Brenda's French Soul Food | San Francisco

A taste of New Orleans, thirty percent more often

Brenda's French Soul Food is best summed up with a quote, uttered by a diner as she dug into a giant plate of shrimp and grits: "This lady is not fooling around!"

Chef-owner Brenda Buenviaje certainly wasn't fooling around when she opened her restaurant on a gritty stretch of Polk Street and started serving Crescent City classics.

Nor is Buenviaje fooling around now: After three and a half years in business, she recently added dinner service. She's also working on an almost-completed expansion that will more than double the number of seats, with plans to serve wine and beer.

For lunch or dinner, there's the option of spicy, fried chicken, with russet-brown skin and juicy meat (available by the piece or plate). The shrimp po'boy ($9.75) and broiled oysters ($2.75 each) would comfort a homesick New Orleans-native. And the biscuits ($2 each), so tender they crumble in your hand, are worth braving the very worst of the Tenderloin.

But the best news is that all the rib-sticking food at Brenda's is now available 30 percent more often. No fooling.

Brenda's, 652 Polk St. (at Eddy St.); 415-345-8100 or