The 2011 L.A. Easter Brunch Round-Up

Quail Eggs at Kaohsiung Night Market | Photo: hk_traveller on Flickr

I don’t remember ever having given up anything for Lent. But I always have celebrated Easter in non-ritualistic fashion – just as I eat and celebrate life. Every day is a rebirth, right?

Did I mention that I love eggs?

I compiled a bunch of Easter Brunch specials around town. There are plenty of restaurants offering up 3-course prix fixe menus for Sunday morning, but a lot of them have some pretty solid choices.

Go ahead…you can scan this post for the bottomless champagne or mimosa spots. I totally understand.

(By the way, I can’t believe how Westward this list skews… Do Eastsiders not celebrate Easter?) 😉

Happy Easter!!

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Eva (Beverly/Hancock Park): 12 -  8 PM

$39 per person.
Bottomless wine. 5-course prix fixe.

I know I said “brunch,” and I know Mark Gold calls this the “Eva Dinner Party,” but the noon start time has to count for something, doesn’t it? You get all of the following: Deviled Eggs, Nicoise Salad with Olive Relish and Roast Peppers, Chicken “Pallard” with Arugula and Mustard, Warm Potato Salad, Prime Skirt Steak, Grilled Asparagus and Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Creme Fraiche. I know. Amazing. This is where I’ll be…sometime during Easter Day.

7458 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323.634.0700

Chaya Brasserie (Downtown, Beverly Hills, Venice): 11 AM – 3 PM

$37 per person, $15 per young adult.
Bottomless champagne. 3-course prix fixe.

You get a couple choices for your 3-course prix fixe, all menus of which vary according to location! Be sure to peep the right Chaya outpost for your menu.

A few highlights from what I can see on all three menus include French Toast with Granola Crust, Kabocha Squash Ricotta Cheese Gnocchi, Grilled New York Steak and Fries with Poached Egg, Pancetta-wrapped Gulf Shrimp with Provencal Grits, Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cheese Tart. I think the Downtown location is where to be!

525 South Flower, Los Angeles, CA 90017, 213.236.9577

8741 Alden Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90048, 213.859.8833

110 Navy Street, Venice, CA 90291, 310.396.1179

Obika (Century City): 10 AM – 4 PM

$25 per adult, $15 per child under 12.
Comes with one mimosa or glass of Prosecco. Buffet-style plus one family-style pasta.

Not feeling the prix fixe but don’t want any hassle? Obika’s doing it up buffet style – at the mall. Mozzarella di Bufala along with a selection of Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon, Assorted, Salumi, Caponata with Pan Carsau, Artichoke Ricotta Quiche with Thyme and Mint, Ricotta Mousse and four (yes, four) flavors of Tirimisu will all be available. In addition, your table will get to pick one choice of pasta served family style, including Handmade Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage, Lasagnetta with Peas and Tagliolini with Artichoke and Mint.

10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90067, 310.556.2452

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Essential Bites and Cocktails With a VÅ«

Pork Belly, Crispy Grits, Root Beer Jello

Welcome to my first blog entry on an establishment in Marina del Rey. Yes, it’s true – I’m rarely in the area except to visit fabulous divorcee girlfriends and out-of-town friends being put up in corporate housing. But VÅ«, located inside a curiously named hotel called Jamaica Bay Inn (in an area that is the antithesis of Jamaica), is one of those destination islands in a marina wasteland where you’ll find surprisingly unique and delicious bites in VÅ« of a beautiful waterfront.

White Manhattan

 There are more than a few reasons to visit. Caroline on Crack covers a huuuge one – that, of course, being the simple yet imaginative cocktails by the talented, self-taught Jolie Klein. She only uses the freshest and natural ingredients, only bridled by the desire to create a cocktail that caters to the guest’s palate. My favorite cocktail of the night had to be the White Manhattan, made with a spirit from my own home state of Wisconsin. Death’s Door White Whiskey – that is, newly distilled whiskey - is accented with Luxardo maraschino liqueur and The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters. I am a whiskey girl, and that also includes new make spirits. What a deliciously simple cocktail.

Beer After Branca

Now, places with a solid cocktail program definitely merit a visit (make sure Jolie is there to make your drink), but VÅ« also offers interesting, avant garde small plates by Chef Kyle Schutte. My favorites happen to be a spin on Southern specialties (curious enough since Kyle is a Southern transplant). The Root Beer Jello atop Pork Belly and Crispy Grits actually evokes a chicken fried steak – just with some super flavorful pork belly in the middle. The root beer jello is, of course, the novelty of the bite but its temperature, flavor and consistency really complements the richness of the other two elements. What Caroline and I thought it could be paired with was Jolie’s is Beer After Branca, essentially Fernet Branca, Canton liqueur and Averna chased by ginger beer. Yes, I am a fernet fan, and ginger beer is an appropriate, spicy back to the fernet’s bitterness – so perhaps it was a bit unfair to call this a shoe-in (sue me!). But altogether, the bite and cocktail would be a great voyage in sweetness and richness, countered by the bitter fernet and finished off with the ginger beer. I could go all the way to Marina del Rey for another, and another.

Chicken Fried Watermelon, Pickled Rind ($5 during HH)

Speaking of chicken fried steak, how about some Chicken Fried Watermelon? The buttermilk batter surrounding the cubes of watermelon made the entire bite savory and sweet – while the pickled watermelon rind was just the perfect, barely-sour twist. I displayed probably my most thoughtful facial expressions as I piled in bite after bite.

Thai Mussels

Another one of my favorites were the Thai Mussels, which came on spoonfuls sitting in Green Curry Broth, Hamachi Salad, Coconut Jello, Scallion and Micro Cilantro. Curried mussels come and go, which is really no fault of anyone’s, but I appreciate the addition of the hamachi and coconut, which lightens things up and keeps the bite interesting.

The entrees are quite a jump, price-wise, from the various crudo, small plates (hot and cold) and cheese and charcuterie that VÅ« has to offer. But that really shouldn’t bother most because the smaller items on the menu are the most interesting, offering the biggest range during a night at VÅ«.

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

Happy Hour ($6 cocktails/wines, $4 tap & $5 small plates):
Mon – Fri: 4 – 7 PM
Sun: 8 PM – Close

VÅ« at Jamaica Bay Inn
4175 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
310.439.3033