There’s a pernicious rumor that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s a lie; it’s brunch. Brunch is like the Golden Hydrant that saves you from a hangover that feels like everything is burning down all around you, it provides the foundation for more day-drinking, and it helps you forget that sooner or later, you will have to go back to work.
While Salumeria may not be the flagship of the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, Thomas McNaughton’s wonderful deli and sandwich spot rolled out a brunch menu a couple weeks ago that makes it the eggier equivalent of those roast beef sandwiches on pretzel rolls. In a word, it’s delicious. And it’s fairly slim: three sweet things, three larger savory dishes, three smaller savory items, and three low-ABV cocktails, including the classic mimosa.
Starting with savory, the fried-chicken-and-egg sandwich ($14) is several inches thick, oozes with runny yolks, and will make you forget all about all-day breakfast at McDonald’s. Meanwhile the crispy fingerling potatoes ($5) and the avocado toast ($6) are absolute steals. (The latter is fully three dollars cheaper than its inferior equivalent at Huxley.) A smack of malt vinegar and Parmigiano on the taters launches them far out of the realm of mere home fries, while the avocado toast was flecked with enough sesame seeds to look like it had rolled around the bottom of a sack of bagels. A few bits of cilantro and some lime kept it fresh, but not overly guacamole-like. And a skillet of poached eggs with braised pork cheeks and polenta (plus toast for dipping, $16) is almost too much to eat. It’s greasy in exactly the right way: Feel free to have beer before liquor the night before, just as you were warned never to do.
Apple cider donuts ($6), a menu item from the adjacent Central Kitchen, arrive rolled in cinnamon sugar like old-timey fritters, while the Salumeria sticky bun ($5) is the one thing that approaches too-much territory, given that there are pieces of bacon sitting atop the crumbled walnuts. (Lard lads and ladies, yes, it’s smoked in-house.) Mercifully, the drinks are on the lighter side, particularly the Stinson ($10) a sherry-based cocktail with quince and citrus spritzer. If you’re looking to splurge a little, there is but once option, a $48 carafe of “bubbly wine” plus a half-carafe of fresh-squeeze orange juice with garden-herb syrup and bitters.
But let’s not lose sight of how Salumeria — of which there is only one, since the Hamm’s Brewery building lobby location is now closed — is a really nice place to eat. There’s proper outdoor seating but the interior is sufficiently open to the elements that it doesn’t really feel like you’re indoors. Rather, it’s like being in the food court to the world’s best mall.
Salumeria, 3000 20th St., 415-471-2998.