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Feb 14, 2011 10:18 AM

The Griddle Cafe: first visit

Our first visit to The Griddle was very good, and much more user friendly than what I'd been expecting. We ventured forth at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday (they close at 4:00 p.m.), and there was essentially no line or wait; that seems to be a key factor - go at off-times/just prior to closing and avoid that crush of humanity that one usually sees much earlier in the weekend day.

The (all day) breakfast menu is pretty huge, as is their lunch menu, and they both cover a wide range of familiar chow territory in very unqiue ways. I was in the mood for lunch, and the wife opted for breakfast.

I ordered up the BLT and grilled shrimp sandwich, with an avocado add-on to boot. The toasted bread was thick like challah commonly used for french toast;and the entire sandwich was massive, and more importantly, delicious. There was a nice heat kick from a chipotle mayo, too. And the sandwich comes with a large portion of the best steak fries I've ever had; long planks, deeply browned, with a seasoned salt and actual potatoey flavor. My wife (not a fan of steak fries) kept eating from my portion, until she wearied of the painful fork-prongings that I rained down upon her larcenous left hand :-). Man, a great sandwich combo here, and it will be difficult not to order this same item again at our next visit.

The wife had a special 'hot chocolate french toast', again with what seemed to be large slices of challah/egg bread, perhaps dipped in hot cocoa before being pan fried. They were dusted with cocoa powder and powdered sugar, and then topped with a superfluous but tasty roofing of melted marshmallows. In all, a good french toast, but a wee bit too sweet for a lunchtime stomach, in my opinion.

The only slight mis-step in our ordering came with the beverage order. My wife wanted a cup a black tea, and ended up with a massive pot of well-brewed tea easily enough for four sippers (probably near to a quart of tea). The pot 'o tea cost $7.90, and she drank most of it (as it was well-brewed and the pot it came in was some sort of fancy press unfamilar to a tea heathen such as myself). This tipped the bill up to $37, but in hindsight, was absolutely necessary to cut thru the sweetness of that chocolatey/mallowy french toast.

One more thing: the hipness factor is kinda off the charts here, but the patrons all seemed to be friendly hip, not D-Bag or Mean-Grrl hip. Too-small hats are a must, it seems (even the kids were sporting kooky headwear). At 50, I was the oldest dude in the place, and not even my doc martens or frayed black blazer could elevate me to anything more than crazy professor chic. Oh, and it's way loud in this place too, but the music is good and my mouth was too full of tasty chow to even attempt witty quiet banter... I liked the Griddle, and though not inexpensive, it was less so than BLD (which we tried a couple of weeks ago, and also really liked). A nice neighborhood hang, even if our neighborhood was 15 miles away. Just be sure to be packin' headwear...

BLD Restaurant
7450 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

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  1. "Just be sure to be packin' headwear..."

    While I've personally never felt the need to self-retrograde and rechannel my former (short but intense) homage to Gene Hackman as Popeye Doyle in the French Connection, if you say it must be done who am I to disobey? ;-D>

    2 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      LOL... I just realized that in addition to the pervasive presence of _too-small_ hats, there was also a healthy representation of ubiqutious _too-big_ hats among the patrons. It was a veritable standoff between the nepalese sherpa admirers and the porkpie jazzbo crowd, with a light dusting of the beret/poet/anarchist crowd, hat-wise. But the chow brought everyone together within the solidarity of the diner brotherhood. And next time, I will don a fez...

      1. re: silence9

        I was there yesterday and noticed a lot of the ladies wearing short short, like basketball or volleyball type shorts. Over their regular pants. It's always a trip people watching at Griddle.

    2. This post -- and it's progeny -- are about as funny as chowhound gets!
      Thanks silence9 and servorg.
      It is both really, really hard to love, and perhaps even harder NOT to love, GC.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Ciao Bob

        My family had breakfast there last week and I was disappointed. My kids loved it.

        In short, food quality was below average. The frittata was underseasoned, but worse, just completely unaesthetically pleasing to have a layer of bland omlet, a too-thick layer of coagulated cheese (melted and then cooled down) and another layer of too thickly cut ham.

        The sugar rush of the pancakes is what my boys liked, but there was really nothing special in the flavor or texture of the oreo pancakes, it was just a very sweet overly large portion.

        Seems to me the gimmick here is the ridiculously large portions. I'll take modest sized portions of carefully prepared delicious food anyday over large portions of mediocre or worse food. I mean this one pancake dish was easily enough food for all four of us. I hate to think of all the food this place throws out because most just can't (and frankly, shouldn't) eat that much. With an obesity epidemic raging in the US, places like this just seem extravagantly wasteful and perhaps even irresponsible.

        1. re: mwest9

          Love The Griddle! The menu provides both healthy and unhealthy choices - and if you look around you will see that most people indulging in the oversized pancakes are either sharing them or taking a portion home.
          I've tried about 5 or 6 types of pancakes there and all have been full of flavor - current favorite is the Red Velvet!
          I'm in the gym every other day and The Griddle is a special treat!

          1. re: shebop

            I will admit that their Nutella French Toast is one of my guilty pleasures in L.A. They must put half a jar in there. Good thing we usually walk there - not that walking a few blocks would undo one hundredth of the damage done.

          2. re: mwest9

            Hi... As the OP, granted, I've only been to The Griddle once (and will be back), but from my scrutiny of the clientele on that visit, no one at The Griddle seems to qualify for the label 'obese'. At 190, I was easily the heftiest person there (and least hip). With due respect, this isn't the Cracker Barrel or Bob Evans, and all of those small hats I mentioned earlier where jauntily perched upon small heads and small bodies. Not discounting the 'obesity epidemic' you cite, but it would seem that most of the friendly hipsters indlulging their pancake gene at The Griddle also rock the work-out gene and the walk-the-dog/ jog-the-stroller gene as well *... * This post brought to you, on behalf of the Council for Playful Sarcasm and The Non-Chubb Group :-)

            1. re: silence9

              Maybe the hats and bodies just LOOKED small compared to the portions! =)

        2. Am I the only one that thinks the Griddle is the worst of the worst? And I don't mean the crowd, service or wait...I mean the food is the worst ever. Although I do like the french press coffee.

          1. "My wife (not a fan of steak fries) kept eating from my portion, until she wearied of the painful fork-prongings that I rained down upon her larcenous left hand :-). "

            Ha. Those are some good fries.