By Tamara Palmer
The charming Outer Sunset restaurant Outerlands finally reopened last week after an expansion into the former takeout Chinese spot next door. The remodel is aesthetically seamless, a beautiful extension of the reclaimed wood interior with a new 10-seat bar and more cozy handmade tables that the owners hope will alleviate the wait for this perpetually popular spot. (Good luck, there was at least an hour wait when I was there over the weekend.)
The eventual plan is to serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and to be open in the interim between lunch and dinner, with a happy hour and cocktails that won’t be available later in the evening. For now, Outerlands is offering weekday lunch and weekend brunch only. (You can get the most up to date info on hours from their Facebook page – for example, they're closed today for touch-ups but open tomorrow from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.)
One of the highlights of Outerlands' rotating lunch menu has always been the grilled cheese sandwich, served on housemade levain bread. Owners David Muller and Lana Porcello and new chef Greg Kuzia-Carmel have the sense to keep that item, along with the tried-and-true mix of salads, soups, cold sandwiches, and hot open faced sandwiches. Kuzia-Carmel is making his mark with what actually goes between the slices of bread: current selections include a cold sandwich with charred zucchini, Japanese togarashi chili pepper blend, and feta cheese, and a hot open faced sandwich with pork that the chef has braised all day and serves with sultana relish and cabbage slaw.
The new brunch menu is properly stacked for those who think of this meal as a sport. It’s easy to swing sweet or savory, or mix it all up with a little of both.
Pro tip: Order a Dutch pancake right when you sit down, before you figure anything else out. These guys move fast and take 20 minutes to make. If you’re fiending for sugar, order the version with sweet strawberries; otherwise, go for the maple-sage sausage variety and add a side of housemade ricotta cheese.
Good items to split: The hot open faced sandwich with smoked chicken confit and pickled onion or fried eggs, bacon, provolone, and pickled green tomatoes is a solid choice. The pork hash with two sunny side eggs and the surprisingly creamy and rich quiche is another good option. (We also had serious breakfast envy over an eggs-in-jail dish with asparagus and bacon that another table was eating across the room.)
Yummy nibbles: You won't regret side orders of such baked goods as a lemon-spiked brioche with broccoli and feta and a miso-butterscotch glazed coconut donut.
Boozy breakfast: You won’t find Bloody Marys on the menu, but if you’re having brunch, you don’t want to miss the ginger lemon apple cider, which can be served iced or hot and with an optional shot of Four Roses bourbon.
Outerlands had a huge cult following before the big remodel, and reservations are not being accepted at the moment (which should change next month), so arrive early and consider grabbing coffee at Trouble before hitting the edge of the world.