Toy Boat Dessert Caf�

Overall Rating: 7.950

Address: 401 Clement St.
Cross Street(s): 5th Ave.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94118
Neighborhood: Inner Richmond
Phone: 415.751.7505
Hours: M-Th 7:30am-11pm; F 7:30am-12am; Sa 8:30am-12am; Su 8:30am-11pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe
Cafe Rating: 8.20
Barista: 9
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 9
Presentation: 7
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Cimbali
Coffee Rating: 7.70
Aroma: 8
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: -1.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Syrup-like
Coffee Beans: Mr. Espresso
Cup Manufacturer: Delco
Price: $1.75
Last Update: 02/20/2006
First Reviewed: 07/26/2003
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

Since 1982, this playfully-themed caf� has served soda fountain drinks, coffee, and sandwiches. The owner, Jesse, has lined its walls with old toys, a PEZ dispenser collection, cartoon figurines, and model airplanes. A coin-operated horse ride sits in its center. Outdoors there is a bench and a single table. Hipster young women (and men) behind the counter are meticulous baristas who know how to work their 20+-year-old La Cimbali M20 lever machine (which itself is serviced by a lone Mr. Espresso technician). They preheat the serving cups while filling a small brew pitcher (it would be better to pour directly into the cup to avoid the heat transfer). Serving an appropriate, yet rare, shallow pour, they resist the temptation (or pressure) to fill the cup completely. Their technique produces good results from their Mr. Espresso beans. A rich aroma. A dark brown, partly congealed crema with a thick, syrup-like body. Its flavor packs a dense sweetness of molasses, caramel, and some chocolate. (At my last visit, the flavor ran a little more towards the tobacco spectrum with less sweetness and potency, but this was just minutes after they had the machine serviced.)