Passing By: House Café on Beverly
House Café offers traditional American food with a heavy Mexican influence. The restaurant is located near Crescent Heights and Beverly Blvd, sandwiched between The Grove and The Beverly Hills Mall. We've (wife and I) visited this restaurant several times, here are our impressions of our most recent visit.
There is only metered parking for the restaurant. It can get expensive (25 cents for only 15 minutes), so if you can find neighborhood parking or come before the meter starts operating that would be optimal. On Sunday House Café opens at 9am and the meters start at 11am, so if you go then, you can have a nice relaxed breakfast.
In this visit we had breakfast. We ordered a bruschetta with poached eggs and the Rueben sandwich special.
The presentation for the bruschetta and eggs was very nicely done. If you take a look at the photos on their website, plating is very important to the restaurant. While it looked great, the taste was only average. The potato, especially the outer shell, was tough and harder than it should be to separate and eat. The bruschetta and eggs looked nice in presentation, but trying to actually eat it was a task. The egg falls down and the tomato bits fall to the side when you apply any pressure with a fork and knife. Eating it by using your hands would have been too messy. Overall it was good, but the potato could have been fresher. I didn't get to sample her sandwich but she gave it thumbs up.
We've been here a couple of times so we can comment on some of the menu items. The croissant French toast is really great. If you're having breakfast there I highly recommend it. Overall, you can't go wrong with their salads, with the burrata caprese being my favorite. For entrees the turkey chili is worth eating for the experience. They bring it to you in a skillet bowl and it wasn't that spicy.
The service at the Café is wanting. The waiters themselves are friendly and kind, but even in non-rush hours the Café is understaffed. This causes a long wait to start your order, receive your meal, and if you're lucky, for a waiter to check if you're ok at least once. On the most recent visit, one couple walked out because they had been waiting for 15 minutes for a drink and another couple argued with the waiter on waiting for over 20 minutes for just a bagel. For us, we were there one hour and our waiter never came once to check if our water needed to be refilled or if we were ok.
For a place of that size, having a secondary server help alleviate the stress put on the primary waiters. Usually at the café there are only two to three waiters but no secondary servers to help out with the small details. Things like like cleaning the tables, refilling drinks or coffee, and making sure the minor tasks are taken care of. This creates a bigger burden for the few waiters there, already walking around in a hurried pace to get everything done.
Earlier I mentioned the heavy Mexican influence. In their daily and blackboard specials, there are a lot of Spanish dishes offered. They even have a special four course Mexican special every Sunday and Monday. In the menu, you'll see a lot of items with chorizo, jalapenos, and other Mexican condiments. It's really nice that they are giving a focus on a particular cuisine. It's American food, but they also let the chef play to his strengths.
In terms of pricing, it is in an uncomfortable place. It isn't cheap but it also isn't expensive. If the place had better service I could justify the cost but for those prices it would be best to go to a place that is more responsive.
If you want to try something different and you don't mind waiting then we recommend this restaurant. It's not so great for a short meal, but if you're there with friends and you know you're going to spend a lot of time socializing, this is the perfect place.
Have you been to this restaurant? Share your thoughts and let us know!
Quick notes for this restaurant: