It's amazing how often I feel like NOT cooking and tonight was no different. Mr. Borscht and I decided to eat out at Larchmont Bungalow located in?... Yes! Larchmont Village.
Very often Mr. Borscht and I come to Larchmont Village as it is fairly close to our home, we go there for the Sunday Farmer's Market, for coffee and for food. Made up of a short 2 blocks with restaurants, cafes and boutique shops it is quite charming if I do say so myself.
Saturdays and Sundays we are often there for coffee, Mr. Borscht has just found his new love for Hazelnut coffee at the Larchmont Bungalow, he raves about it madly as if raving alone wasn't good enough. Sadly, we've succumbed to getting our Hazelnut coffee at the Bungalow in the evenings since we've found that roughly from morning to lunch the Bungalow is absolutely packed with a long line that nearly reaches the door, one can bet that this is the way it will be every weekend morning.
I have had a rather good couple of experiences there with their plain black coffee (they roast their own beans) as well as their lunch and breakfast food. The fruit is undeniably always fresh and yummy with watermelon and an assortment of sweet berries, and equally delish is their open faced sandwich (I forget which one I had).
This evening I came with high hopes to taste the same kind of appetizing food.
We ordered at the counter as is the way in the Bungalow and with a slight headache I've fought all day I've decided on plain black coffee to start the dinner. The coffee itself looked a bit murky and thick, the color was off, I took a sip- it was but warm, a bit sour and much too bitter- in short it was terrible. I should have taken this for a sign, but what is one to do? Dinner had already been ordered. Instead I asked for a 2nd cup which they offered to freshly brew- much MUCH better. I took a sip and sighed in relief.
I ordered the Country Ham Sandwich with a side of french fries, the sandwich was supposed to come with brie cheese which they had run out of, so I substituted with blue cheese, "light on the cheese" I said knowing that blue cheese can be, even in little quantities, quite pungent. I've had a similar sandwich, very tasty, at The Farm and opted to order it here at the Bungalow to see how it would compare, it just so happened that it didn't compare at all.
This fateful night I realized the truth about Bungalow, they lack a true chef in the kitchen. I came to this realization when I ordered light on the substituted blue cheese and my first bite into that Country Ham Sandwich was most definitely NOT LIGHT on the blue cheese, by the time I got to the middle of the sandwich each bite was semi-oozing. Had there been a real chef behind those doors slaving away in the kitchen they would have made the connection themselves that blue cheese was too over-whelming for the taste of this sandwich and would have indeed gone LIGHT and probably without instructions to do so, but this was not the case and I left half my sandwich on my plate.
I then tried to save the dinner by eating my french fries which was sadly tasteless and most obviously not fresh. The only thing I did like on my plate... and you'll probably laugh at this, was their chipotle ketchup. Between the sandwich and the french fries the chipotle ketchup was the winner.
I can say a few things to excuse the sandwich, I ordered the wrong dish, they didn't have brie, it was close to closing time, I started off on the wrong foot with bad coffee... but I WILL NOT excuse the sandwich nor the french fries, because in my mind there's no excuse for a bad dish in a restaurant where food is the business - food is what they do and so it should deliver.
On the other hand Mr. Borscht was quite pleased with his Salmon crepe and side of fruit.
This is the first time he's gotten something to eat here at the Bungalow and I was happy that at least one of us was satisfied. I took a few bites to taste and immediately thought the soft floppy crepe was a bit off-putting as i'm used to eating crepes with a slightly crispy outer layer. However, if one doesn't mind a floppy crepe this is one dish that can be seen as appetizing at Larchmont Bungalow. Once again the fruit (made up of watermelon, berries, grapes & etc) didn't fail to deliver, and was as delish as it was when I had a fruit bowl there one morning not too long ago.
What it comes to down to for me is that I was fairly disappointed, I had high hopes based on my other experiences there and they were dashed. It was quite a rude awakening for me to know that a true chef is lacking in the kitchen, images of a line of faux-cooks following orders and recipes is what I can't but help to imagine. In which case the price is too expensive for the quality of food though it does come out beautifully plated and would seem that you're paying more for the quantity (which is rather a large portion). The service was accommodating, helpful and friendly. The atmosphere? Charming.
You can trust that the coffee when freshly brewed will be worth it, the fruit seems always to be fresh and berrilicious and the food? Well... tasty when carefully chosen.
1 Salmon Crepe (incl side of fruit)
1 Country Ham Sandwich (incl side of french fries)
2 Black coffees
The Damage: $33.33
107 N. Larchmont Blvd
LA CA 90004