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.