Friday, October 2, 2009

My Shoulda Brunch at Tavern: Fool me twice, shame on me

Nearly nineteen months ago I did a very stupid thing – I ordered a salad at a place that specializes in crepes.

Nearly two and half weeks ago, I did another stupid thing – I went against the advice of my food friends and stubbornly selected the wrong entrée at Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s Tavern restaurant in Brentwood.

Then approximately six days later, I did yet another stupid thing at Tavern. Instead of opting for a delightful cinnamon-saturated stack of ricotta lemon pancakes or a scrumptious plate of eggs benedict on housemade brioche bread, I decided to chow down on a chopped chicken salad for brunch.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid!

Now to be fair, there was a method to my ordering madness. The evening before I’d feasted on my brother’s grilled pizza, salad, lamb chops with roasted potatoes, and more than my fair share of Susie Cakes’ carrot and marble cakes, and was still feeling full from the effort. I also had dinner plans that evening at PF Chang’s and knew that it would not be wise to push my stomach’s luck with an overly ambitious brunch.

Now to be fair to Tavern, I’m not saying that the salad was bad – it was actually more than fine with its large meaty hunks of bacon, creamy bites of Point Reyes blue cheese, and neatly diced chunks of chicken and apple. In a different world and at a different price point (ie. not $15.), I would probably give some version of the thumbs up to the big bowl of chopped up greens. But in the Tavern world – a transcendentally beautiful space that gives new meaning to the term “fine dining” – the salad was a woeful way to break bread with my fellow mid-day noshers. It would be a vast understatement to say I was envious of my companions’ more prescient orders – in particular those luscious lemon ricotta pancakes with blackberry sauce. The memory of the one bite I sampled has stuck with me ever since, and I’m dying to convince someone that $14 is not too much for pancakes so that I can go back and finally absolve my Tavern ordering sins.

Because the thing is, I really want to love Tavern. It has so much going for it – looks, personality, different dimensions (ie. a Larder for take-out orders, a bar for Happy Hour noshing, a menu that offers something for everyone), but I keep screwing things up and interfering with the potential success of our relationship. I know that someday we will be happy together; I just need to stop thinking about what I want when I go there. When I feel like I salad, I need to say, “No go!” and get a fatty plate of eggs benedict with prosciutto ($16) or a hunk of brisket hash with fried eggs and horseradish cream ($17). And when I feel like I need to get all cozy with Mary’s little lamb, I need to throw caution to the wind and select the Devil’s chicken or the Niman Ranch beef burger that my friend Erin keeps talking about like it’s her first born.

Someday, when I finally turn my head off, our love will flourish like a rose garden in spring. Tavern + Diana Takes a Bite sitting in a tree and all that jazz. But until that day, I am left with the memories of what could have been (see pictures below). And, of course, the saving grace of the brunch for me – some mighty fine monkey bread and pastries that one of my dining companions was kind enough to order for the table.

11648 San Vicente Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Phone: (310) 806-6464


The Blonde Duck said...

You poor thing! I often get ordering regret.

The Duo Dishes said...

What is that under the brisket??? Looks DELICIOUS. Well post-partum ordering is not fun at all. Always go with what your gut says...literally.

Jenn said...

Salads for brunch ain't too bad. Though, I'd have to admit just looking at those pictures, I have entree envy.

Diana said...

Miranda - It's become a pattern with me recently! I need to shape up soon!

Chrystal & Amir - I'm not sure! I'd have to ask the gal who ordered (and devoured) it! She really loved it.

Jenn - Yeah, I'm all for the salad for brunch! Just not this salad for brunch. Especially when there are lemon ricotta pancakes to be had...

yutjangsah said...

everything looks delish.

mattatouille said...

i can't remember the last time a salad at a restaurant ever satisfied me. ever. so my rule of them, only eat salad if it comes with a real meal.

Esi said...

I think you're too hard on yourself. I definitely understand the reason for ordering the salad. On the other hand, all those other dishes look pretty amazing!

Gastronomer said...

Word, I agree with Matt. Don't ever order a salad when you go out. What's the point, ya know?

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

i still haven't tried Tavern! ahhh what's wrong with me...this may be the one thing that drags this eastsider west!

weezermonkey said...

This Monkey likes monkey bread.

How cute is your new banner!


Anna A. said...

aw man, damnit tavern, why did you do this to my dear tall lady friend?!

Diana said...

Matt/Cathy - Normally I agree with the anti-salad stance. I abide by a motto of either go big or go home when I'm dining out, but had already overdone the going big when I was at Tavern that day. Such a shame. :(

Nastassia - It's definitely worth a trip out from Silverlake! Especially if you order correctly! ;)

Sharon - Thanks! I'm happy with it!

Anna - Aw it's okay, it's only food. Wait... did I just say that?!?!

SinoSoul said...

O dear... you and Tavern just ain't gonna work out.

One of the most fantasmic salads I've ever had was from a sidewalk bistro in Nice. Worth every penny. Brentwood ain't Nice.

Been to Tavern nearly half a dozen times now, never a bad meal. Maybe it was the company? My lunch with Boobs 4 Food consisted of sharing everything, including the pancakes + benedicts.