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Breakfast at LA Mill
When it opened back in January, Silver Lake's boutique coffeehouse LA Mill had LAist wondering if the food was really worth the cash (let alone the hype). Now that the buzz has thankfully died down, it was time for another trip to the coffee brewing mecca to sit down and have a proper breakfast.
The atmosphere inside LA Mill was exactly as one might expect; elegantly laid back, cluttered near the front with people waiting for counter service, tables dotted with a range of folks from scruffy to well-heeled to former WB teen soap stars. The self-absorbed could have a field day finding their own face in the many reflective surfaces, including the tables, which now bear perma-rings from the cups and saucers. There was time to drink it all in (and in and in) before even ordering a drink, because the service was incredibly slow.
Initially, what our server lacked in speed she made up for in knowledge. She knew her way around each brewing method and coffee bean and, like a sommelier, could pair a cup of joe with our craving ("bright and bold with no bitterness" for example got us a cup of Ethiopian). The coffee was lovely, although beware, this isn't Starbucks, so while you've got yourself some great beans, you might not be accustomed to the murkiness of the brew, which leaves a bit of sediment in your cup. The flavors are inherently more complex, definitely constituting their ideal of a "coffee experience" as opposed to the ol' regular caffeine fix.
For breakfast we ordered two different egg dishes, the Hueveos "Blanchet" (soft scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, chives, beurre blanc, asparagus) and the Mushroom (baked eggs with a topping of wild mushrooms, herbs, and lardons of bacon). After another very long wait the breakfasts appeared finally, but one attempt to get the fork to retrieve a bite revealed that the scrambled eggs were more solid than soft and the baked eggs were baked and set--wave a hand over the plate and note the lack of heat, take that bite and realize you're eating utterly cold food. Not good for delicate egg dishes that are priced between $10-12.
Our server was dismayed to hear the food was cold and took the plates away and promised fresh ones. And in the meantime, would we like to try another cup of coffee? It hadn't been our plan to get another $3-4 small cup, but since she was offering and we had to endure another wait, we thought we'd take her up, so two house brews were brought out to us. Meanwhile, we'd held onto our side of "Not quite French Toast" which is two slices of brioche toast coated with caramelized vanilla-cinnamon-sugar. It's yummy, but it's really just cinnamon toast you're shelling out $4.50 for. That layer of sweetness atop the somewhat dry bread creates a nice balance and makes for a tasty nibble on the side. (Suggestion to LA Mill: Rename it "Absolutely nothing in the slightest like French Toast.")
The eggs dishes returned anew soon after, and this time they were hot. What a difference! The baked eggs' sweet and tangy yolk pooled atop the firmness of the egg white and had just the right hint of salt sprinkled on it; paired with a bite of the woodsy mushrooms and the rich, smoky bits of bacon and it was divine. The scrambled eggs' warmth and fluffiness contrasted perfectly with the cool firmness of the smoked salmon, which is served cubed instead of in shreds, bearing more of a resemblance to a Hawaiian poke dish. The asparagus were tender and flavorful, like a bright bite of springtime. Although those who are looking to settle down to a Lumberjack's portion of hash browns and griddle-slick eggs with a rasher of bacon and a side of butter-heavy bread will be disappointed at the modest portions, fans of thoughtful food created with balances of texture and flavor in mind and that utilizes high-quality ingredients will be delighted. (The menu was created by Providence's Executive Chef, Michael Cimarusti.)
A breakfast at LA Mill won't break the bank, but it is more of a place to go every now-and-then as opposed to every day, unless your coffee purism is that well-toned. Our bill was as expected, except for one small detail--those coffees we thought were being offered to us to make up for the cold egg dishes were on our tab, which certainly deflated the balloon of good will and thoughtful customer service we'd attributed to our server. Ouch, LA Mill, that was a rude awakening!
1636 Silver Lake Boulevard, Silver Lake