I’ve walked past Mid-City’s Brownstone Bistro at 5047 Pico Blvd. at least a dozen times and never paid much attention to it. That changed one recent Sunday after I decided to try the Bistro’s Sunday Brunch buffet.
Before going, I checked out several comments about the restaurant on Yelp, which gave it a rating of four stars. Bistro-goers raved about such dishes as the restaurant’s jerk chicken wings and sweet potato cheesecake; both things were definitely on my list to try.
The Bistro itself is a large minimally decorated room with several dining tables and chairs sitting on the right side of the room and a bar with three flat screen TVs on the left side of the room. For the purpose of the brunch, a long table topped with silver chafing dishes stood in the middle of the room and a carving station and table covered with desserts stood to the left of the long table.
Laid out on the tables and for the most part served by waiters and Brownstone Bistro chef and owner Clive Jackson, CEC, the California Fusion brunch included generous portions of such things as Southern shrimp and grits covered with a creamy light orange sauce, grilled vegetable frittata, chicken and turkey meatballs covered with barbeque sauce, deliciously gooey Mac and Cheese and yellow rice. Also offered were such foods as baked chicken pieces, Blackened Tilapia, waffles, carved herb-crusted NY strip with Cajun Au Jus and made-to-order omelettes.
I tried the chicken and turkey meatballs, the Southern shrimp and grits, yellow rice, a baked chicken breast and the Tilapia. The meatballs were lightly seasoned and covered with just enough barbeque sauce to bring out their delicious chicken and turkey flavors. The yellow rice was equally tasty. I may never eat plain white rice again. The Tilapia was covered with spices and slightly blackened, which enhanced its overall spicy flavor.
At first I was a little disappointed when the server told me that the chicken was broiled and not jerk chicken. My disappointment vanished with my first bite of the broiled chicken. It was not only juicy but also extremely tender. My favorite dish, was the Southern shrimp and grits. My mother’s family is from the South so I grew up eating grits and am very picky about eating them in restaurants. Grits served in restaurants are often too runny or too stiff. The Bistro’s grits were neither. They were excellent and further enhanced by the addition of the shrimp and creamy orange sauce. After I went back for a second helping of the dish, I asked my waitress what the orange sauce was made of and she eagerly volunteered to ask the chef. She came back a few minutes later and said that he said it was a secret. I laughed and polished off the rest of my shrimp and grits with "secret" orange sauce.
Desert included slices of watermelon, cantaloupe and pineapple, an assortment of cookies and pecan pie. Not seeing any sweet potato cheesecake, I immediately reached for a slice of the pecan pie as a substitute. It was heavenly. The pie filling was just sweet enough; the crust was delicate and the pecans were fresh and crispy.
I certainly plan to go back soon so I can try the jerk chicken wings and sweet potato cheesecake.
Established in August of 2008 by writer, artist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.