I didn’t have much expectations when we arrived Perch. From the parking lot, I could see Perch high on top of a 1930s art deco building. Then I became a little uneasy when we had no choice, but to press the unlucky number thirteen on the elevator panel. “Thirteen, are you serious?” I said to myself. It was a rickety ride up an ancient elevator that moved like an old San Francisco trolley ride. Heck, even the ding, ding of the elevator bell sounded just like the ones on a trolley too. We were quickly whisked towards another elevator that took us up to the fifteen floor. “Okay, like, what secret pathway is this? We’re just here to eat.” Soon, my un-expectations were shaken into consciousness; Perch is an alive and kickin’ French bistro with a lively crowd. I even liked the modern speakeasy bar and lounge area too adorned with strange paintings of French people. If you look hard, you could even find a portrait painting of Napoleon.
It was a good thing we had a reservation, because three people in front of us were denied a table for not having one. “We’d love to have you stay for an hour at our bar while you wait for a cancellation,” the Hostess said with a smile.
I remember requesting for a table with the best view on our reservation. Indeed we had awesome view of Pershing Square.
We also had a spectacular view of the Downtown Los Angeles skyline as well.
Along with the rather potent pitcher of red Sangaria, my friends and I chit-chatted to our hearts content and nibbled on an assortment of fresh baked breads. The Lemon Poppy Seed Scone was my favorite.
Our choice Salade de Marche was the Arugula and Endive Salad. It had a lovely vinegarette and the red grapes seemed to have given it a brightness and balance.
The big disappointment were our egg dishes. I wanted to really like my Crab Benedict, but I could only find that I only adored the Hollandaise Sauce. The entire plating looked like something from an high school cafeteria. Sauce covered the main dish, but I figured it was a way to hide the imperfections that lied underneath.
It was hard to believe the kitchen screwed up on a poached egg. Mine had hardly any gooey yolk oozing out from the center. The Crab Cake turned out to be soppy mess. I figured that the kitchen didn’t pack the crab cake with enough bread crumbs or they didn’t render the water out of the crab meat before shaping it into patties. I also felt that the crab cakes were not fried enough either, which is why they fell apart.
My friends ordered the Smoked Salmon Benedict. Both were disappointed to find that their poached eggs were overcooked and Hollandaise sauce covered the kitchen’s cooking mistake. There was nothing visually exciting about this dish either. They did agree with me that the Hollandaise Sauce was superb.
Despite the kitchen flaws, the table service was impeccable. Our Server was sharp and attentive. She handled the busy crowd with ease and never missed a beat in serving us. The water glasses were always full and never empty. Also, our plates and utensils were always replaced after each course. There were plenty of napkins without ever asking for them.
The live Jazz music was also a great. It was quite pleasant to listen to music and enjoy the views of Downtown Los Angeles. The combination made for a surreal dining experience.
However, a lot can be said for screwing up the basic poached egg. Typically, the French would be insulted with serving a classic French Eggs Benedict dish with a poorly cooked poached egg. Chef Gordon Ramsay (although not French, but British) would have thrown this dished at the wall and cursed the unspeakable at the Chef or Line Cook who made the poached eggs. I, for one thing, find the mistake of the poached egg a bit avant-garde if a 5-year old chef in training cooked it.
In all, I anticipate that the kitchen staff might improve in the next couple months or so. In the mean time, it’s okay visit to Perch for the awesome city skyline views, the drinks, and to impress people like your boyfriend or girlfriend, your spouse, your out of town guests, and business contacts. I suggest ordering the other brunch dishes sans les oeufs pochés (without poached eggs).
Web site http://www.perchla.com/brunch.html