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Location, Location, Location: Brunch at Tavern

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Once upon a time, 11648 San Vicente Blvd in Brentwood was a Hamburger Hamlet. Yawn, right? Yes, the Hamlet had its heyday here in Los Angeles, but it's been a long time since the chain served anything to write (home) about. But if the three most important considerations in real estate are location, location, and yup, you guessed it, location, well, Tavern wound up with a prime piece of it. What you might not ever guess--if you didn't know it--is that this beautiful eatery, with its skylight-lit atrium dining room, plush seating, warm gray tones matched with airy cream colors, and wooden floors was once a Hamlet.

Tavern's Brunch menu is quite the draw, with an enticing mix of interpretations of savory egg dishes, sweet treats, and baked goods from the restaurant's larder. Our group's table, at the back of the atrium room, meant we had a full view of the beautiful decor, but also the full power of the midday sun beating down on us (uncomfortably hot!) and had to navigate the lovely-to-look-at but a little in the way olive trees planted inside the floor of the room. To take the edge off is a very appealing list of brunch cocktails, many of which are gin-based, and use fresh ingredients ideal for early in the day, like the Ginger Rogers (plymouth gin, mint, ginger syrup & soda) or the Queen Mary (beefeater gin, cucumber & tomato juice).

Not opposed to sharing, each diner at our table selected something different from the menu and offered tastes to the whole group. The Tavern “Benedict” was a hit, with its airy and lemony sauce atop perfectly poached eggs and prosciutto standing in for the usual thicker wedge of Canadian bacon. The Wild Mushroom Frittata was earthy and hearty, and the herb-laced potatoes a rich and indulgent side offering. The Brisket Hash used those same potatoes in its base, mixed with tender brisket in a sweet, rich, sauce. The Lemon-Ricotta pancakes were divine; light, with a prominent but not cloying taste of lemon and drizzled in a fresh berry sauce.

More lunch-like alternatives on the menu complement the breakfast offerings. The Chopped Chicken salad was a filling take on a Cobb salad, dotted with generous hunks of bacon and tangy blue cheese. And The Pilgrim sandwich gives a homey taste of the holidays with roasted turkey, stuffing, and cranberry, and sweet potato chips on the side. If you can find the room, a basket of assorted pastries let you taste the wonderful bounty of the bakery; try the Monkey Bread!

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With a cocktail and an entree Tavern can turn out to be a bit more of a budget-buster than you might want to spend, but as a once-in-a-while treat or a special occasion destination it makes a perfect choice. You can also try Tavern on the casual side by taking a table in the larder section (just peek back into that lovely, albeit swelteringly hot in some spots, back room). They also serve lunch and dinner, and have a cozy bar with its own menu.

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