s a Southern specialty that’s a side dish or breakfast dish. It’s most often made from ground corn, but sometimes from oats or rice. It’s cooked with water or milk. It’s similar to Italian polenta in its creamy texture, but not quite as dense.

  15. 15

    Cornbread to start?! I don’t think I can stop at only 1!

  16. 16

    1300 Fillmore is one of my favorite places to go for happy hour! Great food and drinks, reasonable prices, and great atmosphere after a long day of work.

  17. 17

    You can get 30% off at 1300 on Fillmore, offer expires soon http://blackboardeats.com/san-francisco

  18. 18

    I’ve always enjoyed dining at their bar too!

  19. 19

    hello my name is natasha tadros and i am an intern at peter greenberg worldwide. peter wrote about the White Truffle Mac and Cheese from 1300 on Filmore in his book “The Best Places for Everything” and we were wondering if we could use your picture in our slideshow; we’d like to put the attributions at the bottom of the picture. Thanks.

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