Thursday, December 8, 2011

brunch at artisan house

As frequent visitors to Bottega Louie (I'm pretty sure we've eaten close to 50 Bianco pizzas between the two us), we were elated to hear that another market/bistro-style restaurant was coming to town (downtown, that is).

We headed over to Artisan House for brunch this past weekend as soon as we heard the restaurant had soft opened. The market was abundant. Shelves and shelves of produce, dry goods, wine, beer, produce, and even eggs and milk. I didn't notice any marked prices, so I couldn't figure out how reasonable it would be to shop here as opposed to your neighborhood Ralphs. But, if you're ever in a rush, the store seems like it's got what you need.

Artisan House is split into a sandwich and deli counter (in the corner of the market) and full service in the beautiful restaurant/bar area. We glanced over the sandwich menu -the vegetarian cold cut (with quinoa salami) and truffle chicken salad sandwiches caught my eye - but our group was in the mood for a sit-down meal.

Before we took our seats, I spotted their potato salad with just-set hard boiled eggs from the deli counter. It looked amazing, and I could not get it out of my head. I begged our server to bring over a dish to our table, but he said he wasn't allowed to get anything from the deli. Weird, right? I mean, we would have paid for it obviously.

The restaurant offers a few tableside service items. I love this old school preparation, so we made sure to order a serving of the tuna tartare. The dish came on a beautiful wooden cart and our server artfully mixed together the tuna, quail egg, aged balsamic, and seasonings. The tartare was fresh with just the right amount of kick. Just about everyone around us ordered it as well and you could see smiles and nods across their faces.

I'm a sucker for fried eggs and anything French, so naturally I ordered the croque madame. Most croque madames come swimming in bechamel. Don't get me wrong, I love buttery cream sauces, but when there's too much the bread gets sort of soggy and your plate is so unappetizingly messy. Served on a wooden block with a small side salad, this sandwich's presentation was pristine. The ham was deliciously smoky and well balanced against the creamy cheese and luxurious sauce and egg yoke.

Josh ordered one of the richest brunch dishes I've ever heard of - chicken fried pork with a thick potato pancake, redeye gravy, and a poached egg. If I ate this whole dish, I think I'd need a full day of rented movies on the couch. But I definitely tried a bite of it, and - oh my - it was heaven. The redeye gravy has a big coffee punch, which compliments the savoriness of the pork batter. The pork is incredibly juice, but manages to retain its crispy coating from its chicken-fried preparation. The potato pancake was crispy with a creamy interior - reminded me of my mom's famous latkes.

You know those commercials for all those hungry men's oversized frozen meals? Yeahhhhh, this dish is for you. You won't leave hungry. Promise.

We're excited to return - especially for a cocktail. We'll be sure to report.

Artisan House
600 S Main St
Los Angeles 90014

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