Sunday, October 22, 2006
Back to Square One
The first time J and I tried to eat Sunday brunch at Square One, we were turned away at the door by a very apologetic owner who explained that a majority of the kitchen staff hadn't shown up that morning, and they were about to close. He sent us away with a complimentary, warm, chewy chocolate chip cookie, and let us buy a couple of cups of coffee. We were disappointed, but impressed by the kind, calm service--he was obviously concerned, but not visibly angry or flustered.
We returned for breakfast this Sunday, and lucky for us, the entire staff had showed. We picked a shaded table on the patio, one of few in our neighborhood not next to a busy street. As usual, I faced my sweet or savory breakfast dilemma, ultimately settling on buttermilk pancakes with orange curd and chocolate sauce. J ordered the brioche french toast, with bourbon pecans and vanilla whipped cream. My tangy curd cut the richness of the pancakes and the real chocolate (no Hershey's here), but not enough that I could finish the behemoth dish. J's pecans were addictive, and also worked well when mixed with my curd. More often than not, I'm dismayed by brunch--so many menus promise more than the restaurant can deliver. Not so at Square One--if anything, my pancakes tasted even better than they sounded.
Balancing our indulgence was a shared bowl of fruit. Far from the usual tired, high-end brunch berries, this was a seasonal delight. Crisp apples and asian pear slices, mixed with chunks of persimmon, slivers of pluot and pomegranate seeds tasted fresh from the market.
The most important part of my morning--coffee--is good and strong at Square One, as is the freshly squeezed orange juice. Service was friendly and prompt; it's nice to see the owner around, checking on tables, chatting with customers. The menu houses a whole slew of egg dishes I can't wait to try, all featuring local ingredients and seasonal produce.
4854 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA
Be forewarned--parking's difficult and you may have to (gasp!) walk a few blocks.