Saturday, May 30

Culinary Connoisseur: Grub


911 Seward St., Hollywood


(Out Of 5)

Grub is so charming that first-time visitors are likely to turn into regular customers.

Co-owned by the bubbly Betty Fraser of Bravo’s hit reality television show “Top Chef,” Grub has been rated Los Angeles’ top brunch and lunch spot by CitySearch, and for good reason.

Even before ordering, Grub, located in a cozy bungalow in Hollywood, sets itself apart from other dining spots. The location itself is appealing: Outdoor seating on a patio surrounded by ivy is ideal on a sunny day, while the interior boasts hardwood floors and lots of natural lighting, creating a warm atmosphere.

Brunch, which is only served on the weekend, starts off with a twist ““ instead of the usual bread and butter basket, a mix of cereals is presented in a bright ceramic mug. Similarly, at lunch, diners are greeted with a selection of freshly cut vegetables to munch on while browsing the extensive soup, salad, sandwich and wrap options. This attention to detail is reflected in the cheery menu, which describes dishes with cheeky titles and plenty of adjectives (Friggin’ Amazin’ French Toast, anyone?).

For the most part, the dishes live up to their descriptions.

An order of that French toast, for example, brings a plate of cinnamon- and vanilla-scented croissant slices topped with tangy raspberry butter and chopped pecans, a surprising and welcome change from typical French toast. For those with big appetites in the morning, Mamacita’s Breakfast Burrito is a good choice. The huge flour tortilla arrives brimming with nicely spiced scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes and melted cheese, though more of the promised chorizo sausage would be appreciated.

The star of the lunch menu is a grilled cheese/tomato soup combo billed as the “After School Special.” A mix of gooey cheddar and Swiss cheeses is sandwiched between two slices of golden, dill-flecked toast, accompanied by a bowl of creamy tomato soup. It’s an updated, delicious re-creation of a favorite childhood meal. There are lots of other sandwiches to choose from, including traditional options such as the BLT or tuna melt and more adventurous options like a Brie and fig sandwich or a white truffle burger ““ something to please all tastes.

Though a bit pricey for student budgets (brunch options range from $7.95-$15.95, while most sandwiches and salads will set you back $10), the freshness of ingredients and the overall quality of the food makes it money well spent. After eating at Grub, it will be hard to go back to dining hall omelets and Bruin Café sandwiches.

While it is difficult to find fault with the food served at Grub, there are some areas that could be improved. Its limited hours (Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday through Friday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.) make it hard to visit, and Hollywood is not exactly as convenient as Westwood. The staff is extremely friendly, referring to customers as “honey” and “sweetie,” but service can be a bit slow, especially on the weekends when the place is usually packed (this can also make it fairly loud inside).

Still, with Mother’s Day just around the corner, Grub would be the perfect place to bring Mom for an enjoyable brunch. Actually, even if you don’t have a holiday to celebrate, you should still find a reason to make the trek over to Grub.

““ Elizabeth Packer

E-mail Packer at [email protected]

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