This past week, we spent a lot of time in Atwater Village. The part of town has always been a favorite of ours, it being home to lots of good friends and good, almost “small town” feeling businesses. A few new ones little restaurants and markets have caught our eye recently and, this past weekend, we decided to do a mini-exploration of a few places we wanted to visit. The first spot? The very, very new Atwater Crossing Kitchen.
The space is located within Atwater Crossing, a creative and communal space we were familiar with from Bobby participating in last year’s Steal This Idea for GOOD Magazine. Stopping in Friday to check out a tour of the Crescent City space we noticed that the spot was the same place as the GOOD event–but different. There were new lights and tables and lots of people and it was a generally bustling area. Atwater Crossing Kitchen–which is abbreviated to ATX Kitchen–is a new addition to the space and is certainly the reason why people are coming to the Crossing outside of events: it’s a great outdoor dining spot.
We pulled up late Sunday morning/early afternoon to grab brunch and do some work, arriving to an already busy outdoor dining room. The all wood space and tables really make it feel like you are at a gigantic picnic, which is nice given that the day was so perfect for being outside. We walked into the kitchen and stared at the menu, breakfast and flatbreads being our options. Bobby ended up grabbing the Huevos Rancheros and a cappuccino and I ended up trying to see what the Panini was. Unfortunately, the Panini isn’t served on the weekend as their menu is new so I switched to the burger, which they also don’t serve on the weekend. On a quick look, I opted for the Benedict, barely reading what it was but a benedict is a benedict is a benedict. We asked for their mint lemonade as well but, alas, that too was also not available.
We made our way to a table, where we sat on the edge of direct sunlight, overlooking a little yard sale they were having as a DJ was playing Ciccone Youth’s “Into The Groove(y)”, which I suppose meant he was a good DJ? We’re unsure as he followed it up with Mariah Carey’s “Emotions,” claiming it was “good shit.” It doesn’t matter: the space outdoors is so nice you’ll want to spend your entire day there, sipping your cappuccino which was quite perfect.
The Huevos Rancheros made their way out after a short wait but was all by itself as there was a little bungle in service, a theme from the no sandwiches on the weekends to the lemonade to this. Everyone was super nice: it just seemed like there was a lapse or two along the telephone line. No sweat, it happens. The Huevos came out and,really did not look that pretty, the eggs on a corn pancake raft floating on multi-colored sauce soups. It was good though. The eggs and corn pancake and the soup of sauces lending themselves nicely to make a calmly spicy breakfast. The smoked sausage was also particularly great.
The Benedict was good as well, although a little non-traditional: instead of the eggs and ham (prosciutto, in this case) on a muffin, they were on “grilled parmesan polenta,” which tasted really good but was unable to be classified if you didn’t know what it was. Also, the consistency was like a soft, moist cake that tasted like light macaroni and cheese. Take this and toss it around with eggs, prosciutto, a hidden tomato, and the saffron hollandaise and you have a pretty swell breakfast. The hollandaise was a *little* rich after repeated eating, its tartness being welcome at first but wearing on you in the end. It came with potatoes and fruit, the potatoes being fine and the fruit being fine as well. This dish looked very nice though, a beauty queen compared to the Huevos.
Atwater Crossing Kitchen is pretty good. They have some kinks to work out and still are quite new: the problems we had with the place–the unavailable sandwiches, invisible lemonade, delayed benedict, homely Huevos–were all a result of newness and nuts and bolts being tightened. The place makes up for it because the space is just so great and everyone is very nice. There was also lots going on from the DJ to the yard sale to Crescent City that made it seem like a more alternative and adult Space15Twenty. We’d definitely go back here as we’d love to try the dinner and we did in fact end up spending three or four hours at our table, using their wifi and sipping on some work juice (AKA beer).
The space also points to something happening in Atwater that we need to pay attention to. It very well could creep up on us as a new local foodie ‘hood as there are a few other food stops in the area that are quite good and spaces that would make for great, new food venues. It’s an alternative enough area that is simultaneously super accessible that it would have the cool factor of Highland Park with the ease of Silver Lake. Spending lots of time there made us feel like Atwater is to Los Angeles as Berkeley is to San Francisco: a quaint, unconventional center that is a culture unto itself. We’ll definitely be visiting this area a lot more often.