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Brunch this Sunday Westside -- Joe's?

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Two valued family friends are staying in Century City and want to join me for lunch this Sunday. They want something fairly traditional and definitely L.A. -- nixed me when I suggested fantastic dim sum. Unfortunately Spago doesn't offer Sunday brunch -- they'd like the atmosphere and star factor.

I'm thinking Joe's. I made a tentative reservation and requested the patio. (They don't permit smoking out there, do they?) I've read the positive reviews here and their online menu looks fine (at those prices I'll even grab the check). It is a bit of a drive from Century City but it should be an easy shot around noon on Sunday or I could grab the freeway at Overland.

I think I have it nailed but I'm open to other suggestions. I've met my dad at the Peninsula years ago and the uber-expensive hotels don't do it for me, so the Bel Air or seaside places don't appeal. I love the main room at Campanile but they aren't open. Jar takes us in the wrong direction, isn't outside, and I think is more expensive. Cafe Del Rey is further and more pricey. I thought of Anisette but aside from the pastries their brunch food has mixed reviews. (Though maybe I'll stop and Amandine beforehand and pick up some croissant and other goodies to feed them during the drive.)

This couple is in their seventies. Sushi, scene, noise, and drinks are not the point. A view or the water or an even more impressive garden (Michael's?) would be nice but I certainly don't need a tourist scene like The Lobster, I don't want to drive up or down the coast, and those of you who recognize my moniker know my favorite breakfast place is S & W. (Culver City???)

Any other ideas or reassurances are welcome and eagerly awaited.

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  1. One good and close choice would be Chaya Brasserie: http://www.thechaya.com/

    Also Literati 2 on Wilshire is a possibility. What about Sunday brunch at the Getty?

    1. I like Joe's for brunch and lunch, more than for dinner actually. The suggestion for the Getty is also a good. The food is very good, and the view is spectacular.

      1. Love brunch at Joe's. We went for Mother's Day brunch a couple years ago:


        Also, what about the restaurant at Shutters?

        1. Less expensive, but a definite so cal vibe: Omelette Parlor on Main street. Nice outside too, Rose Cafe, Hals if fun too!

          1 Reply
          1. re: scambi

            i disagree with the omlette parlor recommendation.

          2. Thanks for the suggestions so far. I knew that many 'hounds have had good experiences at Joe's for brunch. I'm still concerned whether they permit smoking on their patio (hope not) and wonder whether they offer more than the six or eight choices on the online menu. Is Hal's as nice?

            I'd love to try The Restaurant at the Getty, but I worry that the parking structure, the tram, and the walk might be a bit much. The view and the grounds are indeed spectacular, so I'll have to ask if they've ever been. One problem -- I can't find an online menu anywhere. Does anyone have an idea of specialties and prices?

            I'm not a fan of Literati 2 -- every time I've been there I feel overcharged, their patio is too cramped and close to traffic, and I always wish I were at Nook (which is closed on Sunday). I like Rose Cafe, but it is a little hippie-dippy for this couple and I don't remember them taking reservations. Shutters and the other beach hotels are indeed gorgeous but the food is usually not the point and quite expensive, not to mention the parking.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nosh

              nosh, have you been to Chaya Brasserie for brunch before? I think for a "mature" ladies lunch it would be an excellent fit.

            2. So I did end up at Joe's this morning just after noon. The couple I was hosting and I had a pretty good experience. We were greeted and seated by Elizabeth, the hostess with whom I had made my reservation on Friday. We were escorted to a nice table on the "patio" which was actually a room filled with tables and covered with a heavy fabric overhead, not really outside on a gorgeous Sunday. We were served stacks of two kinds of bread, a caky white soft bread and a banana nut, both lightly toasted, with ramekins of sweet butter and preserves. Our waiter, a tall slim youngish guy, definitely appeared to me to lose some enthusiasm when we turned down morning cocktails, wine, or bottled water in favor of tap. Our busboy, however, was extremely helpful and quick to handle requests. My guests started with the fruit plates, which appeared miniscule -- about three thin slices of small chunks of melon, a couple of grapes, a shmear of yogurt sauce. I ordered the chilled tomato-cream soup, which was ok, and benefited greatly from some hefty grinds of pepper from the mill on the table -- a bit mellow for a chilled soup, might have worked better warm. For mains, we all went with standard breakfast items. Two of us got the pancakes -- three very thick but somewhat small discs, nicely cooked, nicely flavored, served with pats of cold butter on each pancake with a silver gravy boat of warm syrup for the table. Both of our egg dishes were nicely scrambled, not hard, a rather small serving. The three strips of bacon were thick, crisp, and very tasty. My other guest's french toast was thickly cut and she said she enjoyed it, and couldn't quite finish the portion. Parking was easy and very reasonable ($1.50) in the validated valet lot in the back. All in all a very pleasant experience -- time to talk, unhurried, good tasty filling food at a reasonable fare. They were good at keeping my guests' coffee filled, not so good with my water. Cost: barely over $50 for three including coffee, tax, and 18% tip.

              2 Replies
              1. re: nosh

                Your experience is what it should have been for a restaurant that does not do brunch or breakfast as its focus meal, a la the Griddle.
                Sufficient selection for entrees, yet these are only served on the weekend, so the items that do not sell must be saved or thrown out after Sunday, so no one wants to focus on a huge menu, when most customers have a certain set of parameters they are expecting when going to brunch in that situation.
                Glad you enjoyed Joe's. I am not a breakfast/brunch person, but lunch and dinner have always been good over the years, and the setting is really nice and local.

                1. re: carter

                  Interesting observation, carter. If my guests didn't immediately opt for the breakfast dishes, I had my eye on the salmon and wasabi mashed potatoes with an interesting peppercorn sauce. I was going with the flow of their choices, but that might have been a more interesting sample from the kitchen. I also think I was let down by the lack of open air and a real garden/patio setting -- after I parked the car in the lot in the rear I walked back through what I guess is the garden for Lulu's or another restaurant next door to the south, so the dining room, while nice, suffered in comparison. I will keep Joe's in mind for the future, maybe for dinner, and while researching menus online I'm also quite intrigued by the extensive choices at Hal's.