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