Neighborhood Cafe: Beverly Hills

14 May

Once upon a Saturday afternoon, I stumbled upon this just-barely-off-the-beaten-track Beverly Hills Sandwich Shop. I’m certainly glad I did.

Here’s the executive summary:
– The Zen sensibility of a sushi joint meets Soup, Salad, and a Sandie.
– You won’t be disappointed, it’s very good quality food at non-Beverly-Hills-prices.
– The details have been catered to, like dill in the Abacore Tuna Salad, Fruit Salad that is actually made of ripe fruit, and soup that you’ll kill for 365 days a year.
– Provides a sensible variety of sandwiches, Paninis, and Salads (and breakfast too).

The real test of a sushi restaurant, is the Tuna.  Anytime I sit down, armed with chopsticks, I must try the Tuna.  An example of excellent Tuna can be found at Asanebo in the valley, it’s just melt-in-your-mouth-delicious.  Terrible Tuna can be found at the Canal Club in Venice – the bright-off-purple chewy, stringy variety – that a bath of Wasabi and Soya sauce couldn’t come close to saving.  In the same vein, when I test out a sandwich shop (think Fred Segal), the tuna sandwich is the best test.  (by the way, Fred does a nice Tuna Sandwich, but that’s a different article)

As I walked down the ramp (accessible for all), I turned left, and saw what was an immaculate kitchen, and very simple straight forward display of specials, and menu items.  As a rule I try not to look at a menu as it simply clouds the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for decision making, and when I’m hungry, there are far too many factors that cloud the decision (as an aside, if you’re really hungry, it’s not good to look at a menu – you should let your emotions guide you, and ask the server for what you want, or see something you like, and order it – quick!).  The prefrontal cortex can only really manage 5 – 9 decision relevant criteria before is short circuits and you make a bad decision (like ordering the meatball sub at Subway), but I digress….

I ordered a half Albacore Tuna sandwich and soup of the day, which happened to be roasted vegetable.  As I placed the order at the counter and collected my silverware and napkins on the way to one of the bistro style tables, I couldn’t help but observe that all the details had been very nicely taken care of – drink selection, labels (any design student needs to go here just to view the space), displays with pretzels or mixed nuts to go, and the 18 foot bench that guards the middle wall with tables just in front.  I found the space allows you to fully concentrate on consuming your food…speaking of which.

The kinda-psychedelic colored tray arrived with a dark red, rich, bowl of vegetable soup, which was not your Campbells variety.  I immediately dipped my spoon in, and was shocked at the potent flavor, all natural, no cream, just carrots, tomatoes, onions, red peppers – I can only fault it for the one tone red color – had it just a few kernels of corn, it would have provided a nice contrast – but wait for it, the Tuna Sandwich, which had a piece of Dill peeking out the side of the lightly toasted bread, was also laden with a few kernels of CORN!  What a wonderful one-two punch!  The toasted bread didn’t tear up the top of your mouth, and the tuna salad wasn’t mayo-saturated…it was just enough moisture.  Both soup and salad were absolutely delicious.

I had a nice little bowl of fruit salad, composed of the light green stuff, the light orange stuff, and strawberries.  The strawberries were good, but what surprised me was the ripe honeydew melon and cantaloupe!  I guess I’ve been eating at Norms far too often…

This newly opened HOOD cafe is a very impressive newcomer, for Bev Hills Power lunchers, and casual diners alike, both of whom need-not pack a mighty monetary-punch to enjoy a quality lunch.

9464 Charleville Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212, 310-860-9004

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One Response to “Neighborhood Cafe: Beverly Hills”

  1. ShidaBear May 25, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    Can’t wait to try out the spot! Please keep the reviews coming as I’ll be strategically planning my itinerary of my next trip home in parallel with my tastebuds…

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