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How to impress a chef with a Westside brunch?

I have a tall--TALL--order for the Chowhounds, but if you all can't do it, no one can. My faith in internet foodies is in your hands.

My good friend's boyfriend has just been hired as a chef at The French Laundry (yes, the one in Napa, owned by Thomas Keller) and they will be driving through Los Angeles to have brunch with me and my boyfriend on Sunday. They are staying in Brentwood and need to have brunch somewhere on the Westside. My dilemma is where to take them. I live on the Eastside and never get to the Westside for brunch (brunch is meant to be crawled to, on most occasions), so I'd love your opinion.

Oh! As a side note: They are both from Monreal and have spent a significant amount of time in Paris, so if you're inclined to make a suggestion that specializes in French food keep that in mind.

Honestly, I would have loved to have taken them to either Little Dom's in Los Feliz or Square One in Hollywood. Is there anything along those lines that you'd recommend?

Thank you so much!

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  1. For me along those lines would be french toasts at 26 Beach, Love the peaches and cream or the lemon ricotta one. make a reservation and request the garden.

    1. I'd go to Huckleberry in SaMo, tho that is mostly focused on the bakery side. It's a great place tho, albeit expensive. Then again, so is Bouchon bakery :p

      1. Brunch is a tough one.

        Maybe 3 Square in Venice?

        Or, take it up a notch and go to Tavern in Brentwood.

        Start with a bloody or two and be sure to order the ricotta pancakes (if they have them) and the brisket hash.

        1. I'd take them to Gjelina in Venice.

          5 Replies
          1. re: mollyomormon

            I would second this, I quite like their brunch. The churros are nummy!

            1. re: mollyomormon

              I'd take them to Gjelina too, and I would recommend the grits with cavolo nero, smoked bacon & poached eggs.

              1. re: budlit

                Head straight to Gjelina. Don't even consider anywhere else.

                1. re: yogachik

                  Get a reservation at Gjelina, if you can. Request the patio and hope for a nice day.

              2. re: mollyomormon

                I've been hearing REALLY positive things about Gjelina. I think Huckleberry would work, too, for someplace more casual, though it will be mobbed on a Sunday.

                PS: Congrats to your friend's boyfriend! French Laundry remains the best high-end meal of my life thus far.

              3. I would take them to FIG at the Fairmont - great location and great SM market fresh menu.

                1 Reply
                1. re: catcaper

                  I would definitely take them to Tavern for Brunch. Suzanne Goin is a legendary chef among chefs and her brunch menu is innovative and delicious.
                  Take a look at the menu

                2. It might be stretching the "westside" definition a bit but you would be certain to wow them with brunch up at Saddle Peak Lodge in the hills of Malibu.

                  Saddle Peak Lodge
                  419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA 91302

                  1. Given that your guest is a chef and is staying in Brentwood, why don't you ask him if he knows of Suzanne Goin. If so, he may really want to try her brunch at Tavern.

                    1. IIRC, when Keller was at Checkers he had this dynamite hot chocolate drink for breakfast. If you could find a place with something like that, he just might be taken back.

                      1. Not exactly Westside, but I would suggest Bazaar. The traffic on Sunday wouldn't be horrible,

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: lizziee

                          Bazaar was going to be my recco as well.

                        2. I think you should take them to eat mexican breakfast or dim sum. I can't think of any place on the westside. But I'm sure they wouldn't mind something other than french toast or chi chi pancakes.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: tissue

                            no good dim sum places, but if you decide to go the mexican breakfast route, the chilaquiles at Pepy's Galley in Mar Vista are the best!

                            1. re: mollyomormon

                              Is this the Pepy's on Venice a block or two east of Centinela? If so, I go by it all the time and had no idea -- thanks for the tip! Anything else you like there?

                              1. re: a_and_w

                                Yes, that's the one. It's adjacent to the Mar Vista bowling alley. I usually go and split an order of the chilaquiles and an order of the machaca with whoever I bring with me, although that's just so I won't eat the entire order of chilaquiles (which would be challenging since it's pretty enormous)! The rest of menu is basically a standard coffee shop menu and there are probably some gems on there, but I've only ever ordered those two things.

                                1. re: a_and_w

                                  They have a great house made salsa (it's the red/tomato based one) that goes great with their breakfasts. I am partial to their grilled polish sausage with eggs over medium and potatoes. But the salsa would taste good with anything, it's that compelling.

                                  Pepy's Galley
                                  12125 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                              2. re: tissue

                                tissue, I like your general idea better than any other. When I worked in restaurants, I always wanted to eat somewhere that didn't remind me of the smell under my fingernails and in my shoe leather. For the OP's Kellerite, I'd choose something deeply Angeleno and would also broaden the idea of breakfast or brunch to other light dishes. Too bad Yuca's and La Casita Mexicana are so far away and that the Westside branches of La Serenata are deficient. mollyomormon has a great suggestion, however: Pepy's Galley.

                                1. re: Harry Nile

                                  Harry, no disrespect to you or Molly, but when the OP lists Little Dom's in Los Feliz or Square One in Hollywood as places they would like to take these guests if they were on the west side, I don't think Pepy's Galley is going to cut it this time around as a venue I would choose.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    I should have been more explicit, Servorg. My message was: Rethink your plans. Most of the places mentioned in this thread will not impress a French Laundry chef from Montreal who hangs out in Paris. Instead, try something unusual (for him) but typical for Los Angeles and satisfying to the tooth and tongue. Who knows, when he works up the nerve to discuss the experience with his new boss, we might see Keller in there devouring that salsa after bowling a few games! ;-)

                              3. I would go to Monte Alban for sure. As great as Gjelina is he has seen that before...but Oaxacan lunch and brunch in LA is a treat and MA does a great job.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Ciao Bob

                                  I love Monte Alban but I do think the chilaquiles at Pepy's are so much better.

                                  1. re: mollyomormon

                                    Never tried them, I will soon, thanks.
                                    As for taking the chef, tho' it really looks like a one-dish place, other than greasy spoon breakfast items that are a dime-a-dozen. Monte Alban has a wide range of unique and yummy items for breakfast and lunch.

                                    1. re: mollyomormon

                                      The OP stated pretty clearly that they were looking for something a bit French:
                                      "Oh! As a side note: They are both from Monreal and have spent a significant amount of time in Paris, so if you're inclined to make a suggestion that specializes in French food keep that in mind."

                                      1. re: maudies5

                                        I read that as "make a French recommendation at your own peril as they have very high standards in that area."

                                          1. re: mollyomormon

                                            They can always go to Bouchon or Bar Bouchon! Trust me once he is in Yountville, he won't have much time off and it might be interesting to see a Keller operation from the other side.

                                            See here:

                                            1. re: mollyomormon

                                              Me, too, but on the outside chance the OP does want some French recs, they could do far worse than Anisette for brunch.

                                    2. I would do a short drive and take them to Loteria in the
                                      farmers Market. Mexican food is always a WOW for people from Canada. The rest of the Farm ers Market and the Grove might be of some interest.

                                      1. Instead of second-guessing the visitor, I'd ask him first. You might be surprised.

                                        Many years ago, I was going to have a business lunch with an American who was back in the country after several years. He (well, his employer) was paying, so I left the destination up to him. I was anticipating something, as they say hereabouts, "yummy."

                                        His choice, after his long sojurn in London: we went to McDonald's. (I did say this was a long time ago).

                                        But he did pay.

                                        A lot of chefs on down time aren't looking to be impressed; they're looking for good food.or an interesting experience. Not necessarily the same thing -- Loteria, Phillippe's, or something might be just the ticket.

                                        On the other hand, maybe he does want to go all upscale. But at least you'd know in advance.


                                        1. Gjelina! OR Joe's in Venice (he has one star from Michelin)-request a seat on the patio at either location.

                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                              Hi Ciao Bob (and all Chowhounds)! Thank you all for your recommendations, which I intend to keep in mind--because they really all sounded fantastic--and which I have since forwarded on to my friends on the west side of town.

                                              As for my guests? They canceled :(. Turns out that, as much as we all wanted to see each other, the dip down to LA from Montreal didn't make sense. Hopefully they'll get down for a visit soon and I'll be able to show off with some of your suggestions!