Playa Brunch (Los Angeles, CA)

Playa
7360 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dining date: 7/22/12

playa exterior

I’ve stepped into Playa a few times for Julian Cox’s cocktails, but this would be only my second meal here (the first was dinner).  I recently had an OpenTable dining certificate about to expire, and picked Playa due to strong brunch recommendations.

Playa is one of John Rivera Sedlar’s restaurants (the other being Rivera in downtown), with food described as “urban Latin.” I’m not totally sure what that means, but the brunch menu is an intriguing mix of traditional brunch plates with Latin influences and some more original ones. Cocktails, crafted by Julian Cox, are top-notch; a wall of liquor and a bar full of fresh ingredients promise good things to come.

playa bar

A Beer & A Ball campari, aperol, grapefruit, sage, lime, hops infused champagne

A Beer & A Ball Campari, Aperol, Grapefruit, Sage, Lime, Hops Infused Champagne

This was one of my favorites from a previous visit. Grapefruit citrus is the main flavor that came through with a little sparkling wine. A little bitter and a little herbaceous.

Dramble aged dark rum, fresh lemon, simple syrup, all-spice dram, muddled raspberries

Dramble Aged Dark Rum, Fresh Lemon, Simple Syrup, All-Spice Dram, Muddled Raspberries

Raspberry and citrus (from the lemon) were the main flavor profiles in this refreshing cocktail. Loved the presentation.

Tortillas Florales con marmeladas y conservas

Tortillas Florales Con Marmeladas y Conservas

This is one of the signature items at both Rivera and Playa. These tortillas were easily discernible from the store-bought variety in their texture, and I liked that the edges were a bit crispy. Still though, they were just tortillas, albeit really nice looking ones. Butter and two sweet fruity marmalades were served alongside.

Flan De Elote quinoa, flores de calabaza

Flan De Elote quinoa, flores de calabaza

I thought this was a very strong dish. A light flan was sweet and savory with some earthy quinoa providing a little bit of bite. Bitter arugula was a nice change of pace.

Piquillos Rellenos gruyere, chorizo, golden raisins

Piquillos Rellenos gruyere, chorizo, golden raisins

Sweet peppers, meaty bites of chorizo and a creamy gruyere came together for some tasty bites. I didn’t think the raisins were needed since the piquillo provided enough sweetness.

Huevos Polenta lardons, rajas, calabacitas, queso cotija

Huevos Polenta lardons, rajas, calabacitas, queso cotija

Huevos Polenta lardons, rajas, calabacitas, queso cotija

Creamy polenta was topped with a poached egg and cheese making for a very savory flavor combination. Fried lardons added some meatiness as well as crunch, while a subtly spicy sauce brought it all together. A nice dish.

Duck Hash weiser farm fingerlings, peppers, 63° egg

Duck Hash Weiser Farm fingerlings, peppers, 63° egg

I thought each of the individual components were good between the potatoes, tender duck and poached egg. However the dish wasn’t anything more than that; I was missing some of the Latin influences that we saw in other plates.

Playa was a good brunch, but I wouldn’t say it was great. I thought most of the dishes were pretty unique, or at least a unique spin on a classic brunch dish (except for the duck hash). I’m always down for something different when it comes to brunch. With a strong cocktail program and a dining room full of natural light, it was a nice spot for a weekend brunch.


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