I met a buddy for happy hour drinks in Echo Park last night and, as is the way with these things, one drink turned into a baker’s dozen and 7:30 turned into 11:45. It was time to either commit to the night or end things with some food.
I'm a late night eater and have lived in the neighborhood for over a decade but honestly, the Brite Spot was never one if my goto joints. Options are limited yet most were better. Heck, Taco Zone, and their delicious offal tacos, is just few hundred yards away.
I'd read in Eastsider that the Brite Spot had a recent makeover, from the look - which is mostly the same - to the menu. We decided to give it a shot. Our needs were simple. Eggs. Bacon. Maybe a burger.
We walked in and were told the place was closed. Determined, my buddy blurted out "bacon and eggs" and the counter guy said we could have anything, as long as it was quick. I added a patty melt to the order and we sat at the counter.
At roughly midnight, the place still had a few customers, including the requisite dude reading in the back corner and an alt porn performer in a knit cap pulled low over her head. The counter guy relocated our setups to a booth and asked us to move. Some contractor looking guys with angle grinders were standing by. Waiting.
Meanwhile, the place turned away a handful of customers, including Liz Lemmon’s agent from 30 Rock.
While waiting, we noticed the menu had changed. Nothing revelatory, just a conscious editing down of what was formerly sprawling and unfocused. Pancakes. Omelets. Burgers. The stuff a diner should have on its menu.
The food arrived quickly and was surprisingly solid. I don’t know if it was my rye soaked brain talking, but the patty melt was tasty. The rye bread was chewy and grilled just right. The sautéed onions were rich and cooked down the way they should be and the beef patty was done perfectly medium rare. I’m not going to compare the burger to an artfully composed creation like something you’d get Umami but it did exactly what it was supposed to – satisfy a late night craving for rich, fatty food. The fries were the standard shoestrings – I’m guessing cooked from frozen – but they were crispy, hot and salted just right.
By the way my friend plowed through his bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns and toast, he seemed equally satisfied.
At this point, we were the last people left and the contractor guys were just beginning to plug in their equipment. I told the waiter he could bring the check and cash us out while we were still eating, so as to make it easier on him.
And here’s where it gets interesting…
He shortly came back to the table and apologized for the construction work, telling us the meal was on the house. Mind you, no construction had started. Yes, the guys were moving things around and prepping, but the angle grinder didn’t start up until we were walking out the door.
We thanked the waiter and manager, left a generous tip and exited with smiles on our faces.
In a world of rude or lackadaisical service, it was a real pleasure to be treated in such a manner. These guys went above and beyond – they could have easily turned us away at the door and could have easily taken our money, which we were willing to pay. It was also a smart move, even if an unconscious one, as I’ll seriously consider The Brite Spot the next time those late night cravings take hold.