I have been on a quest for the best breakfast on the planet for some time now, and today that quest took me and three friends to the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. Expectations were high, given that there were some Four Seasons fanatics in the group.
They have a broad menu, so even with four diners, we were only able to try about half the menu items.
Our order was:
- Crab hash with poached eggs and chipotle hollandaise
- Lobster and shrimp frittata
- Belgian waffle with double orange cream, candied pecans, and fresh raspberries
- Omelette of ham, swiss and mushrooms, with tomato confit and roasted potatoes
- One of every muffin available - zuchinni pear, banana walnut, blueberry, bran raisin.
- One of every meat available - chicken apple link, turkey herb patty, pork link, applewood bacon
- Sourdough and raisin toast
- OJ, grapefruit juice and coffee
Yes, all this for just four people. I told you, I'm serious about this quest.
After much plate sharing, the verdict was:
- the common omelette was the top pick. Perfectly prepared, no brown edges and no slime. Mushrooms were shiitake, ham was chunky, cheese was pungent. Tomato confit was DELICIOUS (order some extra, it's that good). Potatoes were PERFECTLY soft, brown, cooked through, but not overdone.
- next best item - waffle. orange cream dollops were great topping, almost denecessitating the jug of real maple syrup
- crab hash was beautiful and serviceable. tons of good crab meat, not overloaded with filler (potatoes, onions, etc.). But the taste was just slightly above average. Poached eggs were perfectly done. Chipotle hollandaise was okay. Slightly industrial (not IHOP industrial, just not as good as it should be for the bad diet juju it carries).
- the frittata failed to medal. the lobster and shrimp were great, but the eggs overpowered them both. maybe if they did it with eggwhites (or fewer than full # of yolks) it would have shined more.
- muffins - excellent. crumbly tops, moist middles. great variety and great taste.
- toast - common, across the board.
- sausages - turkey herb had quite good flavor, but dry. both links were nicely browned, but pretty common.
- bacon - very good. crispy, smoky, salty, well balanced between fat and meat, perfectly prepared.
- OJ and grapefruit juice - common. I've seen the Four Seasons do FAR better with juices in the past. These were fresh squeezed, but fell short of being worth it.
- Coffee - Excellent. And they leave the $7 pot on the table so you can refill your own. That leads you to drink three pots, and then to be relieved when the check comes, and you see that they only billed you $5.50 x 3 pots (or maybe it was $5.50 x 3 people). One of us drank espresso and latte concoctions.
So, what have we learned?
The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills serves a VERY good breakfast, with flashes of brilliance and true excellence. The service is resort-like, and warm. Perhaps we got slightly warmer than normal treatment (the manager swung by at one point, I surmise because he saw the massive ordering and sharing and discussion and figured we must be undercover Michelin reviewers or something). We have also learned that even on a menu replete with crab hash and ricotta lemon pancakes and lobster shrimp frittatas, a flawlessly executed three-item omelette is often what sets the best apart from the rest.