Square One - PK's Review
I hit Square One in Los Feliz this morning for brunchee goodness - overall, I likee. I've recently launched a new Food Blog, so click the link below for alllll the gory details, but here's my assessment, in the proverbial nutshell:
RESTAURANT REPORT CARD
Ambiance - B+
Service - B
Food (Taste) - C+
Food (Presentation) - C+
Wine/Drinks - N/A
Value - B-
Overall Experience - B-
The menu is interesting, the flavors so-so, but there's something magical about the lowkey ambiance that just totally drew me in. And the pressed egg sannie on brioche? Not too shabby! Eggs Benedict is bettah though - and I'm going to dream about their pancakes until I can return for a tasting . . .
Square One Dining
4854 Fountain Ave.
Cross street - Catalina
Los Feliz, CA
For more details, hit OMG Food! at http://omgfood.blogspot.com
i think the food at Square One is great. i would give the food (taste) a B+ (presentation) a B. however when i held my birthday brunch there this year with 13 friends, the service was atrociously slow. i called several times in advance to try to get tables reserved and i was told no problem. the manager/owner was accomodating in giving the 14 of us 3 tables, yet when we tried to get a 4th table he wouldn't let us have it and we were rather crammed in together. i was happy, but i could tell that many of my friends were not.
that said, i went back there with a girlfriend for brunch a few weeks ago. she wasn't sure what to order and when her meal came, she didn't like it. when we tried to send it back the owner very rudely came over to our table and asked what she didn't understand about the dish that was stated on the menu. i was apalled. here i am taking a friend to brunch, telling her how great the place is and then she is rudely spoken to as she is a patron in the restaurant. she gracefully handled it and was brought an order of french toast, whch she loved. however, when the bill came, we saw that we were being charged for both breakfasts that she had ordered. upon asking why, we were told that they would take the french toast off the bill, but would be leave the more expensive dish on there. i refused to pay for it. the waitress was very accomodating, but unfortunately had to sned the owner over, because he would not budge. i explained to him that in my experience in every restaurant i have EVER been in, if the customer does not like the meal they have ordered, it is taken off the bill. he finally relented.
my point here, i won't go back to Square One, even though i love the pancakes and french toast. the owner's attitude caused him to lose my business for good. i don't need to be treated like that, when i am a paying customer. if my mom is the chef, fine, i'll take some grief if i don't like her cooking, but not when i'm paying for it. his loss was nominal in terms of money, instead Square One lost a customer that would have been loyal for years to come.
I think a little perspective is in order... Some people seem to think that the typical (sad) grading "curve" (i.e. 90% the class gets B+'s and above and only a few sad souls get lower) should apply to restaurants as well.
If Urasawa, French Laundry, Per Se, El Bulli, etc. represent the 90-100 category (A- - A+). Is it really so bad to rate a local diner/cafe with a few quibbles and nothing spectacular at 75 - 79 (C+)? I think not. Others may argue... but personally, I'd have to agree with PK's ratings system (in principal anyway ;)
I love Square One...C+ for food? You smokin' crack, Kitty? 'Cause that might be why your taste buds aren't picking up on the deliciousness. I've had nothing but good stuff there--and my criterion for any real restaurant is that the food has to be as good as mine. The coffee cake is absolutely addictive--good thing it's only available on the weekend, and the pieces are daintily sized! I loved the pressed egg sandwich...and the Benedict with the house-cured salmon on the crispy potato cake! Woof! Woof! Meow! Love the accompanying salad with the little radish sticks. And then there's my latest fave, the bowl of grits with bacon and cheddar...I get a poached egg on top, and it's breakfast in a bowl! (Then, if it's the weekend, coffee cake for dessert....)
I am really surprised by the C+ food rating as well. I just had Sunday brunch at Square One and it was incredible. Very affordable and very tasty. We started with the french toast with caramel/banana/orange sauce..fluffy toast, delicate flavor. My boyfriend had one of the skillets and I had the skirt steak and eggs with grits. A-MA-ZING. One of the best breakfasts of my life. The service was great. Our server was very helpful and quick and the male host (who may be the owner) was always on the ball..making sure the people who were waiting had the 411 on how much longer it would be. I think our only complaint was that the dining room was very warm (no A/C) and by the end of the meal we were ready to get out of there...but it does have patio seating. I love this place and can't wait to return.
Glad you got there, and thanks for the mention -- but I'm kind of surprised that you both liked your dishes, and yet the food got a C +, and you didn't find anything wrong with the service, yet it got a B. I've never had anything there which I would rate lower than a B+, and I've had the eggs benedict, the grits, the eggs and chorizo, the bacon and eggs with anamazing fruit cup, the yummy granola, and a perfect, light salade nicoise. And I've been told I'm tough!
Yeah, you know, I did LIKE the food, there was just no wow factor for me - and I may have been a bit harsh for the overly peppery salad :) And while there was nothing wrong with the service, I can never,ever forget the almost invisible, incredibly efficient and spectacular service at Urasawa, and as such, A's are an uber-rarity.