San Francisco: Hard Knox Cafe

My sister had her white coat ceremony back in September and of course we had to have dinner afterward.  Unfortunately, we waited too long to try for reservations at House of Prime Rib, so we had to look for another option.  We finally decided on Hard Knox Cafe since it was close to where her ceremony was held and when would anyone turn down soul food?:

The restaurant was much smaller than I expected.  The bar took up half the place, leaving only enough room for a row of tables:

Thankfully, there wasn't any wait and we slipped into a booth without needing a reservation.

I'm a big fan of sweet tea...from McDonald's.  Before you judge, it's $1 for a giant cup!  And it's so sweet that you can double the quantity by adding water to it.  That just tickles all my cheap Chinese feels.  I figured I should try sweet tea in an actual Southern restaurant for a change:

Not quite $1 (more like three times that), but it came in a freakin' cute mason jar, so fine.  And it tasted good too.

Our entrees came with cornbread muffins:

What we weren't expecting were two cornbreads per dish.  Woohoo!

Of course we had to get the chicken 'n waffle ($13):

The buttermilk Belgian waffle was thick and fluffy and delicious.  It came with three pieces of fried chicken, which were crisp, but a bit on the dry side.

Since it was a special occasion, we splurged a little and got the oxtail ($17):

All the entrees besides the chicken 'n waffle came with the choice of two sides.  We got different sides for each entree so that we could try as many as possible.  With the oxtail, we chose macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes.  The mac and cheese was a bit meh, but the mashed potatoes went great with the oxtail and all that gravy.

We also ordered the catfish, blackened instead of fried ($14):

And paired it with corn and red beans and rice.

For our last entree, we went with the bbq spareribs ($13):

With collard greens and candied yams as our final sides.

Out of all the entrees, the oxtail was my favorite.  The spareribs were a close second.  Both were super fall-off-the-bone tender.  And of all the sides, I enjoyed the mashed potatoes the most.  Well, that and the waffle.  It's a toss up between those two.

I really enjoyed the laid back atmosphere at Hard Knox Cafe.  It wasn't a busy night, so we were able to relax and chat and watch Serena Williams win the U.S. Open.  The service was attentive and the food was pretty damn good.  You definitely get quite a lot of it for your money's worth too.

A little out of the way if you don't live in the neighborhood, but seeing as my sister will be spending quite a lot of time at UCSF over the next few years, I forsee another visit sometime in the future.

Hard Knox Cafe
2526 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 648-3770


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