I took a family member to Barney Greengrass for breakfast this past Saturday morning and was a little disappointed. Some of the posts on this board and my internal optimism led me to believe that this was going to be the mother of all delis. Anthony Bourdain in his book (companion to the TV show) No Reservations, speaks lovingly about Barney Greengrass in NY. Beverly Hills seems not to have been blessed with the same quality establishment.
Barney Greengrass is located on the 5th floor of the Barneys department store in Beverly Hills. The dining room is upscale and very "undelilike." We opted to sit on the patio with a lovely view of the hills. For a restaurant 3/4's empty at 10:30am, I was a little surprised at how casual (read: slow) the service was. Simple tasks like coffee and water refills, more cream, checking back to see if we needed anything else, were slow, slow, slow. Also, watching one of the busboys recycle breadbaskets was a little disturbing. He would give the already used bread basket the once over, throw a few items away, add a few more etc...GROSS!
Now for the food:
We ordered a platter of sturgeon, nova lox and white fish salad. The platter was pretty enough and was garnished with two bagels (we opted for their famous, flown in form the east coast bialys), 4 slices of tomato, red onion, capers, cream cheese, lemons, a pile of fancy salad mix and coleslaw. ($45.50)
It's hard to say what the actual amounts of the fish were but I would describe them this way:
sturgeon - supposedly the cadillac of fish, very rare, found in Russian waters. Ours had a pleasant smoky flavor but was dry, dry, dry. At $60/lb I expected better. Enough to cover two bagel halfs.
whitefish salad - two good size scoops and no problems here. Very good quality whitefish with just the right amount of mayo and celery. Not too fishy. Very tasty.
nova lox - (not the salty kind) quantity was more here than the sturgeon, less than the white fish salad. Really some of the best I have had. Moist and meaty. The big question is though: Better then what you can get at Brent's Deli? No!
Here is where I get a little held up (like at gunpoint):
If you are going to serve me 3 kinds of fish give me more than two bagels. That third bialy I ordered cost me ($4.75). Brent's deli gives you three bagels with their fish platter. And by the way, I have never had a bialy w/o onions. These supposed east coast bagels fell very short of the real thing.
In the same vain, those extra 4 slices of tomato ($4.75) made me feel a little resentful. In my mind, it's like a lot of other things like TAXES for example. I would rather you charge me more up front than nickel and dime me.
Coffee ($3.75 each, $7.50 for 2 cups) was good. Their babka (Jewish coffee cake) was not; dry, dry, dry. Good for feeding the pigeons. By the way, if you want AWESOME babka, go to Jar for brunch. Their babka is killer while BG's babka tasted stale.
All told, food, tax, tip equaled a whopping $90.59 for two. I'm curious about the chopped liver and the deli sandwiches but honestly, I probably won't be back. There were aspects of my meal that were good but not enough for a return visit. Maybe a little select takeout with a side trip to a real bagel shop might be in order. I'm just curious what your experiences have been like HOUNDS?
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