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Nick's Cafe ... best hash browns ever.

The title pretty much sums up my love of Nick's Cafe's hash browns.

It's shredded to a vermicelli-like size, then griddle fried to a crisp with no hint of grease, and then piled on your plate in a nice big round mound that reminds you of those old Chinese-American Cantonese chow mein dishes that came on a bed of crispy fried noodles.

Topped with some of their housemade salsa and I could eat this three times a day, everyday for the rest of my life. Heck, I'd be happy if you buried me in it as well.

While I didn't order it, my companion tried the corned beef hash raved about it. Said it was just like grandmama made it, which I took to be a compliment of the highest order. Had to try a bite and you could tell how it was made from fresh not canned corned beef because it was not mealy or mushy. I'm certainly not a corned beef has connoisseur, but this was definitely good stuff.

I've got to go during a Sunday when they offer specials like Eggs Benedict ...

Also brought home some of their housemade jalapeno ketchup.

www.nickscafela.com

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  1. No longer owned by Pepper, The LAPD Detective, she still owns the building, Rod has bought it and made the food better and consistent. The salsa is still great and when I buy some to take home it is always the same now. The biscuits and gravy is great, their skillet dishes a wonderful and I can not wait to try a hot dog, the grill them, yummy! There are some new additions to the menu and the are open on sunday, praise jesus!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Burger Boy

      Interesting....was her life partner's name Salt?
      (Get it?)

    2. Jalapeno ketchup, wait, where the F was that, I never saw that! Who are you, Ipse, to get special treatment at Nick's, I been going for 15 years!

      5 Replies
      1. re: Burger Boy

        Dunno. My first time ever going. They had it. Tried it. Loved it. Got some.

        Apparently, they also do BBQ on the weekends. Ever been to those?

        1. re: ipsedixit

          They used to have BBQ for lunches on Tuesday and Thursdays. They pre-bbq'd stuff like ribs in the morning and served it for lunch starting at 10:30am. Wasn't bad for the price. It wasn't slow smoked bbq, but "grilled" over charcoal briquets. Who knows maybe it's changed.

          They used to be only open until 11:30am on Saturdays and closed Sundays.

          Interesting you thought the hash potatoes were the best ever because I don't ever remember them making any impression on me....only the ham, salsa and Denver omelette.

          1. re: monku

            it is a new guy cooking, the guy Rod, who bought it cooks and oversees things like a hawk, very good quality, an improvement Really is better IMHO!

            1. re: Burger Boy

              When did the change of ownership take place?
              Seems like only a couple months ago on a Sunday morning I drove by and looked like it always looks....like it was boarded up and condemned.

              1. re: monku

                It has been a few months, maybe 6. I saw Rod around Christmas time, I think, it was a slow transfer of bacon fat. Try the biscuits & gravy, everything is more consistent. New menu stuff, eggs benedict, their chorizo skillet is great. the ham is as good as ever. They are making muffins and all kind of little changes, it is very tasty! I am dying to try their hot dogs.

      2. I used to go there a lot, but it's been about a year since my last visit. I need to go soon. It's very close to my work downtown.

        1. How do they compare to the classic LA hash browns of Russell's and Pie 'n Burger, both of which I'd describe as "creamy" in texture with crisp around the outside (when fried properly)?

          -----
          Pie 'n Burger
          913 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106

          2 Replies
          1. re: hnsbmg

            It is much much better than Pie N Burger (and I like their hash browns, alot).

            Never been to Russell's.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              That, I have to try! Thanks for the recommendation.

          2. Whoa, Nick's is open on Sundays now? Are they open on Saturdays too? I haven't been in ages due to the work-week issues in getting there.

            21 Replies
            1. re: pronek

              Yup, they sure are. Open 7 days now.

              I've got to get there on a weekend day myself ...

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Any idea what their hours are?
                  Didn't see anything on the website.

                  1. re: monku

                    Open at 5:30 M-F and open at 6:30 on weekends and close at 1:30 or 2:30 on sat & sunday. Give a call and check 323-222-1450

                      1. re: Burger Boy

                        Thanks.
                        Surprised the website didn't have the hours.

                        1. re: monku

                          The guy is working hard, doing so many things, I am sure it just slipped by. The outside dining area is so inviting. He has made it such a more cozy place and you know they are open from a couple of blocks away. No more, gosh that place looks closed or maybe out of business. Keep it up Rod!

                          1. re: monku

                            I'm also surprised the site didn't have their hours but wouldn't be surprised if you merely had trouble finding them. That's one of my biggest Web site aggravations -- restaurants that hide their hours under "Contact Us" or "Location," etc. In this case, however, they're not anywhere -- not even on the "Nutrition" page. ;-) A Google site search for "hours" found nothing, so we have to look elsewhere. The Google Maps place page gives a slightly different report from Burger Boy's:

                            Mon 5:30am – 2pm
                            Tue 5:30am – 2pm
                            Wed 5:30am – 2pm
                            Thu 5:30am – 2pm
                            Fri 5:30am – 2pm
                            Sat 6:30am – 2pm
                            Sun 6:30am – 2pm

                            EDIT: Considering Servorg's warning below, take these with a double grain of salt, since they aren't even the sometimes-suspect hours posted on a restaurant Web site. They're from another source, as indicated.

                            1. re: hnsbmg

                              I've often found posted website hours about as useful as teats on a boar hog....so hide them or don't post them at all if you aren't going to live up to them (or bother to update them when they change).

                              1. re: Servorg

                                They live up to their hours. This new owner Rod is working hard and it is showing. I would not be surprised if he started some dinner service down the road.

                                1. re: Burger Boy

                                  I'd be surprised if there was ever dinner served there. Who goes down in that area, not even the bums.

                                  1. re: monku

                                    If ipsedixit is right about those hash browns, I'd go for dinner -- as long as they have the Red O doormen outside to watch your car.

                                    1. re: monku

                                      I would stop in for dinner if its worth stopping for.
                                      I drive by there all the time on my way to downtown eateries.

                                      I use to frequent pre popo and after they bought it out.

                                      I'll stop in to see the new changes.

                              2. re: Burger Boy

                                Curious why all the breakfast pics on their facebook page show big chunky homefries, not the acclaimed vermicelli-like hash browns ipsedixit describes above? Safe to assume they offer a choice of both?

                                1. re: wutzizname

                                  Ask them for hash and not home potatoes.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    Hash browns are standard...substitute cottage fries, cottage cheese, fruit or grits add 50 cents.

                              3. re: monku

                                According to Yelp, these are their hours:

                                Mon-Sat 6 am - 2 pm
                                Sun 6:30 am - 2 pm

                                I have to try this place! I live downtown and I've never heard of it before.

                                1. re: aching

                                  I just wish it was more accessible by the DASH, although Route B gets you pretty close.

                                  1. re: aching

                                    You do realize that Yelp members, are the people who list the hours?

                                    So there are always errors and/or outdated information.

                                    1. re: reality check

                                      Confirm the hours from hnsbmg post...Their menu lists the same.
                                      M-F 5:30am-2:00pm
                                      Sat/Sun 6:30am-2:00pm

                            2. I can't rave enough about their corned beef hash. It's definitely home-made, with a subtle extra kick from caraway seeds. Probably the best I've tried, with the possible exception of Harris Ranch's (which is also awesome, but in a completely different way)

                              Also, I don't know if it's home-made or just from a better supplier than your average SYSCO truck, but there's also something special going on with their cottage cheese (a substitute option for anyone opting out of the potatoes). It's not the usual white ball of tasteless squeakiness, but somehow softer and richer and much more satisfying.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bradbury

                                Vienna beef, corned beef is only $6 a pound, so he could be using quality stuff. Maybe he is using R&C who supplies Langer's. The home fries are great but next time I will try the hash browns.

                              2. I got the e-mail this morning featuring Nick's Cafe, and hurried down for some breakfast. I got Eggs & Sausage, with Hash Browns. The Eggs & Sausage were good. The hash browns are delicious. I'll be back to try the corned beef hash next time.

                                2 Replies
                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    I think he's referring to the Chow Los Angeles Digest, which is e-mailed to subscribers every Tuesday or Wednesday. IIRC, Thi N. is the editor There's a copy of the headline story here:

                                    http://www.chow.com/digest/los-angeles/

                                1. The description of Nick's new hash browns sounds like heaven! They'll be great with my all-time fave Nick's breakfast: ham (the BEST!!!!) & eggs. From the sounds of it, there are several new goodies on the menu, just waiting to be sampled...and on Sundays, too!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: munchette

                                    I did my revisit and it's been quite a while since I stepped foot through that side door maybe ten years ?
                                    The place looks the same after the Police bought it out and added their tchotchkes.

                                    I was suddenly reminded why I stop going when I saw the plaque for Lois the waitress who passed away.
                                    She was such a nice lady who knew your name and was great to chat with. It wasn't the same place to me after she was gone.

                                    I ordered my usual of ham and eggs.
                                    In a nut shell (pistachio) nothing has changed. The salsa which was the catalyst of their breakfast tastes the same. As for the hash browns mine were ok, not perfect but I was there late in the morning which could account for them not being up to par. More like two over par. Not to say they wouldn't or couldn't score a eagle / birdie on a different day.

                                    The hash browns were a little soggy inside and a little burnt on the edges. The burnt edges was not bad enough to send them back but enough where that char taste would linger in a bite. Also my ham had a bit of char on it too so perhaps the griddle temp got a little hot. It was nothing unforgivable but I think if you want experience them at their best try getting there in the first part of the morning.

                                    If I had the integrity of Exilekiss I would visit two more times.

                                    Unfortunately now that I'm getting older my body doesn't metabolize that kind of breakfast like it use to (smile) so that's it from memory lane.

                                  2. After a shopping trip to LAX-C decided a trip to Nick's Cafe was in order.

                                    Ordered the Nick's Famous ham N eggs and it was as good as ever. I liked that you could get a toasted "everything" bagel which I'm pretty sure was from Brooklyn Bagel.

                                    SO had the corned beef hash which was good but highly seasoned, probably from grinding the corned beef and all the seasonings it came with.

                                    I ordered the hash browns well done so they'd be crispy, but they were far from the "best hash browns ever". After close inspection as the post said they looked like vermicelli because they were processed potatoes that were extruded from a machine and dehydrated, they were too perfect looking. They're probably reconstituted with water, they definitely weren't shredded after close inspection.

                                    For $1.50 you can add their Signature Split Pea Soup to your meal. It had some cubes of ham and other vegetables in it. It had a some off taste to it which didn't taste good like it was beginning to spoil. I'll give it try another time to be fair.

                                    Looks like some interesting things going on. Today tri-tip was the lunch special.
                                    Free coffee with your meal on Saturday's and Sunday's. Hand-packed sirloin beef burgers. $5.95 breakfast burritos coming out looked huge. Looks like three kinds of eggs Benedict on Saturdays and Sundays.

                                    Said hello to Rod the owner....he was busy working the counter, working in the ktichen and taking applications for new waitresses.

                                    20% OFF
                                    Law Enforcement Mondays
                                    Firemen Tuesdays
                                    DWP Wednesdays

                                     
                                     
                                     
                                     
                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: monku

                                      Did they say anything about what the BBQ was going to be this weekend?

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Didn't see anything about a BBQ this weekend. Remember what I said they do "grillin" not "smokin" the last time I had it years ago.

                                        Give them a call.
                                        323-222-1450

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          Went today and asked Rod about BBQ on weekends and he said not on weekends, only BBQ tri-tip on Wednesdays.
                                          Went to try the roast beef but it wasn't ready. Had the hamburger, but it wasn't a hand formed patty, but tasted like the Costco sirloin burgers. Hand cut fries resembled the fries you get at In-N-Out, not crispy because they aren't blanched first. Friend had the waffle and they have a fresh strawberry syrup they make to go with it.

                                          1. re: monku

                                            Nick/s has always been about the PORK, the ham in particular. Get the denver or ham & eggs, use the salsa liberally. I enjoy the home fries but will try the hash browns next time. Recently they have been doing biscuits & gravy everyday of the week, very, very good! Not sure why you would get a burger there. The skillets are looking good and the eggs benedicts. Enjoy this gem of old L.A.

                                            1. re: Burger Boy

                                              What do you rec for someone that doesn't like eggs besides biscuits & gravy? Ham and............?

                                              1. re: sel

                                                Ham & Biscuits...LOL I do not know. Maybe some pancakes and ham? Sorry I am not more help!

                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                    Pancakes and Belgian style waffles.
                                                    Think I also saw a strawberry shortcake dessert made with their biscuits.

                                                1. re: sel

                                                  sel,

                                                  Waffles looked very good.

                                                2. re: Burger Boy

                                                  Went for the roast beef but wasn't ready... Menu said hand-packed sirloin burger... Was a sirloin buyer but not hand packed. Day before three cops out of six next to me ordered burgers, why not try it?

                                                  1. re: monku

                                                    Maybe the hand-packed are reserved for cops.

                                                    Civies get what you described as "Costco sirloin burger" patties.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      I saw someone get a hand packed yesterday and it did not look like Costco to me. I have not had it but I did try the hash browns and they were good, did not seem like frozen to me but I am not hash brown boy! LOL

                                          2. I love this place. Excellent hash browns, corned beef hash, ham and eggs, biscuits and gravy and that salsa! We went before a Dodger game and I cant think of a better combination than Nick's Corned Beef Hash, a day game at Chavez Ravine and beer.

                                            1. CORRECTION... Noticed a shredder in the kitchen and Rod said they freshly shred the hash browns everyday and grind their own meat for burgers and the corned beef hash. For some reason everytime I ask for well done hash browns they come out kind of greasy and not crispy brown.

                                              Today's lunch special was St. Louis ribs and potatoe salad $8.95.

                                              11 Replies
                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    I was there early in the week and had my hash browns well done and they were great! Still like the home fries better but that is me. Had the ham & egg special with some biscuits and gravy! Yummy, might have to go again next monday.

                                                    1. re: Burger Boy

                                                      The three of us should meet up sometime at Nick's.

                                                      We could have our own throwdown.

                                                      Monku and I can sort out our debate about "pre-cooked" and "pre-made" dim sum face-to-face and Burger Boy and I can settle the issue of home fries versus hash browns ...

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        I get hash browns confused with home fries too. At one time The Pantry was known for the best bash browns (30 years ago).

                                                        1. re: monku

                                                          Then there are cottage fries?

                                                          1. re: monku

                                                            ... and lets not forget "American fries".

                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                              What are American fries? As far as I know home fries and cottage fries are the same. They do hash browns at The Pantry, I am so used to the skillet potatoes they make, sort of chunks smashed potatoes. Oh dear lord what can of worms has Ipse opened now! Just go to 26 Beach and try their corned beef sandwich on a burgers, just had it yesterday, corned beef, coleslaw, swiss & Russian dressing on a burgers. Forget about these salty street pastrami burgers, this is a sophisticated thing! How do you like my hijacking?

                                                              -----
                                                              26 Beach
                                                              3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

                                                              1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                Cottage fries are more like very thick potato chips. And they're not usually served with breakfast, more of an alternative to regular french fries. As far as I know, anyway.

                                                                1. re: wutzizname

                                                                  My bad, thank you. So the thick cubed potatoes with onions and peppers are home fries? or breakfast potatoes? Thanks

                                                                  1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                    Home fries are the breakfast potatoes. It's the dish that looks like potatoes au gratin, minus the au gratin.

                                                                    Thick cubed potatoes with onions and peppers are usually labeled as potatoes o'brien.

                                                1. Hit up Nick's Cafe today to check out their "Slow-Cooked Roast Beef" Friday Special. ($9.95)

                                                  Was going to order it a couple weeks ago, but it wasn't ready...the owner Rod bragged about it. Today I asked Melanie the waitress and she said it's fantastic and points to a guy on the far counter who was eating it.

                                                  Huge disappointment when the plate arrived....it was two pieces of pot roast on toast. I hate pot roast.with a passion. Melanie asked me what I thought and I told her it wasn't roast beef, that it was pot roast. She didn't know what to say and I'm sure Rod heard me tell her.

                                                  On the chalkboard menu it said "slow cooked beef" on the counter placard it says "Slow-Cooked Roast Beef".

                                                  I don't know how good business is there. Went last Thursday at 11am and there were only 3 of us eating. Today went at 1:00 and there were only 7 of us eating. Every other time I've been it doesn't seem as busy as the days prior to Rod owning it. Today I got bits of a conversation Rod was having with a customer about not having the business there used to be.

                                                   
                                                  32 Replies
                                                  1. re: monku

                                                    I hate to disagree with you Monku but I have been there many times on Saturday & Sunday and it is very busy. I have even gone on a Monday & Tuesday and they seem to be doing just great. I can not comment on the specials or the roast beef and I understand what you say. The food has been better and more consistent since Rod has taken over! The portions are very generous, there are more items, the biscuits and gravy is every day and not just wednesday. The salsa tastes the same all the time, I think the salsa used to be a hair hotter but it is still great! You should see how busy the weekends are, Rod has added that great outdoor seating and made the place more visable. Used to be, even on saturdays, you were not sure if they were open when you drove by. Back of Monku, or it is you and me at Alameda & Vignes at High Noon, just joking. Not a lot of places I will go to bat for with a passion but I have been going there since about 1988 or so and I love what it has become today! Have a great weekend Chowdawg!

                                                    1. re: Burger Boy

                                                      I'm calling it as I see it when it comes to the amount of business I've observed there.
                                                      I was there on a Saturday a few weeks ago at 10am and there were only 6 of us at the counter. Ive been there in the pre-Rod days and you couldn't find a seat. I've been there half a dozen times since this post originated and you know I haven't seen one uniform LAPD or Sheriffs Dept. officer eating there.

                                                      Other day I went to The Pantry for ham and eggs and it was a thicker and tender piece of ham for only a dollar more than at Nick's. No one does grilled sourdough toast like The Pantry. The house made salsa is just as good.

                                                      1. re: monku

                                                        Love the grilled sourdough at The Pantry and there salsa is good, I do like Nick's better!

                                                      2. re: Burger Boy

                                                        I'm still pissed --trying to pass off pot roast as "roast beef". Huge disappointment.
                                                        Talk to your pal Rod about that one.

                                                        1. re: monku

                                                          I am sure they were not trying to put one over on you! They are not that type of people. I would guess the intent was slow cook roasted beef, not what you or i might consider roast beef from a clod sliced thin and piled high on a sandwich. I have also seen what I see as far as people. I think the reason there are less police, dwp etc is now there are specific days they get a discount, it used to be everyday, remember Pepper the previous owner was a LAPD Homicide Detective! I do like Nick's ham better than The Pantry, The Pantry ham seems a little watery, Nick's makes their own ham, the have for over 50 years.

                                                          1. re: monku

                                                            PS Rod is not a friend, I have been going there since Pepper took over and Loise was the waitress (RIP). You should ask Rod about the Roast Beef thing, I am sure he did not try to do anything dishonest.

                                                            1. re: Burger Boy

                                                              Maybe I'm at fault, the day it wasn't ready and I wanted to order it I asked Rod if I could get it medium rare and I didn't get a direct answer and now I know why. Sure guess you can call pot roast "slow cooked beef", but don't call it "roast beef".

                                                              I've had the ham and eggs three times since this post started and agree it's the same as "pre-Rod". Go and have it at The Pantry. I had to take home 1/3 of the ham and a huge slice of sourdough toast(they gave me 3 slices), because I couldn't finish it. Thats the half ham steak and eggs. There is no "grease" factor there as some will lead you to believe.

                                                              1. re: monku

                                                                RE: The Pantry.

                                                                I have to disagree with you on the ham. It is quite greasy, sometimes overly so. It is a generous cut of meat, however, but sometimes the oil makes it too much to eat at one sitting and as you say you end up taking it home (which is not necessarily a good thing because cold, leftover greasy ham is not very appetizing).

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  I find the ham at The Pantry a little watery, like it is ham you buy that has injected water & juices, not that that is bad but for me when I get ham, I like it real, does that make sense. Yes on occasion I have had ham & eggs at Nicks and sometimes it is dry. I usually get an omelette or skillet at Nick's. Then I BURY it with SALSA..............LOL

                                                                  1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                    Pantry ham is not watery. Unfortunately it comes in a box pre-sliced.

                                                                    1. re: monku

                                                                      watery in the way that Farmer John ham steaks are watery, usually all commercial ham has water or juices injected into it.

                                                                      1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                        Nope not watery. Like a ham steak should be.
                                                                        Comes pre-sliced in a box not soaking in water.

                                                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    You're way off on The Pantry ham being greasy. Never !!!
                                                                    Brought it home and ate it cold and not a speck of coagulated grease or watery texture.

                                                                    Lately when going to The Pantry I'm always looking out for the "greasy" factor that so many CH's criticize them about and there is nothing.

                                                                  3. re: monku

                                                                    Yes, The pantry does everything bigger!

                                                                  4. re: Burger Boy

                                                                    I was a regular before Rod, I know the place. I don't think Rod's your friend...he always seems distant and very low key and not excited about anything. I'm sure he's got pressure to perform because of the lease. I'm sure Pepper didn't have that added expense.

                                                                    It was so crowded in those days the gal(name escapes me) used to take my order over the phone so it would be ready when I got there. I can probably say it now because it won't matter, but that waitress told me the help(3 of them) worked Saturday's for no salary, just tips. They were only open 5am-11am on Saturday's.

                                                                    1. re: monku

                                                                      Look at us, 3 intense hounds waxing about ham & eggs! Let's get back to the important stuff, BURGERS! FYI, working for just tips is illegal, you need to pay minimum wage!

                                                                      1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                        I know what the law is and I was surprised because the owner was a cop.

                                                                    2. re: Burger Boy

                                                                      Went to Nick's Cafe this morning and the waitress Melanie jokingly asks if I want the roast beef. I looked up and the special today was "slow cooked roast beef". She remembered my disappointment very well.

                                                                      Sunday morning about 9:15am and the place is half full. Free coffee Saturdays & Sundays. I ordered the dependable ham and eggs.

                                                                      When I finished Melanie was talking to me about the roast beef and how they make it with tri-tip. I told her in my opnion tri-tip has no fat and it's a shame to make it into basically pot roast. I told her when I hear slow cooked roast beef I'm thinking Lawry's prime rib kind of roast beef. Rod came over and confirmed they used tri-tip and he was trying to come up with a better description than "slow cooked roast beef", and he knew what I was talking about when I see "roast beef" on a menu.

                                                                      I give him credit, he's doing things that show he cares about serving good food. We talked about his hamburger which is mostly sirloin and making things like the strawberry jam and the guy in the back was peeling apples for some kind of apple spread....I was hoping he was going to be making apple pies.

                                                                      1. re: monku

                                                                        Why don't they just call it tri-tip? =)

                                                                        1. re: aching

                                                                          Good question.
                                                                          Why not just use a chuck roast because that's what that tri-tip seemed like when it was cooked to death. .

                                                                          1. re: monku

                                                                            I don't understand your point... chuck roast is *precisely* the kind of cut you want to use for the pot roast/roasted beef you describe. Lots of fat, lots of connective tissue, slow cooked over long time makes a beautiful pot roast.

                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                              Correct....why use sightly more expensive tri-tip with very little fat to make "pot roast" when you can start out with chuck roast, brisket, rump roast..... to get the same result.
                                                                              A medium rare a tri tip can be a tender piece of meat without being "slow cooked" to a pot roast.

                                                                              1. re: monku

                                                                                >> Why not just use a chuck roast because that's what that tri-tip seemed like when it was cooked to death. .

                                                                                Reread what you wrote... you said that cooked-to-death tri-tip seems like chuck roast. But now that you've clarified what you meant, I understand.

                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                1. re: monku

                                                                                  I have friends that do a crock pot tri tip machaca and it is wonderful. Let Chef Rod do what he wants, if you like it eat it if not then do not get it. Check this out from wikipedia....... Roast beef is a dish of beef which is roasted in an oven. Essentially prepared as a main meal, the leftovers can be and are often served within sandwiches and sometimes is used to make hash. Does not say which cut of beef. This is sure a lot of time wasted on nothing. Enjoy life, roast a chicken!

                                                                                  1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                    I know the difference between roast beef and pot roast....I don't like pot roast.

                                                                                    1. re: monku

                                                                                      monku, I think a dead give away about what is being offered by the restaurant is when you aren't asked what level of "doneness" you want in your roast beef. If that question is missing from the equation you can almost be totally assured that you are getting "pot roast" and not "roast beef"...

                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                        Not necessarily.
                                                                                        You go to a place and hot "roast beef" sandwich is on the menu, they don't ask how you want it cooked and I don't get a pot roast or brisket sandwich. You go to a buffet and they got a hunk of beef....most people just point and ask for a piece, some will request a certain doneness.

                                                                                        Many times on these board have I read about "slow cooking" roast beef (prime rib).

                                                                                        I reposted the counter top sign that had me salivating many times to try their "slow- cooked roast beef".....what would you expect ?

                                                                                         
                                                                                        1. re: monku

                                                                                          Outside of a sandwich I would expect any plate of roast beef to be cooked to different levels of doneness. If you are in a buffet line you can see the person carving the beef and no one carves a pot roast that I've ever seen. Perhaps they might forget to ask you, but you could always ask them. That would give you a heads up when they said "It's all the same level of doneness" and from there you could avoid the pot roast beef you have with Nick's.... ;-D>

                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                            Thinking back and being the roast beef hound that I am when I ordered that day I must have said "medium rare". Maybe Melanie wasn't paying attention to what I said and just saw me pointing at the special and didn't hear.

                                                                                            I've been to places like the Pantry and they have a roast beef special for lunch and if you ask for a particular doneness and they don't have it they'll come back and tell you.

                                                                                            Again.... if you saw "slow- cooked roast beef".....what would you expect ?

                                                                                            1. re: monku

                                                                                              If it was a sandwich I would not expect them to ask me about desired level of doneness. If I was expecting/ordering a non sandwich entree, and they didn't ask me about doneness, I would be certain to tell them medium rare to rare as I don't like well done roast beef. So, if they didn't chat with me about that aspect of the beef I would "steer" clear... (g)

                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                I would advocate taking the bull by the horns (heh) and asking up front exactly how and what it is.

                                                                    3. re: Burger Boy

                                                                      Forgot that I was there last Monday just before 11am and it was only me and my SO eating there.
                                                                      Had the meat loaf and eggs special $8.85
                                                                      The meat loaf wasn't anything to write home about...too much tomato paste in it. (Monday the special is meat loaf).

                                                                  5. Well, if he disappoints me much more there will be continued chat.
                                                                    Next up is the BBQ tri-tip I guess. Skillet chorizo is good.

                                                                    48 Replies
                                                                    1. re: monku

                                                                      If you want great BBQ Tri Tip, go to Hows Market and get some, it is on sale this week. Season with equal parts salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and grill it yourself!

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Hows Market
                                                                      4848 West 190th Street, Torrance, CA 90503

                                                                      1. re: monku

                                                                        Have you had the biscuits & gravy or the hotdog, I am dying to try the chili dog!

                                                                        1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                          Although Nick's Cafe has been on my radar for years, only went after ipsedixit started this thread to try the hash browns and more. Steak and eggs, ham and eggs, gazpacho, hash browns, the other potatoes, a muffin to take home, French toast and a side of biscuits for 'Bread Boy.' Everything, hash browns included was pretty good but not great. The biggest dissapointment were the biscuits. 'Bread Boy' is still looking for a Pines Cafe biscuit replacement and this was not the place. His bro said that the French toast was "ok" but not as good as what he gets at Cisco Burger in Long Beach!

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Cisco Burger
                                                                          620 W Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90813

                                                                          1. re: sel

                                                                            Try The Blue Star Cafe or Blue Moon down on 15th St near Sante Fe Ave. They have good biscuits and gravy. Never had them at Pines Cafe on Pearblossom so nothing to compare them to.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Blue Star
                                                                            2200 E 15th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                                                            1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                              Did Burger Boy ever have a Pines Burger with 'The Works?' If not, ya missed a real winner!
                                                                              Never heard of Blue Star/Moon but will give it a try. How are the burgers?

                                                                              1. re: sel

                                                                                Never had a Pines Burger with the works. Never had a burger at Blue Star,/ Blue Moon. Always had breakfast. Get the mac & cheese.

                                                                                http://www.yelp.com/biz/blue-star-din...

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Blue Star
                                                                                2200 E 15th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                                                                1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                  I'm not a mac & cheese fan so I'll have to let that rec go to other hounds. I did check your yelp link for Blue Star Diner and their menu looks promising but I don't see biscuits listed anywhere?! Perhaps they are offered on a 'specials' menu?

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Blue Star
                                                                                  2200 E 15th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                                                                  1. re: sel

                                                                                    Blue Star came up in a post a while ago for their chicken fried steak. I never got around to checking it out. A poster said it's a hang out for those in the schmata biz.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Blue Star
                                                                                    2200 E 15th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                                                                    1. re: monku

                                                                                      That would be an affirmative! The owner is one of the original owners of Millie's back in the 80's.

                                                                                      1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                        Is this the same Mille's I think on 190th and Western in Torrance? Or another Millie's I've seen?
                                                                                        So how is their CFS?

                                                                                        1. re: monku

                                                                                          Miliie's on Sunset Blvd in Silver Lake. Millie's used to be good, have not had it in a few years. Blue Star was good also. Hard to get great CFS in L.A., had amazing ones in Texas & Nashville and New Orleans!

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Blue Star
                                                                                          2200 E 15th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                                                                          1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                            Right, that Millie's.
                                                                                            This afternoon I drove by the place in Torrance and it's Mill's.
                                                                                            Think I'll check out that Blue Star CFS this week.

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Blue Star
                                                                                            2200 E 15th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                                                              2. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                Not to send this thread into further tangent, but AMAZING biscuits & gravy at the Nickel Diner, downtown, but only available Saturday & Sunday.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Nickel Diner
                                                                                524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                                                1. re: wutzizname

                                                                                  It's relevant here...always good to know.

                                                                                  My default b&g is at The Gaffey Street Diner.
                                                                                  I say default because I always get the chicken fried steak and eggs and they give you a biscuit the size of your fist and plenty of country gravy to make it an order in itself.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Gaffey Street Diner
                                                                                  247 N Gaffey St, San Pedro, CA 90731

                                                                                  1. re: wutzizname

                                                                                    Like The Nickel Diner but the gravy is just a little thin, where as Nick's Cafe is just a little thick, sometimes. If I could get a quart of each I could blend them and have a Cuvee Gravy that would be loved by all! I could be the King of Biscuits & Gravy! The would call me Gravy Boy! Has anyone noticed how my handle has been copied by some of the bloggers, there are other Burger Boys in different cities or variations, can I sue?

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Nickel Diner
                                                                                    524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                                                    1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                      If someone could sue I should sue you....I gave the moniker of "Burger Boy" to a friend in high school back in the 70's. Then there's a "Chicken Boy" I gave to another guy in the 80's.

                                                                                      1. re: monku

                                                                                        Damn, please do not sue, I can not afford it and keep eating burgers. Will you accept my apology? I am sorry! Chicken Boy was coined in the 50's or 60's by a Broasted Chicken place so not sure if you have a case!

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Broasted Chicken
                                                                                        325 E Port Hueneme Rd, Port Hueneme, CA 93041

                                                                                    2. re: wutzizname

                                                                                      wutziz, can you give a few details on why you find the biscuits and gravy at the Nickel Diner so "AMAZING"? I'm eager to identify versions that are even "decent." Thanks.

                                                                                      -Harry

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Nickel Diner
                                                                                      524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                                                      1. re: Harry Niletti

                                                                                        re: Nickel Diner's biscuits & gravy...

                                                                                        Well, I have to admit I'm not from the south and thus don't have any first hand experience with the original article. But I have dated a couple southern girls who were always completely disappointed with local L.A. versions they would have me try. But Nickel Diner's is the only one I've ever tasted here that made me think, oh, now I get it.

                                                                                        In theory, they look the same as most I've seen...thick sausage gravy over two split biscuits...and I believe they add two eggs on top. But there's some pretty significant sausage action in the gravy, and the rich deep flavor is just stick-to-your-ribs good. As for the biscuits, they're not the really flaky kind I'd want as a side dish with butter and honey, but rather a bit cakey, or even roll like, which sounds bad, but in fact seems to be a surprisingly perfect compliment to the dense gravy they're holding.

                                                                                        Sorry I can't offer a better analysis. I just know it's the only really good one I've ever tried here. Though, per today's LA Weekly blog, Jenn Garbee recommends Snug Harbor in Santa Monica, and a commenter suggests Rae's on Pico: http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/be...

                                                                                        1. re: wutzizname

                                                                                          Thanks for the followup, wutzizname -- and for the link.

                                                                                          -Harry

                                                                                            1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                              That's the link wutziz gave.

                                                                                              I plan to try the biscuits and gravy at Snug Harbor and Rae's, but I almost hate to start down that path again in Southern California, because it seems doomed to disappointment.

                                                                                              -Harry

                                                                                    3. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                      Burger Boy you're letting me down.
                                                                                      Went to Blue Star this morning for the chicken fried steak. First of all I can't believe the neighborhood and I never saw barbed wire like that on a restaurant...it was like a prison compound. The whole area was like that.. 9am and there's only five of us in the whole place (2 were LAPD). The chicken fried steakt was the worst I've ever had. The steak was about 1/3 the size of the plate(picture I'd seen on CH it covered the whole plate) and seemed like it was dipped in egg then fried on the grill, there was no "chicken fried" texture.

                                                                                      Right, you didn't send us there for the CFS, but the gravy could have been warmed wall paper paste....no flavor or anything...not even black pepper seasoning.

                                                                                      Huge disappointment....as bad as getting pot roast instead of roast beef at Nick's.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Blue Star
                                                                                      2200 E 15th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                                                                      1. re: monku

                                                                                        have not been in a year but it was better than that! my apologies!

                                                                                        1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                          What I got today was a far cry from the pic in this post.
                                                                                          My steak was half the size of one of those and looked nothing like that. What are they thinking there?
                                                                                          http://www.chow.com/photos/284733?tag...

                                                                                          1. re: monku

                                                                                            what pic, i did not post anything

                                                                                            1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                              Try this.
                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/598252

                                                                                              I didn't say ou posted anything. This is was the CFS I was expecting to get at Blue Star.

                                                                                              1. re: monku

                                                                                                Maybe Blue Star isn't a diner but a prison?

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Blue Star
                                                                                                2200 E 15th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                1. re: monku

                                                                                                  That is about what i got when I had it there over a year ago. Mac & Cheese was also off the chain. I wonder if the owners or the cooks changed. Sorry you did not get your needs taken care of.

                                                                                                  1. re: monku

                                                                                                    Monku, this is a tough part of town, no doubt. So the security precautions they take to keep from getting ripped off are understandable. But the diner itself is quite nice inside. And my last foray there for corned beef hash http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6625... was quite good. So it's good to know that the CFS is NOT the way to go (I myself had a disaster of a CFS recently at Pepy's Galley http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7184... in Mar Vista - and Pepy's is a place that I generally like quite a lot).

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

                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                      Wouldn't surprise me if those LAPD officers were the same ones sitting next to us. They were there when we arrived and still there when we left.

                                                                                                      You would think the CFS is the way to go....i'ts the first item prominently listed on the menu.
                                                                                                      I'm wondering if they had the fryer heated for the CFS. I mentioned to my SO that we were the only ones waiting for our food and after looking at my watch it was over 20 minutes before we got our orders. One customer already eating, the two cops and us. My SO ordered bacon(2 slices) & eggs with a pancake for $9.95, she almost ordered the CBH.

                                                                                                      I would have been better off having breakfast at Mike's Sandwich Shop: Home of the famous 'HOCKEY BURGER'!

                                                                                                      Pepy's Galley....haven't been there for about 25 years.

                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                      Mike's Sandwich Shop
                                                                                                      1717 S Soto St, Los Angeles, CA 90023

                                                                                                      1. re: monku

                                                                                                        Mike's has a good breakfast? Really? Pepy's used to have a good CFS but I have not been in a million years. There are a couple of other diners in that part of town that I want to try that are OG, not fixed up like Blue Star.

                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                        Blue Star
                                                                                                        2200 E 15th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                                                                                        1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                                          Burger Boy, no comment on Mike's Hockey burger?
                                                                                                          It's pretty pedestrian.

                                                                                                          1. re: monku

                                                                                                            You made it sound like you like it!

                                                                                                            1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                                              I like the ham & eggs....I'm trying to like the rest.

                                                                                            2. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                              You seem to know all the owners at these places. Is Kash the owner a man or woman?
                                                                                              I sent an e-mail to the Blue Star and Kash apologized and said what I got was not right and apologized and offered me a free breakfast next time.

                                                                                              -----
                                                                                              Blue Star
                                                                                              2200 E 15th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                  Thank you.
                                                                                                  I appreciated his quick response.
                                                                                                  I will respond back but I probably wouldn't go back and take him up on his offer if I did return. I just didn't think what I got looked right since I've never been there. I didn't want to bring up the issue with employees and two LAPD cops there.
                                                                                                  My thinking is the deep fryer wasn't ready and they tried to make a chicken cried steak on the grill. I also commented the country gravy was tasteless.

                                                                                            3. re: monku

                                                                                              In that area of downtown, I would've gone to Mug Up Coffee Shop for Chicken Fried Steak instead of Blue Star.

                                                                                              Not haute cuisine, but certainly good decent stuff.

                                                                                              -----
                                                                                              Blue Star
                                                                                              2200 E 15th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                Ipse, come on, you gonna make me work for this one. Where is Mug Up?

                                                                                                1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                                  Place Link

                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                  Mug's Up Coffee Shop
                                                                                                  2232 Enterprise St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                    Thanks Serv, I just mapped it and actually know exactly where it is, I drive by it when I get off the 10 frwy west at Sante Fe. I never am there early enough but will give it a try.

                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                        I forgot who was looking for biscuits & gravy but here you go!
                                                                                                        http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/be...

                                                                                                        1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                                          From the photo I would opine that it needs bigger pieces (not flecks but damn chunks is what I look for) of sausage.

                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                            What I like about Nick's is, I believe, they put some of their ham in theirs.

                                                                                          2. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                            Not a biscuits and gravy fan.
                                                                                            I never saw anyone eating a hot dog there. You let me know.

                                                                                            Now that I think about it the guy next to me had a burger and it looked like a hand made job, not like the pre-formed machine made burger I had on a previous visit.

                                                                                            1. re: monku

                                                                                              "Not a biscuits and gravy fan."

                                                                                              I wouldn't be, either, if my primary source for this delicious dish was Southern California. You can get very good biscuits at Pann's, but their gravy isn't stupendous, as required. In the South and Southern Midwest, even a chain like Bob Evans produces a fine version, with chunks of their name-brand sausage swimming in cream gravy of just the right consistency. Too bad Mimi's Cafe (owned by Bob Evans) doesn't follow suit.

                                                                                              -Harry

                                                                                        2. I went to this place shortly after reading ipse's review in August and wasn't too impressed. The hash browns I was given the first time were greasy and not well done as ordered. The manager even came by and before I could say anything, said that they didn't look well done enough. So, he takes them away, I wait, and then a waitress brings another plate full. This redo was even less done than the first batch and equally greasy. Oh well. For truly tasty, beautifully golden and crispy hash browns I go to Sugar Shack on Main Street in Huntington Beach.

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Sugar Shack Cafe
                                                                                          213 Main St, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

                                                                                          1. As a life-long potato-in-any-form fanatic, this post made me seize the day and head to Nicks.
                                                                                            First off, thank you Chowhound, because I'm pretty sure I could live in LA the rest of my life and never accidentally stumble upon this place.
                                                                                            It's a diner, very friendly staff. They are open on Sunday and seemed absolutely packed! Service was a little slow, but the happy attitudes made up for it.
                                                                                            So, the hash browns: on the plus side, they weren't greasy, which is a common pitfall. On the negative side, they weren't anything special, imho. They were undercooked, only the edges were actually browned.
                                                                                            Oh well.
                                                                                            Who cares.
                                                                                            Because, HOW DID NO ONE MENTION THE WAFFLES?? I wasn't planning to get waffles, in fact I'm not usually a waffles fan (though my dining companion is), but a girl near us was eating them and it just looked so good, we had to order one. It was the best waffle of my life. So fluffy and light, with thick butter and syrup. And then the raspberry preserves? wow. Just WOW.
                                                                                            Not to mention the corned beef hash- superb. And the salsa- delicious.
                                                                                            I'm going to put this on my all time breakfast top 10.
                                                                                            Can not wait to be back downtown!

                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                              Did you try the Apple Jam? Stuff is pretty addicting.

                                                                                              Also, I hear that they now have country fried steak.

                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                Really! I might need to go soon. The biscuits and gravy are pretty good when the gravy is not to thick.

                                                                                                1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                                  Have not tried the Chicken Fried Steak, so curious what the afficianados here think about their rendition.

                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                    Nick's does not have chicken fried steak.

                                                                                                      1. re: monku

                                                                                                        New item. Been a special since Halloween.

                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                          Guess I haven't been there since the "slow roasted beef" disappointment I had there. (seems like pot roast, but tri-tip that's been slow roasted, but still resembles pot roast).

                                                                                                          Someone else can give me a report on the chicken fried steak....I'm tired of being a guinea pig there.

                                                                                                          1. re: monku

                                                                                                            "...a guinea pig there."

                                                                                                            Mmmm, chicken fried Cuy.... ;-D>

                                                                                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                    I missed apple jam?? All the more reason to start haunting downtown...