For an atmosphere of warm elegance, a liberal dose of live music and stress eliminating hospitality and bold, rewarding cuisine, you can’t do better than dinner at 1300 on Fillmore, a supper-club restaurant and lounge in the resurgent Fillmore District in San Francisco, featuring the cuisine of Executive Chef David Lawrence.
1300 on Fillmore is designed to replicate the way Lawrence and his wife and co-owner Monetta White would treat you as a guest in their home. I know: I and two of my Black Enterprise colleagues had a wonderful dinner at 1300 after long day of business meetings. We were personally invited by White, who found out we’d be in town by following me on Twitter. You can follow 1300 on Fillmore on both Twitter and Facebook.
When you cross the threshold of 1300 on Fillmore, you enter a lounge filled with club-style seating, including leather Chesterfield couches and wing chairs. The lounge also offers free wireless Internet access. 1300 is a favorite among local celebrities ranging from music impresario Quincy Jones and actor Teraji Henson, to former NBA and sports commentator Chris Webber and hip hop artist Nas. Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown is a regular and has been awarded a plaque at the bar. Lawrence and White opened the restaurant in October 2007.
1300 on Fillmore’s dining room seats 136 and features dark woods, walnut brown floors and chocolate walls, creating an atmosphere of richness, warmth and initimacy. Inspired by the vibrant music history of the San Francisco neighborhood that is the restaurant’s namesake, 1300 pays tribute the district’s legacy as a haven for jazz, soul and blues legends, many of whom once performed at the Fillmore Theater, San Francisco’s answer to Harlem’s Apollo Theater.
The food at 1300 at Fillmore is, in a word, amazing. It’s a blend of the distinctive, but also satisfyingly familiar. The cuisine is an amalgam of the diverse background and experience of Executive Chef David Lawrence: Jamaican ancestry and British upbringing burnished with a French culinary education at Westminster College in London, U.K. The result is what the chef calls “Soulful American Cuisine.” An example: black skillet fried chicken.
A selection from the appetizer menu at 1300 on Fillmore: Sauteed wild mushrooms with herbs over Mascarpone yellow hominy grits. Also, 1300 features a bar menu with tasty morsels such as shrimp hushpuppies and lamb burger sliders. The bar features a seasonal menu of classic cocktails and local specialties, as well as a wine list dominated by California wines selected by Master Sommelier Emmanuel Kemiji.
I strongly recommend this entree: maple syrup slow-braised beef short rib with crispy onion rings and buttermilk chive mashed potatoes. After I ate it, I actually asked White to tell her husband to come out of the kitchen so I could slap him. So you know it was good. Lawrence did come out, but I didn’t actually slap him.
Another great feature of 1300 on Fillmore is the perfect soundtrack for fine dining and great conversation, a selection of music ranging from classic to reggae to acid jazz culled from White’s collection of more than 4,000 albums and CDs. Live music is performed in the lounge on Sundays from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Also on Sundays: a gospel brunch featuring a three-course prix fixe menu and live performances by local gospel groups, featuring 1300’s house band Future Perfect, a father/daughter duo of Michael and Mickala Cheadle.