The Brunch Dish: The Hangtown Fry at Stone Park Café
I'm a sucker for classy restaurants doing indulgent food well, which is why I loved the Hangtown Fry ($14) at Stone Park Café. The oyster-bacon omelet is said to originally be a Gold Rush dish, for lucky miners who had cash to drop on an expensive breakfast; whether or not that story's true, it's still on the menu at a number of San Francisco spots—and Stone Park in Park Slope, as well.
Here, it's a flat omelet with Vermont cheddar and cuts of thick bacon that flavors every bite, with a scatter of home fries, potatoes with crisp outsides and fluffy, steamy middles, a few strands of softened, sweet onions tangling through. But that's all really just a foundation for the five or six enormous (like, the size of a chicken's egg enormous) fried oysters. Battered and golden brown, just a greaseless, well-seasoned crisp shell around soft bodies that explode in briny juices, they're by far the best part of the brunch dish. Good enough, in fact, to have me wondering about the oyster po'boy that's also on the menu. I suppose there's always next time.
The Pan Seared Bluefish Cakes ($14) are another, perhaps moderately less gut-busting seafood-egg option. You've got to like smoked bluefish, but if you do, you'll appreciate how much its flavor comes out in each crisp-edged cake, topped with a runny poached egg and a caper-laced hollandaise.