3219 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Brunch – It’s a strange weekend phenomenon in L.A., where the hip and beautiful rub elbows, while eating a combination of breakfast and lunch items at a designated time between the normal breakfast and lunch hours. As girly as it may sound, I personally love brunch, as far as the usual items served is concerned. But I neither want to wake up early enough nor brave the crowds just to eat a consolidation of two meals which I don’t eat on a regular basis during the weekends.
I decided to get off my lazy fat ass this past Sunday, however, to have brunch and catch up with a few of friends whom I haven’t seen in almost a year. Since one of them lives in Glendale, Canelé sounded like a good choice (among its many “honors” include being #1 on LA Weekly’s 10 Best Breakfast Spots). I arrived just before the restaurant opened at 10am, only to see that there were almost a couple of dozen like-minded diners waiting to enter as well. Had to wait a bit because one in our party was (very) late (FYI: they only seat full parties, since there’s no reservations), but upon being seated, the aroma from the open kitchen immediately hit me.
Our party of four split three entrees and two sides: French toast (to which we added the prunes and mascarpone), fried chicken sandwich, the lamb hash (daily special), house cured bacon, and baked pancake. The portion of French toast was huge – three giant battered toasts that were almost custard-y. The additional accompaniment of prunes and mascarpone really worked – I liked this better than with maple syrup. But I actually thought that the baked pancake (some of you might know it as a Dutch baby) with lemon custard (listed as a side, but was probably large enough to be considered an entree at many bougie brunch spots) was the sweet dish of note. The filling was sweet, but not overly so, and it was nice and fluffy. Just great.
Over on the savory side, there was the fried chicken sandwich. I’ve read great things about it, and it was satisfactory for the most part. But I was actually left wanting more fried chicken – felt like there was almost as much green tomato as chicken. The lamb hash, a special of the day, was very good. Egg was fried well, the potatoes were crisp, and the greens and onions went well with the slight gaminess from the bits of lamb. But again, the star here was actually a supporting actor – the house cured bacon. Cut thick, these strips were essentially fried pork belly. It wasn’t too well-done either – the lean part was just crispy enough, and the fatty portion basically melted in my mouth.
I really enjoyed my meal – enough to order a couple of the dishes for the roommates to try – a fairly tall order on my part. Overall, Canelé marks my tremendous return to the brunch scene (ha). On a more serious note, it’s a cute little neighborhood restaurant (gives off that bistro vibe for dinner), with a focused menu using farmer’s market ingredients. Not the cheapest of options, but the ingredients and cooking more than justify it. Plus, the portions were larger than expected (especially the French toast). I would not hesitate to wake up earlier and return on another weekend, as well as for dinner.
|French, American, Breakfast & Brunch||Atwater Village||$$$||B+|