Berkeley - 900 Grayson
One of the best of many good things at this new breakfast/lunch café was the brownie which was very moist and rich, tasting like it might have cream cheese or sour cream in it.
The muffin with whole fresh Bing cherries on top was similarly moist with a nice light texture. A baker from Emeryville makes the tasty coffee cake with a bottom layer of cinnamon and sugar and the buttery caked topped with brown sugar streusel.
They are perfect matches for the deep, rich coffee.
Here are a few other dishes I tried.
Grayson burger Angus beef, Nueskes bacon, NY white cheddar, crispy shoestring onions, house-made BBQ sauce & herb French fries.
The burger was one of my favorite fast food sandwiches upgraded and classed up. That would be the BK Western cheeseburger. Who know onion rings, BBQ sauce, cheese and burger could get even better.
A tangle of onion rings topped two slices of bacon and the burger. They didnt ask about the burger and it came cooked through with no pink. However, it was juicy and not dry.
The mild BBQ sauce, which wasnt over-applied, moistened the bun and burger. It contributed to the overall burger rather than calling attention to itself.
The bacon was the star of the sandwich wonderful stuff, meaty and smoky. Highly recommend the bacon. Heres the link to more info.
The fries were skin-on McDonalds cut and sprinkled with chopped chives, parsley and tarragon. The herbs change daily. The tarragon gave them a nice note.
Korean Soju Want Me? Ginger syrup, lime juice and fresh muddled mint. The lime/mint was the dominant flavor for this refreshing sweet/tart drink. I really didnt detect the ginger. This would even be a pleasant drink without the alcohol.
Tom Boy described on the menu as poached egg, potato-apple-celery root & corned beef hash, Acme pan de mie, spring fruit confiture
Im taking tat description from the web site. Reading it doesnt sound the same as what I got. The spring fruit confiture was a strawberry cut in half. Two poached eggs sat on top of a diced corned beef hash tiny, tiny cubes which I would have guessed was a 50/50 mix of potato and corned beef. There seemed to be nice notes of sweet onion. It was good, but Im more of the corned beef as one with the potato type heavy on the corned beef. I would swear that was not pan de mie, but perhaps Levain toast but Acme is Acme, so it was good.
I have to admit it was early and Im not at my best before noon. So the menu might have been different from what the website says. They change the ingredients based on availability.
Aqua Fresca was ok if a little Americanized. I like Jamaica a bit more intensely flavored.
A nice two-inch long Tootsie Roll came with the check.
It seems to accommodate the area with lots of offices near by. The front counter has sandwiches ready to go and a few baked goods.
Draft beers are Drakes I.P.A and Trumer Pils the outdoor patio umbrellas sport the Trumer Pils name.
Based on my drink which had an interesting mix of ingredients, I think on my next visit Id go beyond the safe menu items burgers and hash and try some of the more adventurous and interesting items.
This is a vegan friendly restaurant and the soup of the day always seems to be vegan.
They had planned to be a lunch/dinner restaurant rather than breakfast/lunch. However, zoning laws required them to keep the hours of the former Travlin Joes/ Home Café. They are applying for a permit to open later, but seem to think it will be a long process.
I dont know. Given that neighborhood which isnt the most residential, the initial early hours may have been a good thing for this restaurant. The neighborhood certainly seems to have embraced them. At lunch the restaurant was almost full. Between 8 9 am, a time where many restaurants are dead on a Saturday, the place was half full and filling up.
You have to love the staff who are really into making the customer feel very welcome. On Saturday they offered a newspaper while I was waiting for breakfast. They are a young group totally focused on the food. Eves-dropping, it was fun to hear how excited they were that they were already cultivating regulars after only being open a few weeks.
This link below to a blog has some pictures of the interior which Id call arty, stylish Crate and Barrel. The chairs and dishes seemed similar to something that would be in that store. The plates are huge, white and square. The salad, I think, came in huge scooped white bowls.
Theres a nice little three seat bar and one window has bar seats and a counter. The bar has a crystal chandelier and an interesting painting of a nude. Out back there is a pleasant little patio.
900 Grayson (on the corner of 7th, about a block from Ashby
)Berkeley, CA 94701
Mon Sat: 8am-3pm
Scrolling down on the blog link below, the comment on the food says
"Want to spend $8.00 on food-as-art? Treat yourself to 900 GRAYSON'S "Ocean View 1853," a Tombo Tuna Confit, with Roast Peppers, Cannelini Beans, Lemon Braised Fennel, Smoked Spanish Pimenton, Fleur de Sel & Chive Oil. Eat it slowly, carefully mixing the flavors--they are many and varied. As a compliment, Chris recommends the Alma Rosa Pinot Gris--I agree, look for the mid-taste smoke."
More in link
rworange, we were there Saturday a little after 8. They were pretty disorganized at that hour, really took a while to get served considering how few customers were there. I can sympathize somewhat, but if they are going to be open early, they should be ready to serve. But the dark roast coffee is really good, so it was a nice wait on a sunny patio. Downside of the patio is street noise since 7th runs right by the restaurant. Much quieter inside and with the doors open front and back, still very fresh.
The menu on the website is the weekday menu. On Saturday it is a combo breakfast/lunch menu and many breakfast items are left out. The "notes of sweet onion" are probably the celery root, which cut up, look like diced cubes of potato.
Still haven't tried any items off the lunch part of the menu.
The couple who wanted the table with a little shade and a little sun? Quite honestly I am so bad at faces that if I saw you IN the same restaurant (not out of context) I wouldn't remember. Been to a few chowdowns and I still scramble for names to match faces that I've shared a few dinners with ... yeah, that even means you Ruth and Derek ... I'd walk past you folks on the street without recognizing you.
Anyway, it is so new that I was forgiving about the little disorganization. As I said, even I was surprised there was ANYONE there at 8 am on a Saturday. Even Betty's is only just starting to pick up steam at that hour ... never mind a new, realtively unknown place.
I'm also careful about opening and closing hours of new places. It seems 900 Grayson started out opening at 7 am ... even I wouldn't make it there at that hour.
Anyway thanks for the rec. I really enjoyed it. It was the reason I checked it out. I'm seriously thinking of going there for lunch on 6-6-6 and trying the demon lover.
Ever tried Tomate? If you have comments there's a post on the board today where you can give a thumbs up or down.