More, Please: The Sycamore Kitchen

by Jessica on August 3, 2012

Kid Hit Menu Items:
There’s sure to be a lot to add to this category when breakfast and brunch service starts any day now, but until the croque madame, buttermilk parsley pancakes and cinnamon brioche French toast start coming out of the Sycamore Kitchen’s double stainless doors, we’re all set. I’ve regularly been picking up the ridiculous soft and gooey salted caramel babka rolls to bring home, a brilliant updated riff on Jewish pastry. A slice of filling bacon leek quiche ($8) was enough for me and an almost 3-year-old to share. The Chinoix salad, loaded with chicken, sliced marcona almonds, shredded cabbage and tart apple slivers has become my go-to pick-up travel food item before heading to LAX, and it’s a Jessica Seinfeld-style hit: turns out my boys will eat the proteins and veggies/fruit in it.

Adult Perks: A barista dude makes the Stumptown coffee on a La Marzocco. The counter is brimming with baked goods, many with whole grains and unconventional ingredients (quinoa muffin, gluten-free banana chocolate muffin), and gorgeous salads to help offset indulgence. Familiar foods are improved upon thanks to the Hatfields’ finesse. Don’t expect an average, typical mozzarella and tomato sandwich; this version has olive tapenade with braised fennel pieces to temper the savory whomp. It’s a decidedly daytime place with no booze (and probably no license), though.

The front patio is brilliant for a few reasons. The recessed space adds some human-scaled element for the revamped stretch of La Brea that’s desperate for pedestrian traffic (and landscaping) apart from American Rag across the street. Artist Mark Caplan’s gate of triangular panels is beautifully sculptural and functional with an eye-catching visual rhythm — it’s a good neighbor companion for new S. Fairey wall art. And there’s plenty of room for kids to do what they gotta do after breakfast or lunch is over. Or strollers and gear can easily fit inside Sycamore Kitchen without disturbing anyone.

Cons: That patio is REALLY glaringly bright; maybe grown-in plants will help soften the harsh sun in combination with the umbrellas. No phone orders available yet. Bread is currently only for sandwiches, not for sale as whole loaves.

Changing Station: Yes!

High Chairs: Yes

Parking and Access: Meters on La Brea are available, but they’ve added valet service during busier lunch times. So if you find a space on La Brea closer to 1st Street, grab it.

Other Tidbits: Karen and Quinn Hatfield have the L.A. fine dining routine down, so it’s a fitting move to go the way of other high-end chefs looking for a soulful project that reaches a wider but local crowd. No modernist presentations or exacting plating here, which is absolutely a place they could easily bring their own kids. I find myself at Sycamore Kitchen more often than I ever expected to, but since I can’t go there without running into a fellow parent from my son’s school, clearly I’m not alone in this routine. (I haven’t yet been to the other new coffee joint across the street in the old City Cafe building.) The thick rye chocolate chip cookie might be my new favorite in L.A.; a small saucer-sized disc with bittersweet laced throughout that cuts through its hefty crumb. Neither completely chewy nor brittle, but alternating bites seem to provide the best of each. I seriously hope I never serve my homemade chocolate chip cookies to anyone who has recently eaten Sycamore Kitchen’s.


143 S. La Brea Avenue, Mid-City
(323) 939-0151
Cuisine: Bakery/Café
Price: $$
Hours: Open 7 days

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Diana August 4, 2012 at 10:06 pm

That quiche (and, well, everything) looks outrageous. I’m actually afraid to go here because I have absolutely no resolve when it comes to sweet baked things. Not even the quinoa muffin and salad could save me here.


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