After seeing the feature blurb in LA Magazine this month about Comme Ca, and knowing the stellar reputations, cooking and baking of David and Michelle Myers from Sona and Boule, my girlfriend and I eagerly ventured there for "brunch" this past Saturday. Although some of the favorable notices they may have gotten for dinner might indeed be well deserved, I can say with authority that brunch there was a total disaster -- to such an extent that I would not return for a second try.
We arrived around 1PM to find that what we thought would be lunch was instead "brunch" (which is served only on Saturdays and Sundays). That would not be a problem for us at many restaurants, but here brunch means there is not a salad or piece of fish to be had on the menu. Every dish involved eggs, red meat or cheese, except for their version of french toast. Apparently, that menu is all that is available until 2:30.
Adventurous types that we are, we chose to get with the program and order anyway, notwithstanding we would have preferred other items that are normally available on their lunch menu during the week. We ordered the omelette with fine herbes and the Angus beef hamburger, which I asked be cooked medium well. The waiter asked my girlfriend "Would you like french fries or potatoes with the omelette?" and she picked the french fries. He then asked if she "would like toast or our special English muffin" and she picked the muffin.
Thirty-five minutes later, we had not seen any food at all. What we did notice, to our horror, from our vantage point right next to the cheese counter (which, in all fairness, looked like it included some impressive cheeses) was that there was no "dedicated" person behind the cheese counter preparing cheese plates. Instead, we saw our waiter, without washing his hands after handling his order paid, his pen, plates, glasses (and who knows what else) handling the cheeses with his bare hands! At one point, he needed to put some jam on one plate with particular order, and he pushed the jam off a spoon onto the plate with his fingers.
After almost 40 minutes, our patience was exhausted and we finally asked the waiter where our food was. He replied "Brunch isn't really our strong suit here." The manager came over when he saw us looking around and asked if there was a problem. We said that not being served almost 40 minutes after ordering was definitely a problem. Within another five minutes, my burger arrived not as a I ordered it, but blood rare, along with its fries, as well as my girlfriend's fries and English muffin . . .but no eggs. The waiter came by a few minutes later to report "I'm sorry, but they burned your omelette." The omelette eventually arrived, and we both agreed that even the omelettes at Le Pain Quotidien are much better and much more fairly priced.
When the check arrived, I was a bit surprised to learn that, unlike virtually every other restaurant in the civilized world that asks if you'd like fries or potatoes or toast or an English muffin with your omelette, because those sides come with the eggs, here all of those items are extra! At that point, we had no energy left to complain, so I just paid the check and left . . . never to return. It's very sad, because they just might be a good place for dinner, but their brunch service was so disorganized, and their health standards in the handling of their cheeses (at least on this occasion) so shocking, that it doesn't encourage one to try any other meals there. Perhaps they have a dedicated cheese person for the dinner service, and perhaps the kitchen is more efficient and organized then. We have no intention of finding out.
PLEASE NOTE: The place was packed with people who at least seemed to be enjoying themselves, so our viewpoint might be in the minority.