I'm finally starting to warm up to my new neighborhood in West Hollywood, I think. There are so many great new food options to explore right within walking distance, including the Village Idiot, a self-proclaimed "gastro pub" on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Gardner Street. Last weekend, Mark and I met up with my law school friend Beth, who was in town for a wedding. We had initally planned to meet for brunch a few doors down at Blu Jam Cafe, but it was packed, so we wandered down to the corner, where the Village Idiot was waiting with plenty of open tables.
Upon walking in, I could immediately see this being a new go-to place for meet-ups, with its comfortable but trendy no-frills decor, friendly service, and huge bar. And I was excited to see they had a pretty extensive lunch/brunch menu, with breakfast options served all day on Saturdays and Sundays.
We started with the chorizo-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates, which came couched in a roasted red pepper tomato sauce (below). This dish started the kitchen out on the right foot - the salty chorizo got a nice boost from the smoky bacon and sweet dates, and the sauce was bright and tangy.
Both of our friends got the hearty "Rancher's Breakfast," complete with eggs, black beans, crispy tortillas, and spicy sausage, and topped with roasted red pepper salsa and ricotta salata (below). They really enjoyed the hearty dish, and from where I was sitting, it smelled and looked great.
Mark got the cinnamon orange French toast with thick-cut smoked bacon and Vermont maple syrup (below). He loved the notes of spice and citrus, so much so that he was a little disappointed that the portion size was so small. For $9, it doesn't seem too much to ask for more than 3 slices of bacon and one slice of toast...
...which is why he was glad I was willing to share my lunch choice, the Vietnamese-style roast beef sandwich, with carrots, cucumbers, daikon radish, serrano chiles, cilantro and sriracha mayo (below). Whoever made this sandwich was no idiot. The bánh mì-style sandwich was the winner of the day for us, with wonderfully crusty, warm bread, deliciously rare beef, and crunchy, spicy, and tangy vegetables. It was not an item I expected to see on a menu in a British-style pub, but I would gladly order it every time I go back. The fries were pretty decent, but were completely overshadowed by the gloriousness of the sandwich.
In retrospect, I'm glad we had a change of plans. I can see myself heading to the Village Idiot on lazy weekend mornings/afternoons, or chill happy hours with new friends. I was worried that living in West Hollywood would mean being relegated to pretentious, hoity-toity restaraunts/bars, but the Village Idiot is exactly my speed. I may like it here, after all.