1300 on Fillmore: Southern-style food with a jazzy flair
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. The lyrics to one of my favorite jazz songs rang out at 1300 on Fillmore as I enjoyed the restaurant’s Southern-style Sunday Gospel Brunch on my recent visit to San Francisco and listened to the music of Michael Cheadle and his band, Future Perfect. It was a rainy, summer morning and relaxing in one of the restaurant’s big, leather wing chairs while sipping on a Peach Bellini, living truly did feel easy.
Located at San Francisco’s Fillmore Heritage Center is a restaurant that combines two of my biggest loves: Southern food and jazz music. 1300 on Fillmore was an unforgettable gem of a find on my recent trip to San Francisco as it celebrates music and brings new life to the historic jazz district.
On that raining morning, I walked into the restaurant and was completely taken aback by the décor – studded wingback chairs and leather couches hang in the lounge area for you to recline in while you wait to be seated – or even after your meal for a relaxed chat with friends. Its high ceilings open the space up, showing off its deep espresso-colored walls adorned with art and photographs of iconic jazz musicians and singers. The restaurant was reminiscent of a swanky jazz club in simpler times. Rich purples, dark chocolates and accents of gold accentuate the space and give it a classy, exquisite feel.
The generously sized bar immediately attracts your gaze as it is featured in the middle of the restaurant. The seductive dark woods lining the bar draw you in for one of their signature cocktails concocted by their master mixologist.
What drew me to the restaurant on this trip was their Sunday Gospel Brunch. Seatings are offered at 11am and 1pm while you enjoy Southern-style brunch dishes and listen to the gospel-inspired tunes of the jazz band, Future Perfect. On this morning, the band gave lively, note-perfect renditions of Summertime, Amazing Grace, You’ve Got A Friend, and a few Lionel Richie classics. The music was just loud enough to liven up the crowd and put a smile on everyone’s faces, though not too loud to still have a conversation with your dining partner.
For a morning beverage, 1300 offers Bottomless Pomosas (Sparkling wine, Pama liqueur, and a splash of juice) for $12 per person. I opted for their delicious and bubby Peach Bellini that was almost too easy to drink. As you scour the menu’s list of entrees (believe me, you’ll have a hard time deciding on only one), snack on the treats bundled up the restaurant’s Fresh Assorted Bread Basket. Inside, you’ll find sweet cornbread with creamy honey butter, buttermilk chive biscuits that are absolutely to die for, and fresh-made scones. Though it seems silly to rave about a bread basket, once you try the Hot Pepper Jam that is served on the side, you’ll know exactly why it struck me so. Spread a little dollop on one of those chive biscuits and you have a little bite of heaven. The jam is slightly sweet with just enough of a punch to have you begging for more.
Before my visit, I did a little research on the Gospel Brunch and read countless rave reviews of their Black Skillet Fried Chicken and knew I had to try it. Growing up in the Midwest, there is no dish I hold dearer than a plate of comfort food. Still though, I had never had Southern-fried chicken as good as this.
Perfectly golden and crisp, the fried chicken met every expectation I had… and then some. The season on the skin was insane – and reminded me of the flavors of Louisiana. The meat of the chicken was incredibly juicy, tender and had so much flavor in itself – I’m pretty sure I had a physical reaction after my first bite. To prepare the chicken, Chef David lets the pieces soak in buttermilk overnight so that the meat becomes nice and tender, then shallow-fries it in a black skillet before serving. With heaping scoops of creamy mashed potatoes and a bit of pan gravy, the chicken is placed on top for a picture-perfect presentation. My eyes lit up a little when I saw it was served with those buttermilk chive biscuits on the side!
My companion chose the Spicy Tasso Cajun Ham and Eggs Benedict served on top of those buttermilk chive biscuits I’ve raved about and a rich tabasco hollandaise atop perfectly poached eggs. I was able to sneak a couple of bites from his plate and loved the smokinesss of the ham and kick from the hollandaise. Roasted potatoes are plated on the side – truly a filling meal!
The meal only got better when our spoons dipped into the side of Creamy Grits we ordered – some of the best I’ve ever had in all my years.
We had to pass up dessert after indulging too much in the entrees, though the selections sounded lovely. Time didn’t permit, but I wished we could have visited again in the evening for a glass of wine and to experience the dinner menu. I can’t say enough good things about the Sunday Brunch and could only imagine the creations that could come out of Chef David’s kitchen after sunset. I walked away full and satisfied and only sad that Phoenix has nothing to compare to this Southern, jazzy experience.
If you are planning a trip to San Francisco, you must check out 1300 on Fillmore. I know I’ll be back every time I visit! For more information, visit 1300fillmore.com.
1300 on Fillmore | 1300 Fillmore Street | San Francisco, CA | 94115 | 415-771-7100