One of my favorite breakfasts is a short stack of pancakes, bacon and a good cup of coffee. Seems pretty simple, huh? Well, this is a tale of two breakfasts that although they sound the same, couldn't be more different. Last night I went to Dupar's in Studio City and ordered the aforementioned short stack, bacon and coffee. I might also mention that previously I had only been to Dupar's for breakfast. I ordered this meal as a "number 1" as in the number one special. When the waiter asked me what kind of dressing I wanted on my salad, I clarified that I wanted the breakfast special #1. While I am waiting, I'm drinking my coffee (Farmer Bros) and thinking that this is the weakest cup of coffee I have ever had. Fast forward: Pancakes arrive with drawn butter on the side (like what you would get with a lobster tail) instead of whipped, and a plate of 4 strips of bacon instead of the two I expected. The bacon, while perfectly crisp and tasty too, was thin and of marginal quality. Next the pancakes: two were perfectly cooked, one over cooked. The issue though is that they were dry, really dry; so much so that it took two sides of syrup to make them passable. My meal ends, check comes and the total is a WHOPPING $14 (tax included) not including tip! It seems that the #1 breakfast special is only offered 6-11am for $7.95. Otherwise, the pancakes are $5.95, side of bacon $3.95 and coffee $1.95. With tax and tip, this was over a $16.00 meal. Now, I am not cheap. In fact, I think that there is no such thing as an expensive "good" meal only an expensive "bad" one. Dupar's is average at best. I don't see why people go on and on about how great their pancakes are.
Compare this with virtually the "same" breakfast I had at The Original Pancake house in Redondo Beach a couple of weeks ago. Same deal: Short stack of pancakes, bacon and coffee. In this case the pancakes are the 49er flapjacks which are the size of a plate, thin, moist, chewy and a bargain at $6.99. The bacon is thick sliced with a slight smokey flavor and of the highest quality; $3.79 for 4 slices. Finally, the coffee. It's their own premium roast and it is yummy $2.25. The place is always packed and there is always a wait. They are only open for breakfast and lunch. This meal cost $15 (tax included) not including tip. To be fair, I think that Dupar's is going for that retro dive diner feel and Original House of Pancakes is likely catering to a different audience. The differences between the two are VERY striking in terms of quality of ingredients. Your thoughts fellow chowhounds?