Sunday, March 19, 2006

Taste test: It's hip to be Square One

poached eggs with cured salmon on potato pancakes
I used to like having brunch on the patio at New York George's oh, about 15 years ago, so when I heard that a new restaurant had finally opened in the old space on Fountain across from my birthplace, now the Scientology headquarters, I hastened over for brunch. Square One is a well-conceived cafe open for breakfast and lunch, featuring my favorite words, "breakfast served all day." The breakfast menu is one of the most imaginative in this part of town, with baked egg dishes served in a skillet with ingredients like lamb or chorizo, pancakes and French toast with banana citrus caramel or bourbon pecan topping, and nice sides like grits with cheddar and bacon. I had a luscious salmon eggs benedict with poached eggs perched on top of a potato pancake and citrus cured salmon with a perfectly tart Hollandaise, and a good stiff cup of coffee. Matt had a pressed egg sandwich with arugula and tomato, served with a huge bowl of coarsely-milled grits, and a fresh-squeezed orange juice.
The verdict: Everything was lovely to look at and completely delicious. I heard the open-faced skirt steak sandwich with carmelized shallots was good, so I'll be back soon for lunch. There were just a few small glitches which I'm sure will be ironed out soon -- Matt's breakfast sandwich came with a side of toast, surely overkill for a sandwich, while my eggs on potato pancakes were offered with a side of more potatoes, when toast would have been welcome. And when offered milk or cream for coffee, surely no one really wants a small cruet of whipping cream for their coffee. Also, the prices are quite reasonable for food of this quality and a menu of this variety. It's enough to make you forget the late, lamented stuffed French toast at New York George's.
Square One Dining
4854 Fountain
(323) 661-1109
(closed Mondays)

12 comments:

Glen B. said...

And when offered milk or cream for coffee, surely no one really wants a small cruet of whipping cream for their coffee.

Oooooh, I do!

Seriously - like many adults, I'm lactose-intolerant, so whipping cream for coffee is a wonderful thing, as it contains very little lactose - far less than half'n'half.

It's what I use at home, and I've often wished it were offered in coffee shops and restaurants.

And though its fat content is higher, you need less of it to produce the same creamy results, so the overall calories and fat remain about the same.

This alone is enough to make me give Square One a try, so I hope they'll continue to offer it.

Delicious said...

I don't know about Shirley, but I also want the cream cruet.

condiment said...

The rosy nostalgia for New York George's is misplaced. I used to work in a place that brought in lunch on production day, so that none of us would be tempted to leave the building, and the entire staff once threatened to quit en masse if the owner didn't stop bringing in NY George's dreadful cuisine.

He promptly switched to Larry Parker's, which was even worse. Served us right, probably.

Delivery Boy said...

Larry Parker's Beverly Hills Diner had great food and Haagen Dazs shakes. I was the person that delivered the food to you at L.A. Weekly each Wednesday for the production Lunch. They loved Larry Parker's food as I remember it. L.A. Weekly had Cobb Salads, Chicken Quesadillas, Sauteed Veggies.. about $400.00 worth and we had RAVE REvues each week. We came back for the empty Stainless Steel bowls.

Bill Macomber said...

CREAM RULES!

Seriously, I love restaurants that serve cream for coffee. I have a short list of them: The Apple Pan, Nettie's and now Square One!

This place is really great, can't wait to keep hitting it up until the cat is out of the bag and they've got lines all day long...

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Anonymous said...

The breakfast was truly wonderful, however the tables were extremely long! As I am only 5'3", I had to really stretch over the table to have a conversation, especially given that the acoustics in the dining room were awful. I have never seen a 2-top table like that before, and the discomfort took away from what would otherwise be one of the best breakfasts in L.A. Eat here, but sit outside.

Miles said...

Larry Parkers was never very good. And rarely even good. Plus, it was dirty inside...as dirty as the old Liquor Castle next door. Feh, I say.

ProgGrrl said...

Well it's many months later and Square One is still one of the most delish breakfast/brunch spots in the neighborhood.

No one has yet mentioned the miraculous bacon-caramel topping offered for pancakes. Amazing.

oddlyme said...

Let's also mention the fabulous pressed egg sandwich on house baked broiche. Crispy, fluffy, savory and fresh, it is a bit of bright joy. Get it with the salad on the side and you won't feel quite so guilty about the buttery brioche...!

David Lee said...

I have gone through squareonedining.com, wow.. there is so yummy food item. I will go there.
Thanks for your information.

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