John O' Groats
10516 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
8.17.06 - Friday, 9:00 AM
John O' Groats is massively adored. I have some friends who swear it's the best breakfast joint in LA. They'll wait for over an hour on a weekend for a table, and rave all the way home. I've been twice now, and I hate to say it, but the hullabaloo is overdone. Groats is good. Sometimes really good. But not the best, by a long shot. I've given it a go twice now, sampling all kinds of dishes, and I'm just not tasting greatness.
Val was my companion this time - one of the Groats believers. He has his birthday breakfast here every year, and loves to sit at the counter. This was the only spot available when we arrived, and so he got his way. I had a corner spot, a rounded edge, with a immovable chair that left me sitting at an awkward angle. Bah. But hey, we didn't wait long. That's quite the victory here.
Service is disinterested but efficient. The specials *do* always sound good. But the execution is always a disappointment. This time around, Val had a special and I ordered what is supposed to be their signature dish - worshipped by many. Here comes the lowdown:
We had coffee and water - both rather oogie. The coffee is all-diner style - watery and only a dab of flavor.
Huevos O' Groats
* A tortilla made out of biscuit dough, served with black beans, sour cream, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, and 2 eggs, over easy, with a side of home fries
On paper - hell yes this sounds good! But it came out a little on the cold side, with runny as can be beans (apparently draining is not their forte). Everything was bland. The tortilla made out of biscuit dough seems like a dose of brilliance, but within a few seconds, it was soggy and tasteless. Likewise with the home fries. Not a top tier breakfast. I would not order this again.
Frittata with Spinach, Crab, and Tomatoes
* Stuffed to the brim with the above ingredients
THIS was a much better creation. Absolutely loaded with all the crab and spinach you could want, with fresh 'maters too. Nice firm consistency, warm and tasty. Still not BEST BREAKFAST EVER material, but totally solid.
The damage for two coffees and two breakfast entrees was about $36, before tip. Too expensive for what we had by about $10.
RESTAURANT REPORT CARD - John O' Groats, Visit 2
Ambiance - C
Service - C+
Food (Taste) - C+
Food (Presentation) - C
Wine/Drinks - C
Value - C
Vibe/Energy/Scene - B-
Overall Experience - C
Final word - If it's Val's birthday breakfast, yes, I'll be back, but I won't ever be the one to scream "Let's go to Groats!"