November 1, 2010

Larchmont Bungalow, Mid-Wilshire

Larchmont Bungalow is located in Larchmont Village, a very charming shopping area in the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles. For those driving down Larchmont Boulevard, it might be very easy to miss the humble sign for this bungalow. Thankfully, there was a small crowd waiting outside and I knew we were at the right place. Everything about the Larchmont Bungalow reminded me of a cozy and charming home. There are three large picture windows in the front with a very inviting stair case to the french door entrance.

The inside is tastefully decorated with artist's work on the walls throughout the restaurant. To the left of the entrance is the in house coffee roaster and a counter with a tasteful display of coffees and teas.

To the right of the entrance are the "Order Here" stations and the oh so dangerous glass case of baked goods.

Large laminated menus are available in front of each cashier and can be picked up for customers to study before their turn to order. One side contains all the breakfast items and the other side lists all the lunch and dinner items. The good news is, breakfast is served all day at this bungalow, which is a huge plus in my book.

We were fortunate enough to bypass the line on the busy Sunday afternoon since the great people at Larchmont Bungalow invite us for a meal. The restaurant was so busy, I wondered why I was invited to review the restaurant. It seemed like they were doing really well. I did keep an eye on the line and it seemed to go by fairly quickly. Everything on the menu looked amazing and we gave Ken, the owner of Larchmont Bunglow the freedom to pick our dishes. Since the restaurant offers open seating, we opted to sit outside since the weather was perfect. I knew I was in good hands when I saw Cholula on the table. If there is one thing that I love with breakfast potatoes, it's a dash of Cholula sauce. Although we didn't receive any dishes with breakfast potatoes, I know it will be there for our next visit.

The service was very quick and friendly. The drinks came out a few minutes after we sat down and the food arrived about 10-15 minutes later. A very good pace considering how busy they were. I also noticed customers around us weren't waiting too long before they received their food. Benji, "the face of Larchmont Bungalow" also came by for a visit and we had a good chat about blogging and staying fit while attempting to eat the entire city. Benji made his way around to several tables and check in with customers, which I thought made this place feel even more like home. Now onto the food...

French roast

A nice french roast with a light and very smooth taste. No bitterness or sourness at all to the coffee and absolutely no need for sugar, cream, or anything else.

Mexican mocha

The Mexican mocha was a delightful surprise. This ice blended beverage has the perfect balance of cinnamon, milk, and sugar. No need for whipped topping because the drink has a natural frothiness. I think I just found my new favorite ice blended drink. They also offer a regular mocha made with Ghiradelli chocolate, which I am sure is just as good.

Seafood Breakfast Crepe

When this plate arrived, my mouth started watering just looking at the large chunks of lobster claw on top of the crepe. There is a very generous amount of lobster and shrimp mixed with spinach, scrambled eggs and roasted red peppers. The lobster and shrimp were cooked perfectly and everything was well seasoned. The tarragon hollandaise sauce was creamy yet light, which made for a wonderful compliment to the crepe. I haven't had many savory crepes, but I thought this crepe had a great texture and thickness. There was also a selection of fresh local fruits on the plate, which all tasted like they were in their prime.

Red and Blue Velvet Pancakes

These red and blue velvet pancakes are one of the specialties at Larchmont Bungalow. The plate arrived with three large and very thick pancakes each cut in half stuffed with cream cheese and topped with whipped cream cheese and toasted walnuts with a side of maple syrup. My eyes lite up when I saw this dish because I was really looking forward to it. If you are a fan of red velvet cake, you will become a fan of these pancakes. It's like tasting the shell of a pancake on the outside and a red velvet cake on the inside. The pancakes had just the right amount of sweetness and the walnuts were perfectly toasted. The pancake is so good on its own, there is almost no need for maple syrup. This dish has redefined pancakes for me and I cannot wait to have it again. This dish can be shared by at least two people and more if you order additional dishes.

Scallop and Shrimp Salad

Deep fried scallops and shrimp with shredded red and napa cabbage, enoki mushrooms, parsley, cilantro and mint tossed in a wonderful miso dressing and finished off with crunchy potatoes in place of croutons. The scallops and shrimps were perfectly cooked. I've never had scallops deep fried and really enjoyed it. The salad had just the right amount of dressing and all the ingredients were allowed to shine. The mint was a very refreshing touch and the potatoes stayed very crisp.

Sea bass

The last dish was a miso marinated sea bass with fried rice and salad. The two pieces of sea bass were both evenly and perfectly cooked. The miso flavor came through, but just the right amount so it didn't mask the natural flavor of the fish. The fried rice had asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, red peppers and a very generous amount of sliced avocado on top. All the vegetables were cooked just right and maintained a nice crunch. The mango, papaya and cucumber salad was a very nice touch and well paired with the peppery arugula.

The food at Larchmont is thoughtful, well balanced, refreshing, visually appealing and comforting. Add the cozy atmosphere and friendly, courteous staff and this restaurant has it all. Larchmont Bungalow is now one of my favorite casual restaurants in Los Angeles. This restaurant has brought back my confidence when it comes to ordering seafood. I'm usually hesitant to order seafood because it is so often overcooked or seasoned incorrectly, but I am 100% confident to order it at Larchmont Bungalow and cannot wait to try the rest of their seafood menu, including the grilled fish tacos. It has been a while since I had a meal where everything tasted spot on and the overall dining experience was flawless. It's hard to believe this place has only been open for a little over a year because it is already a well oiled machine. I would recommend this place to anyone without hesitation.

Larchmont Bungalow
107 N Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Larchmont Bungalow on Urbanspoon

There is metered parking along Larchmont Boulevard and street parking on residential streets.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused about the service you talk about in this review. I took my blind aunt here a couple weeks ago and there was no service to speak of. If you order drinks, you have to get them yourself (they certainly don't bring them to your table.) It was rather difficult to negotiate with a blind companion due to the crowd and the cluttered space. The only time you see someone serving is when they bring your food out, but before and after that you are on your own. You would think that at this price point they would provide better service. Maybe you had good service because they knew you would be reviewing them? I've eaten here twice and both times I've been disappointed with the food versus the value (and the non-existent service.)

Pinkfoodie said...

Hi Anonymous,

I'm sorry to read about your disappointment because Larchmont Bungalow has truly become one of my favorite casual restaurants.

Let me clarify on the service. The expectation at this restaurant is that the customer places an order, pays, receives a number, finds a place to sit and the food is brought out to the table. It is a very casual restaurant and they do not offer table service, similar to the way Urth Caffe is setup.

It is quite possible I received better service because the restaurant knew I was going to write a review, which is why i revealed that information. I did pay attention to the diners seated around me and noticed they received the same service.

The service is also based on busboys who were quick to refill waters and clear tables.

Thank you for your comment.

Pink Foodie