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Although Chez Maman is renowned for its hamburgers and crepes, the menu is so diverse that as a wannabe regular, I wouldn't be able to choose a "usual." The food is rustic and fresh--like mom's cooking (if your mom were a classically stylish French phenom who also happened to whip up tasty meals). The endive salad is a knockout with caramelized walnuts and Roquefort cheese ($9)--a surprisingly good mix of sweet and sharp served in a wooden bowl. The chicken panini ($9), with pistou, aioli, and roasted peppers, is a delectable surprise that totally hits the spot. The burger, served with fried-just-right frites ($8.50), is grilled then baked with your choice of cheese (try the brie or Roquefort); it is a standout thanks to the not-too-hard-but-not-squishy bun that perfectly seals in the flavors.
- Excerpt from A Magnificent Potrero Hill Trio by Sarah Sung