I ate in a lot of coffee shops and diners growing up in New Jersey, but none of them ever had a bookshelf holding a copy of Marijuana Growers Handbook. Hell, none of them ever had a bookshelf. Enter Canteen, Dennis Leary’s stylish coffee shop in San Francisco’s vibrant Commodore Hotel, which not only has loaded wooden bookshelves, but also offers food that’s more intriguing than typical coffee shop fare.
Leary’s lunch menu featured a short list of brunch-style options. I bypassed the seemingly sure-fire corned beef hash and ordered two lunch dishes instead.
Hunks of tender white fish joined a big cabbage bed that looked like radicchio, only not at all bitter. I didn’t taste any bitter orange, which was either disappointing or a blessing.
The pork was amazing, truly tender, and absolutely delicious. So was the roll. I also found the accompanying pile of diced celery very refreshing.
We were excited to try the only listed dessert, buttermilk cake with blueberry ice cream. It wasn’t even 1 PM, but they already sold out. Our waitress offered tangerine sorbet instead, but it was cold and rainy outside. No thanks. Eager to please, the waitress asked if we wanted a slice of blueberry French toast or a pancake. Negatory.
Considering the simple setting, and how little we were paying, the food was solid. Even if I didn’t get my prunes and bitter orange. I’d be interested to return for dinner, when Chef Leary apparently gets more ambitious. I’m also interested to revisit Canteen’s tantalizing bookshelves. Just for the record, I never inhaled.