BLD: Perfect for Any Occasion

By Abigail Lewis

BLD is like that all-purpose “little black dress” every woman is advised to have in her closet. Whether it’s morning pancakes or a mid-day carafe of French-press organic coffee, a kicked-back burger or an intimate dinner for two, this versatile restaurant dresses up or down for any occasion.

If you’re a breakfast lover, BLD makes the best blueberry pancakes in town. Be sure to ask for a side of creme fraiche, which also comes standard with brioche French toast. Organic omelets are fluffy and satisfying, but it was the Eggs Florentine with rapini that won my heart. Don’t miss the side of flaky, buttery, heavenly herb and cheese biscuit.

It’s no surprise that BLD does breakfast so well, since it was the morning meal that inspired its creation. Executive Chef Neal Fraser and his wife, Amy Knoll Fraser, were about to give birth to their daughter, Roan. Neal was cheffing at Grace, their upscale evening establishment further down Beverly, and mornings were their time to relax together.

“We wanted someplace we could go where we knew the food was going to be really good, but we could just roll out of bed if we wanted to,” remembers Amy. So they created this all-day eatery featuring “quick and easy food for foodies.”

Lunch and dinner selections on the locally-oriented menu include a range of salads, from standard Caesar to an appealing Hemp Crusted Tofu or House Cured Salmon. We opted instead for tomato soup, gorgeous in color but a bit thick and lacking tomato oomph. This is almost a good sign, an indication of honest fare — have you ever tasted a really good early Spring tomato? Didn’t think so.

In choosing my entree, I consulted Robert Weimer, one of BLD’s enthusiastic designers (along with Amy Fraser), who recommended the fish special: sauteed barramundi, a delicate Australian fish on a bed of caramelized fennel with tomato confit, wild mushrooms and fingerling potatoes. It was so melt-in-your-mouth succulent, I had to fend off my dinner partner’s marauding fork, although he fared nearly as well with Shrimp Cavatelli — large, seasoned shrimp gracing a gnocchi-like pasta prepared with mushrooms, peas and mascarpone.

Chef Michael Garber assured me that all sauces (except ketchup) are homemade, and the kitchen, so close to the Fairfax Farmers’ Market, uses organic, local and sustainable whenever possible. Although they don’t bill themselves as a Slow Food establishment, many of BLD’s purveyors are Slow Food purveyors. And BLD makes its own sausage, grinds its own meats for burgers, and uses Heritage pork and Rocky chicken. All fish is not wild-caught, but if you ask, you’ll get a straight answer.

Drink options include a limited but well-balanced wine list, premium beers, organic fresh juice and “dry soda” in intriguing flavors like kumquat and rhubarb.

Just be sure to leave space for dessert. Pillowy banana cream pie in a chocolate crust with caramel sauce and whipped cream is the perfect treat to send you off to dreamland.

BLD, 7450 Beverly Blvd, LA. 323.930.9744, open 8am-11pm every day.

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