Thursday, July 20, 2006

Taste test: BLD

Once upon a time, there was Grace, a lovely, expensive restaurant on Beverly where celebritities nibble on short ribs and foie gras amid soothing tones of brown and wood. And once upon a time, there was a choice corner restaurant location, first home to Red, which was a kind of trendy diner for a few years, then to Opaline, which was an interesting pale green restaurant for a little while, and then to Cafe Capo, which was Italian, I guess, for a very little while. Now the owners of Grace, including Iron Chef winner Neal Fraser, have opened the more casual BLD, as in breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The room has been beautifully redone yet again, in sedate reds and blacks, with the tiny adjacent bar melded into the main room as a foyer.
The food: For breakfast, there are incredibly rich and buttery pastries, brioche French toast, eggs benedict paired with hangar steak (in case you're not going to get another chance to eat for another few days or so) and omelettes with lots of delicious-sounding ingredients.
For lunch, the hangar steak reappears in a salad, and there's Wagyu beef burgers, turkey burgers, short ribs sandwiches and caesar salads.
The dinner menu is basically the same as lunch, with the addition of grilled chicken ($18), hangar steak again, or salmon served with a choice of two intriguing sides.
Grace is one of the few fine restaurants to offer a few serious vegan entrees, and its hempseed-encrusted tofu turns up at BLD in a salad of Japanese greens, roasted shisito peppers and asparagus (pictured above). It's the perfect thing to eat on a hot day, with the crunchy hempseeds and deeply-flavored soy dressing perking up the humble tofu. Ramin was happy with his hefty turkey burger with Gruyere ($12).
The verdict: Not surprisingly for a Grace offshoot, all the ingredients and preparations were top of the line. Unfortunately, the prices were too, with some sandwiches up in the $18 range. Service was extremely friendly, if a bit slow. This neighborhood seems to have a bottomless need for brunch spots, and I'm glad to have a new spot for work lunches. I hope, though, that the menu will continue to evolve even farther beyond haute diner fare.
7450 Beverly Blvd.
(323) 930-9744


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Anonymous said...

Great service. Fabulous interior and the food is terrific. Although it is a bit expensive, the quality of the food is worth every single penny.

Gregory said...

Obnoxious hosts, slow service with a smile and the best blandest boring food around. The whole place reeked of an attitude that said, "You the customer are lucky to be here." Ewww. Yet another cheese plate where for $16 you get four bits of cheese?? Is there a war on? Why the rations?
I'd rather go anywhere else on Beverly Blvd. Try Hatfields (if you can get in) right next door, for a wonderful experience. I'd even rather go to BLD's older, rather haggard sister, Grace. Even if it does feel like eating in a hotel at this point.

Anonymous said...

This last poster is an idiot. BLD could not be better. and If you don't want to pay $18 for a sandwich, then leave west hollywood and go to korea town. worth every penny.

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Anonymous said...

This is by far my favorite restaurant in Hollywood. The french fries are perfectly seasoned and a must with any meal. I had the crab salad sandwich that was perfect and delicious. The next time I went I tried some sausage pasta dinner and it was amazing. Every time I go I get the amazing desert, brownie sundae and banana cream pie. Both are amazing. I also tried the fruit and apple stuff both were very good also. Overall everything is perfect, the location, atmosphere, people, food and drinks. Chic restaurant and as a college student I would say the prices are worth it for the food you get. The taste is a tarte mazing and writing this review is making me want to go now.

Anonymous said...

As a fan of Grace, I was very disappointed in BLD. On a Saturday mid-morning it was packed and there was a nice hum in the restaurant, but the food and service didn't live up to the reputation of Grace. There were four of us and two of us had egg dishes that were way overcooked. The service was very friendly albeit very, very slow and inattentive. I don't mind paying for high quality food, but while the ingredients are of the highest quality, the execution leaves much to be desired.