Tres at SLS (Bazaar) - Los Angeles

465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Chef Jose Andres

Tres: The #3 in Spanish or tres in the French word for "VERY."  

Tres is The Bazaar's version of brunch. On a Sunday afternoon we decided to head over to Tres for brunch. We wanted a place that was different from the normal ho-hum brunch but still serve some of the brunch elements. Would Tres fit what we were looking for?

Tres and the Bazaar are located in the ultra hip, too-cool-for-school SLS Hotel. Brunch is only served on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00A.M. to 3:00P.M. At the time, brunch cost us $38. This is a long overdue blog post from months back, and unfortunately for you, and fortunately for me, the price is now $42. Glad I got in there before they raised the prices.

The SLS hotel is designed by none other than Philippe Starck. Talk about eclectic and an interestingly designed space.  I felt like I was in a candy boutique.

When I think of brunch, I think of egg dishes, breads, fruits, smoked fish, mimosas, and bloody mary's, just to name a few. Tres has most of the basic brunch items covered, but with a twist. One of the things I didn't like was that egg dishes were supplements, meaning it would cost me more money on top of the brunch price. At $42 for a brunch, which isn't a exorbitantly high price nor is it a low price, I figured some egg dishes would be included. Come to think of it, they did have a form of egg that was included: surprisingly, it was caviar.

Coffee and Teas, fresh squeezed juices or aguas frescas (water infused w/ fresh juices)
What I did like about the brunch was that a nice selection of teas were available included in the brunch. They each came out in individual pots. Also appreciated the various fresh squeezed juices that were available for self service.

Caesar "Cardini" Salad - Baby romaine hearts, parmesan cheese.
Although a simple salad, I really enjoyed this version of a Caesar salad because of the grate yourself parmesan cheese, the freshness of the romaine hearts, and my favorite part - little pillow shaped croutons.

Crudite Cups - seasonal vegetables, romesco sauce
Nothing really out of the ordinary with these crudite cups and romesco sauce, but the display presentation was nice.

Gazpacho with traditional condiments
Wouldn't be a Jose Andres brunch without some Spanish influences. Here, a fairly standard version of gazpacho with diced bell peppers.

Charcuterie- A selection of salamis, chorizo, and prosciutto.

Cheeses- Four cheeses available on this particular day.

 Selection of Marmalades, Organic Butter and Cream Cheese

Caviar display - American Paddlefish caviar, salmon roe, steamed buns
Underneath the bamboo steamers in the picture were the steamed buns for use with the various types of caviar and creme fraiche. An upscale touch to this brunch.

SLS Carving Display - Chef's selection with accompaniments
Hangar steak with piquillo pepper. The hangar steak was nicely cooked to a medium rare, but lacked enough seasoning.

Smoked Salmon Display - Russ and Daughters Diamond Selection served with caper berries, minced red onions, quail eggs, chives, greek yogurt

Greek Yogurt Parfait - apricot, mixed berries or plain. Fresh fruit in cups with either kiwi and raspberries or watermelon and orange segments. Also pictured is sliced fresh fruits, watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe.

Chef's Selection of Assorted Pastries: croissant, muffins, pain au chocolat, danishes
One of the things I was most impressed about was the quality and selection of pastries and desserts.

Flan with orange segments - The desserts were one of my favorite aspects of the brunch at Tres and the flan was no exception.

Chocolate mouse with berries, madeleines, gelees, and various assortment of cookies. I think the dessert selection at this restaurant is enough to last me for a whole month...

There were some elements of the brunch that I felt were lacking. In my opinion, the brunch lacks the comforting items normally associated with brunch, such as the egg dishes and pancakes or french toast. I realize that these items can be ordered a la carte, but to spend $42 without these items is bit much personally.  The brunch had an interesting mix of various and quality foods, but were kind of all over the place.

We enjoyed the overall experience of the brunch at Tres, especially sitting amidst the whimsical design and ambiance of the restaurant. Everything that was served during the brunch was of high quality. The highlight of the brunch was the selection of desserts available and the quality with which they were made. Based on food alone, I'm not sure this brunch would warrant a return, but taken together with the whole experience, I believe it is definitely worth trying out.


Break of Dawn (Laguna Hills, CA)

24351 Avenida De La Carlota
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Chef/Owner: Dee Nguyen
8:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday

As the former executive sous chef at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, Chef Dee Nguyen was on the path to opening his own fine dining restaurant one day.  But Chef Nguyen had to reevaluate his professional career track when his son became permanently disabled. Chef Dee left the Ritz and opened his own restaurant Break of Dawn and has gained much acclaim from the culinary folks ever since.  Break of Dawn opens only for breakfast and lunch so that Chef Dee could spend more time with his son and wife. His inspiring story is one that tugs at your heart. Read more on their website.

His dishes reflect his attention to detail and artistry.The menu is split into two categories: Traditional and Savory.  He creates the classic American hearty breakfast dishes inspiring them with his Vietnamese and French influence.

 Skillet - roasted new potatoes, bacon, cheddar poached eggs, guacamole and chipotle sour cream. (11)
My two friends each ordered their own Skillet. Here's your classic comfort breakfast food. You got everything you always wanted on a fiery hot skillet, steaming with lots of savory flavors.  They thoroughly enjoyed the dish as I remembered.

Benedict - poached eggs, grilled potato bread, smoked ham and Asian pesto hollandaise (11)
I was quite amazed at this simple, yet artistic presentation of my dish.  Country potatoes were nicely seasoned and fried. The pesto and Hollandaise sauce was pretty light and mild for my taste.

The poached eggs were perfectly shaped with a nice little tail at the end.  As I pierced my fork through the egg, the yellow yolk oozed out over the seared ham. Chef Dee once said, "There are at least five things one needs to balance for the poached egg: heat, salt, vinegar, water and the pot." (OC Register)

French Toast Creme Brulee  (12)
What a concept! French toast with Crème Brûlée? Several thick slabs of raisin and cinnamon brioche with generous amounts of creamy chocolate drizzle was sitting atop this huge round dish of a thin layer of crème brûlée.  The crème brûlée had some coconut and Kahlua flavors and the nicely caramelized crust finished the dessert well.  Do share with others because it's a lot and was a bit sweet and rich for me, especially if you are eating it after a savory breakfast.  Just a few bites would be enough to satisfy the sweet tooth. At least for me it did.

Break of Dawn is located in the plaza next to the Laguna Hills Mall. I wouldn't have imagined this gourmet breakfast-brunch restaurant being in this suburban type setting (ie. Trader Joe's is right next door) but I'm glad that there's a restaurant where the chef fuses different heritage influences into classic dishes, creating culinary works of art.