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Sep 3, 2006 07:45 PM

City Bakery in Brentwood

Haven't been there, on purpose, in months. Was wondering has ANYTHING improved? Prices? Selection? Is it still barren and sad? Thanks in advance!

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  1. i went there about a month ago. i got a salad which cost me $20. i think it's about the same when i first went when they opened.

    1. Was there this afternoon, got the molten chocolate cookie, which was quite good, and no more expensive than the $3 cupcakes that have sprouted up around the city.
      The place was empty, and the salad bar looked overpriced though.

      1. Is City Bakery still open? If so, I wonder for how much longer. I walked through there a couple of months ago and it was so empty and depressing that I couldn't bear to stay so went to Barney's in the patio. Took a quick look at the salad bar and everything looked so-o tired. Too bad. I thought this place had great potential when it first opened. Clearly, its days are numbered. Wish the old deli (Marjan's) was still there.

        2 Replies
        1. re: maudies5

          I love Barney's on the patio! My favorite place there.

          1. re: maudies5

            I miss the La Mesa sandwich at Marjan's - what a great deli!

          2. I don't really understand all the negative comments regarding CB. It just doesn't seem that much different from the one in NYC (which is quite popular), so why the bad rap? Salad bar items have looked and tasted very good the few times I've been there. Most bakery items are quite delicious. And I usually see quite a number of people in there. Maybe I just have such a positive association from the one in NYC that I overlook whatever faults others are seeing?

            3 Replies
            1. re: emily

              As a former regular of the New York store (in both its current location and the previous one a few blocks away), I think the difference is mostly not in quality but in location and expectations. In New York, there is a lot of foot traffic in the Flatiron district for lunch and, at least when I worked there, not a lot of great baked goods options. Even in NYC, I thought the salad bar was absurdly priced - but at least there, the food saw a lot of turnover and the items didn't look, well, old. The people who would walk by, and who could easily afford the salad bar as an alternative to a slower sit down meal, were plentiful and they kept the turnover high. That really does make a difference.

              So that is location. I also think people in LA haven't gotten as salad bar crazy in general as New Yorkers. Again, this could be a turnover issue--why go to a salad bar if everything looks old and 'icky.' There are only a few salad bars of note on the Westside, an area that would seem an ideal target market. And while most New Yorkers who move here complain about the bagels and the pizza, the thing I may well miss the most is having a killer salad for lunch 3-4X/week. The point is: the City Bakery gourmet serve-it-yourself model somehow doesn't seem to match the LA lifestyle.

              Finally, the one area where I did detect a quality drop in translating CB from New York to LA was in the hot chocolate. And, yet, I wonder how much of that has to do with drinking hot chocolate when it is a shivery 50 degrees here versus drinking it to ward off the real cold of a New York winter???

              1. re: igj

                I've only been to the Brentwood CB earlier in the day, so I suppose I haven't noticed the items looking old. That's too bad. You'd think that the high-end salad bar concept would really work in LA... At any rate, I hope they make it because I'm glad to have them here, even if it's out of my way (I've actually been to the one in NY more times in the last year!).

                1. re: emily

                  Hello... I tend to believe that the success of places like Joan's on Third, Clementine, Surfas Cafe, Tender Greens and the like, speak to the notion that Angelenos *do* line up for high quality ingredients in salads, sandwiches, baked goods and soups. City Bakery may not be a good comparison to the places I mentioned, for other reasons though. But I have a wild theory: I think City Bakery is ill-served by its implantation into its tony Brentwood(and adjacent) neighborhoods. The well-kept soccer moms and power lunchers that I've seen at the Brentwood Country Mart (where City Bakery apparently languishes) go there for low-brow slumming and noshing on chicken (from Reddi-Chik) and burgers (from Barney's). Folks with 6-figure incomes (or allowances) who are the regulars at the Brentwood Country Mart may be more enamoured by everyday deals on their lunchington, not $20 salads. Commoners (like me) who slip over for a $3 cookie probably can't sustain the rent for high-end nosheries like City Bakery for the long haul. Time will tell...

            2. The "well-kept soccer moms" tend to get their salad bar fix from Whole Foods. I agree that Reddi Chick and Barney's are wildly popular. I think it's because the food is good. The salads at City Bakery not only look awful they taste awful, as well. The few items I have ordered from the menu have also been very disappointing. One of the reasons for the (apparent) failure of CB is the design. It is very cold and looks like a big warehouse. Nothing at all inviting about it. They only time I walk in there now, is to pass through from one patio to the other.