Sunday Brunch at Jar (the Anti-Crazy Fish)
- David Kahn Sep 2, 2007 12:33 PM
Just came back from an absolutely delicious brunch at Jar, which seriously serves up one of the best breakfasts in town. Arrived just as they opened at 10 a.m., and were seated at a comfortable table with linen table cloths. The place is cool, with walnut paneling and rat pack music playing softly. While looking over the menu, they bring out a polished hardwood bread board with a big wedge of warm, fresh sticky bun with walnuts and caramel, soft on the inside and crisp on the outside, and not too sweet. (I wish every meal began this way.)
After the sticky bun amuse, we started with fresh grapefruit juice and coffee. I ordered the roast beef hash, made with torn shreds/chunks of their signature pot roast, peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, and a couple of scrambled eggs, all fried up together and served with coffee gravy. This is, I think, my favorite breakfast hash around. The quality of the ingredients is outstanding, and the flavors work perfectly together. Also, it has the right balance, for me at least, of eggs to potatoes to meat to other stuff. Really top notch. The only shortcoming is that it doesn't come with toast, so you need to add a side order of that (or an English muffin) if you want something to sop up the extra gravy. Also, the portion is massive, easily enough for two meals.
The Missus ordered their fresh corn pancakes, which are outstanding. Crisp on the edges, with a sweet, moist interior punctuated with pieces of fresh sweet corn. Outside of Polly's Pancake House in New Hampshire, these are the best corn pancakes I've had anywhere. (Served with real maple syrup.) Service throughout was impeccable. Friendly, informed and helpful. All-in-all, a really excellent, relaxing, delicious Sunday breakfast.
So, here's the thing I don't get. Jar has one of the best breakfasts around yet from 10 am when we arrived, until 11:45 when we left, there were perhaps a total of four or five parties having brunch. Meanwhile, down the street in pretty much any direction (e.g., Toast, King's Road Cafe, Doughboys, etc., people are waiting in line to have food that isn't as good in a setting that isn't as nice, served indifferently, and at prices that are only slightly lower. You know how every time you drive by Crazy Fish on Olympic there's a line out the door even though the food isn't really very good? Well, as far as I can tell, brunch at Jar is like the bizarro version of that.
(Location linked below, and here's their brunch menu: http://thejar.com/jar_menu_br.html .)
8225 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048
I've heard that the brunch at Jar is excellent -- from Suzanne Tracht herself! We don't live on that side of town or we would try it. After your review, it sounds worth the drive! Those other places, Toast, King's Road, and Doughboys, have lousy food but I am convinced that their mostly very young clientele does not know any better. The folks that go to those places like the "scene" and everyone I know who likes those places do not know food.
Actually, I think the difference in patronage does have something to do with the prices.
At least for Doughboys, I think Jar is probably a good 25-35% more expensive. For some (maybe most) folks, that makes a big difference and in their minds is probably more than just "slightly lower".
I didn't know Jar did Sunday Brunch, and I suppose that the lack of a line when compared to the other 3rd/Beverly offerings indicate that others don't know about it either.
With regards to the difference in restaurant quality, it's clear that Jar is going for a certain level of finesse that the others are not. No one ever claimed that Jar *wasn't* a good restaurant; it's just that sometimes you're not looking for finesse -- sometimes you just a want a big-ass breakfast burrito.
re: David Kahn
Thanks for the great post David Kahn. Dinner at JAR is fabulous too! The sauces and sides for the steaks are delicious. Last time I was there, Billy Dee Williams was at the bar. Billy Dee Billy Dee! I want to try the new Susan Tracht place in Long Beach. I also don't know why people wait for places like Doughboys or Toast on a Sunday. Similar thing baffles me when people wait at Overland Cafe for Sunday brunch. . . nasty. I'd rather wait at the drive thru at Burger King for a croissanwich. :)