Kid Hit Menu Items: Where to start at Little Dom’s, especially during weekend brunch? How about by tossing out all the strict food rules with a Nutella panino ($5). Blueberry and ricotta cheese pancakes ($8), the portion size of which is perfect for a four- and one-year-old, but if you’ve got bigger kids with bigger appetites, then I recommend one order per. These pancakes alone are so fluffy and flavorful that we hardly get the usual pleas for syrup. Pressed sandwiches, such as grilled cheese or the fried egg breakfast combo, at Little Dom’s Deli next door make for a perfect alternative. You can then bring home olive oil cakes and the rich chocolate budino or panna cotta in individually sealed jars ($3.75 ea).
Adult Perks: Little Dom’s has a full liquor license, so until the recent addition of Big Bar at Alcove, this bar was the only serious place to get good drinks in the immediate area. Both Dom’s and Little Dom’s have a new exciting fall cocktail list; I gotta try the Aviation with Aviation gin, lemon, créme Yvette and maraschino. Mimosas, Bloody Marys, and a few surprises round out the beverage choices at brunch. As for food, I love the poached eggs fungi with roasted mushrooms and fennel pollen hollandaise over grilled toast. For a substantial lunch I’ll go for Little Dom’s soft gnocchi, even if they’re a bit heavily sauced. Make sure to get a side order of skillet-fried potatoes tossed with a generous amount of garlic, and/or an order of fried rice balls. Cracker-thin crust pizzas are great if you’re eating in the restaurant and don’t plan to carry them out. Note that Dominick’s on Beverly near Cedars serves the same fantastic brunch but with more manageable crowds.
A moment of bad kid restaurant behavior and a curious onlooker inside Little Dom’s.
Pros: The cooking shows off some twists on red checker tablecloth faves (you can get your spaghetti and meatballs) matched with California consciousness, along with some New Orleans flavor, thanks the NOLA native chef, Brandon Boudet. Tables, banquettes and booths inside, plus outdoor tables on what the hostess might refer to as the “patio” — or the area I perhaps more accurately call the “sidewalk” — allows for a different seating options. They’ll bring slabs of paper and crayons, and they’ve even stored the stroller in that cleverly hidden handicap elevator next to the bar. The original Dominick’s has that roomy interior patio/outdoor room.
Cons: Little Dom’s is manageable mostly during off-peak times, and has nice long hours. Don’t even think of going for Monday prix fixe supper unless you arrive at opening. Brunch gets kind of nuts. This weekend it was packed by 10 a.m., probably because of the time change, and by the time we left the crowd spilled out onto the sidewalk. If sidewalk tables on Avocado can get sunny but the roll-down shades help.The poached eggs funghi and killer potatoes.
Changing Station: No
High Chairs: Yes
Parking and Access: Metered and non-metered street parking, or valet in evenings.Little Dom’s deli next door alternative.
Other Tidbits: After Little Dom’s opened, everyone instantly forgot what was had been on the corner of Hillhurst and Avocado before. That’s because the space’s previous occupant, Belle Epoque, hung around just like a lot of the other mediocre restaurants and cafés in Los Feliz STILL do. It’s all too easy to get lazy in a neighborhood filled with people who like to go out. Thank goodness owner Warner Ebbink saw this perfect opportunity to bring a smaller scale iteration of Dominick’s, with a well thought out, cool but unpretentious vintage feel. A friend once said Little Dom’s brought their “Westside attitude” with them, but now that’s hardly the case. We always get super friendly and courteous service, even during busy times, and they do their best to accommodate. And there’s always Little Dom’s Deli if you want to avoid the rush and pick out a sandwiches, pre-made salads and such from the case to eat in or to-go. The shaved ice machine might be gone, much to the dismay of our son, but there’s still other treats … or better yet, head to Gelato Bar down the street.
2128 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz
(Alternately, the original Dominick’s is at 8715 W. Beverly Blvd.)
Hours: Monday – Thursday and Sunday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., 6 p.m. – midnight.