Bluestem Brasserie’s New Chef Takes Restaurant To A Higher Level

An assortment of chef Trevor Ogden's dishes at Bluestem Brasserie
An assortment of chef Trevor Ogden’s dishes at Bluestem Brasserie

Although there are plenty of restaurants in every neighborhood in San Francisco, there are only a handful of truly neighborhood restaurants. I’m talking about the sort of place where you can enjoy a delicious meal any time of day. There’s no fuss of waitlists or lines, but instead, the friendly hostess or kind owner greets you by your first name with a smile. It’s the type of restaurant you can count on for everything—from a quick seasonal soup during a work week lunch to a celebratory steak that commemorates a milestone anniversary. The drinks are strong, the wine list stellar, and the atmosphere inviting. You can’t help but return over and over again because the food, and overall experience, is that good. Bluestem Brasserie is a perfect example of this type of eatery.

The bar and dining room at Bluestem Brasserie
The bar and dining room at Bluestem Brasserie

Photo Credit: Ryan Hughes

Bluestem Brasserie is located downtown on Market Street near the Westfield Mall. It’s a two-story restaurant with a small patio, bar, and plenty of seating for large groups. Its close proximity to the Moscone Center makes it a hot spot for company-driven business meals. The neutral decor features reclaimed hardwood floors, soft lighting, creative artwork, an earthy color palette, and a bar that resembles a twinkling starlight sky. The brasserie opened six years ago and has seen a series of chefs, from Jeff Banker to John Griffiths command the kitchen. Recently Trevor Ogden, formerly of Park Tavern, has taken over the job of head chef.

Ogden's pork chop
Ogden’s pork chop

Ogden has invigorated the dinner menu with fresh and seasonal flavors. The chicken liver toast, a crowd-pleasing favorite, is topped with thin slices of juicy persimmons and a sprinkling of crunchy hazelnuts. Ogden, a native of Georgia, excels at classic Southern preparations. He tops hard-boiled eggs with candied pancetta, housemade Tabasco sauce, scallion pesto, and pink peppercorns to make creamy, decadent, and to-die-for deviled eggs—giving the ones he used to create at Park Tavern a run for their money. His pan-roasted thick-cut pork chop is cooked to perfection with a seared exterior and moist interior. Served with cauliflower puree, spatzle, and pork jus, it’s a dish that is both comforting and innovative. As the plethora of produce at the farmers market changes, so will Ogden’s satisfying and scrumptious menu.

Lori Baker's apple bread pudding
Lori Baker’s apple bread pudding

The chef has created an entirely new weekend brunch menu made with the best available local ingredients. There are plenty of tasty options with a variety of starters for sharing to heartier sweet and savory plates like beignets with lemon curd and cappuccino fudge and mushroom and crispy tofu with kale and almonds. Ogden is also working closely with Bluestem’s beloved pastry chef, Lori Baker. She’s one of the best dessert makers in the city as illustrated by just a single bite of her other-worldly apple bread pudding with bourbon buttermilk caramel, cranberries, and vanilla ice cream. Her cakes—right now she’s serving a carrot cake with pineapple, coconut, and rum cream cheese frosting—are transcendent.

Bluestem Brasserie is a sensational restaurant worthy of a visit. Whether it’s your first or 33rd time dining at the eatery, you won’t be disappointed by the food, service, and sips at this neighborhood gem.