18 bar seats easily available for early birds who don’t mind crab for breakfast with an ice cold Anchorsteam. Swan Oyster Depot is a Centenarian, provider of magical unicorn juice, Nob Hill institution – but guys, they don’t have a website. No. 2 of my Best Brunches in SF series, Swan Oyster Depot (SOD) does not need anymore publicity thanks to Anthony B., but I still need to blog about the famed Seafood joint (I went to school with the family!). And I mean “joint” in the most revered sense of the word. SOD is not fancy. It is intrinsically unfancy and genuine and it’s beautiful; with decades worth of curated SF sports memorabilia slapped to the front wall, a trail of deep sea fishing ropes, coats and gear leading the way to the can, an antique metal cash register, collages of faded fish species posters aged with Bay sunshine and splatters of the freshest seafood in San Francisco. But please, I cannot stress enough, you have to come early to leave happy with a belly full of squid and oysters. Doors open at 10:30am, sometimes earlier. The line will put Star Wars to shame at 10:15 – aim for a 10am arrival. Now, what to order…
Smoked Salmon (a real show stopper)
I don’t mean to one up Mr. Bourdain, but I cannot fathom how the smoked salmon wasn’t featured on The Layover. If the coveted Crab Fat is magical unicorn juice, then the smoked salmon is magical unicorn flesh – tender, flaky, non-fishy, silky, nom-nom-able thinly sliced salmon served on beds of sourdough. I can’t even. When you order the smoked salmon it’s served with a shrimp side salad, but just ask for all salmon and you will get what is pictured above. You’re welcome. The smoked salmon is sourced from Lucas Wharf in Bodega Bay, but the people at Lucas don’t even sell the salmon directly to restaurant guests because of the labor and required expertise to fillet, debone and prepare the salmon. Another reason to #hype #hype #hype the people of SOD – they are true fish experts!
Ice, cold, freshly shucked, and a true assortment of rare oysters I had never even heard of. It’s a wild world Oysters are, but very enjoyable. I recommend sliding them back with a spoonful of mignonette and the chili sauce – damn delicious.
Sea Food Cocktail
Served in a pretty little sundae glass, the plump and piled high crab, shrimp, and oysters are super satisfying. Although the cocktail sauce will be enough for those who hate spicy, I recommend adding the chili sauce!
Yes! The Crab Cellulite… errr Fat is Bomb.com, but it really needs the chili sauce to enhance the magical qualities. Once you have that spice, feasting on a crab’s jingly bits will become a tradition.
Family owned Swan Oyster Depot is a time capsule. They play Ella Fitzgerald, ring you up on an antique, engage in San Francisco pre-earth quake history chit-chat, and carve room in all visitor’s hearts about the size of a dozen oysters and a slice of sourdough. But hurry, the line’s getting longer!