Before my breakfast at Delany’s I knew it just as “that place that NEVER has any people in it. EVER.” Steve swore up and down that it was perpetually empty, and I believed him because the few times I noticed it as I walked by it was vacant. We wondered when it would close and how it was still open. I have to admit, we weren’t too nice about it. Probably we were a little cruel. And you’d think that by now I’d have learned not to judge.
Delany’s was nice inside, though spare. Until you looked up.
Then it was pretty festive. It was bright with sunlight, which I like, especially at breakfast time. We were the only people in the restaurant when we sat down. A group of three frat-esque guys came in after we’d been there about 20 minutes. Here’s the thing about Delany’s: we waited for our food for a long long long time. We had the time, but if you’re looking for a quick in and out bite, this is not the place for you. Luckily the coffee was good.
The reason for the long wait for our food may have been because we ordered off the menu of Bolivian specials. They had some tasty sounding omelets and scrambles at very reasonable prices, but the Bolivian specials were too exciting to pass up, even though they were twice the price of anything on the normal breakfast menu.
I was tempted by the Asado Especial, but I figured I didn’t need to eat rice AND french fries. So I went with the equally enticingly described Silpancho.
Steve ordered the Morcilla.
I am a pretty adventurous eater, but one of the things I get a little weird about it blood sausage. I was surprised when I really enjoyed the Morcilla; it was super rich and creamy, with warm spices like cinammon and cumin. It was delicious smeared on the french fries, which were golden and crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. The salad was lovely as well, fresh and brightly dressed with a simple vinagrette. We were both surprised by the salad, we didn’t expect such fresh greens at a place that seemed to have no customers.
Steve’s meal looked pretty, but I think it was my dish that really impressed us with its presentation. It certainly wasn’t what you’d expect at a restaurant that’s empty all the time. It made me feel kind of bad that these people are putting so much work and thought into their cooking without much reward. Still, the silpancho didn’t quite live up to its looks. I enjoyed it, the beef was tender and flavorful, the eggs were perfectly cooked and the potatoes were light. The little scoop of salsa that topped it was a bit bland, and I really wished that I’d had a lemon wedge or something acid to balance out the richness of the egg and beef and the blandness of the rice. I was offered tabasco, which added a bit of heat but just wasn’t the right flavor. So, not a perfect dish, but easily fixed.
Delany’s is a tiny operation. When I was there I saw three people; a waitress/chef, a teenager who helped a bit with waiting tables but mostly looked at a laptop at a back table, and another chef that I only glimpsed in the kitchen. I’m pretty certain they were the only folks working there. While Steve and I were waiting for our food, we could hear chopping and pounding and sizzling coming from the kitchen. I think Delany’s could be doing a lot more business, they aren’t in the greatest location, but they are just a few doors down from the behemoth that is Brenda’s. I’d think that they could be taking more of that overflow. I think the main problem is that they aren’t advertising their Bolivian food. There aren’t too many places in San Francisco serving Bolivian food and it seems to be a pretty interesting cuisine. If they made that more of a focus of their outside presentation, I think they could draw more people in. I could be totally off base though; for all I know Delany’s is super busy during weekday lunches. Several people on Yelp mentioned that they have live music on weekend nights. I’d be interested to see that. I’m also interested to come back and try the American/Italian food on their dinner menu, as well as more Bolivian food. So, I hope they stay open for a while.
Cool Pink Floyd poster.
710 Polk St