From long lines to overpriced, rubbery eggs to weak, sickly sweet mimosas, there are plenty of logical reasons to avoid going out for brunch—and many chefs agree.
It’s “not all that interesting,” says Jude Parra-Sickels, the executive chef at Majordomo, the acclaimed downtown spot from the Momofuku empire. So, in April, the restaurant started serving not brunch but “weekend lunch,” with large, shareable dishes such as a platter of Chinese bing bread with various accompaniments and a beef kebab marinated in Korean flavors and served with a kimchi egg. “We tried to stay true to who we are,” says Parra-Sickels.
Majordomo is just one of several local restaurants offering new, unique—and uniquely delicious—takes on midday weekend dining. Have a look.
Unlike some of his fellow chefs, Vartan Abgaryan says: “I love brunch: I love eating it; I love cooking it.” That fondness is apparent at his sunny, critically lauded new Venice eatery, where he offers both creative riffs on classics and fresh creations. The waffle ($15) is made with rye flour and house ricotta and topped with a zesty yuzu kosho honey, while an elaborate morning bowl ($18, above), features an egg yolk, peanut pistou, xo sauce, and five different types of rice. And, fear not, the acclaimed avocado hummus ($13) from the dinner menu is also available at brunch. 1616 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice.
Weekend lunch—don’t call it a brunch—is an ideal time to experience the popular, rather pricey Korean-ish restaurant’s acclaimed food without breaking the bank. A seafood cocktail looks like a Mexican restaurant standard but has a different flavor profile thanks to the addition of kimchi. The fried chicken ($32, meant to be shared) features two takes, one Korean style and the other brined in buttermilk, ginger, and chilies and dredged in flour. Those looking for something more brunchy should opt for the Bing Board ($34), with an egg salad with roe and a coffee butter with maple syrup. It hits more “breakfasty kind of notes,” says Parra-Sickels. 1725 Naud St., downtown.
Chef Hunter Pritchett strives for brunch to have the same eclectic, international feel as his dinner menu. “We just sort of keep that same mantra,” he says. “Good California cuisine and sort of twist it up a bit.” That means a breakfast burrito taken up a notch with tangy kimchi and bulgogi sausage ($15), a fried egg banh mi ($14), and a chicken-and-waffles dish ($29) topped with caviar and a crema made with the by-product of sake brewing. “It almost tastes like brie,” Pritchett says. Handily, brunch starts earlier here than most other places—10 a.m.—and Pritchett notes that even some of the more indulgent dishes are well-balanced and won’t put you in a full-on food coma. “I can’t really [eat] a heavy brunch,” he says. “The menu sort of reflects that.” 1816 Vermont Ave., Los Feliz.
Known for its haute tacos, this downtown spot recently started slinging brunch, but you’ll only find one taco on the menu. Instead, there are various easy-to-share egg dishes—with Guerrilla’s excellent flour tortillas on the side—such as Mom’s Sunday Breakfast ($18), with multiple beef and pork preparations, avocado, and salsa verde, and the Puerto Nuevo Scramble ($35), with lobster and trout roe. “Brunch is a chance for our staff to try some new items that we wouldn’t typically serve,” says chef Wes Avila. “It’s a great way to enjoy our food in a group.” Affordable, perfectly balanced margaritas ($10) add to the fun. 2000 E. 7th St., downtown.
“I love mornings in Spain. I like to get up early; I like to start eating jamon immediately. I wanted to really capture that feeling,” says Teresa Montaño, chef and co-owner of Highland Park’s modern Spanish restaurant. The tapas-style brunch encourages nibbling on manchego ($5), thick slices of bacon ($8), churros dipped in dark chocolate ($12), and house-made bread—dyed jet black with squid ink—with tuna and anchovy goat butter ($12), while sipping gin and tonics or a light Spanish wine. “We call them breakfast wines,” enthuses Montaño about the latter, while the former “is a perfect all-day cocktail.” 5715 Figueroa St., Highland Park.
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