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Kings Road Cafe: A City Friend Comes to the Valley

Posted By Karen Young On January 15, 2010 @ 12:11 am In American,Breakfast,Continental,Cuisine,Eat,Featured,Food,Healthy,Lunch,My Daily Find,Restaurants,spotlight | 9 Comments

Karen_Young_MDF100BY KAREN YOUNG

Kings Road Café opened on Beverly Blvd. in West Hollywood the same year I moved from the City to the Valley. That was 1990. I spent a lot of time going back “over the hill” to Kings Road in those early days for meetings and to catch up with friends. I couldn’t find another cafe remotely close to it in the 818. It reminded me of my college years in Berkeley and time spent in San Francisco.

It was a relaxed kind of place where you could come alone or with a friend, eat a full meal, or just grab a small bite and a cup of coffee and read the newspaper (that would be the pre-laptop period). It had a kind of European, casual cafe vibe that was just beginning to take hold in L.A. artists, actors, writers, musicians and the like seemed to flock to it. Fun people watching, good food, and most of all, the best cup of coffee in town with beans roasted on the premises.

Kings Road. Photos: Karen Young

The interior of  Kings Road is on the small side with a minimalistic feel. Photos  by  Karen Young

But as life happens, I stopped making the trek.

Imagine my excitement when I saw a banner appear two years ago at Ventura and Rhodes in Studio City that said KINGS ROAD CAFÉ? And best of all, it was walking distance from my home. Well, two years passed and it still hadn’t opened. I had all but given up hope when I saw movement from within the building that formerly housed a clothing store.

Kings Road Cafe had its soft opening in early December serving breakfast and lunch and it’s now open for dinner until 9 pm (however they will be open later soon). There’s no liquor license yet, so it’s BYOB and no corkage.

Benedict?

Kings Road Eggs Benedict on a fresh baked croissant (seen here sans sauce $11.95)

This casual café is a welcome addition to the Valley with a choice of indoor or outdoor (sidewalk) seating. Be warned, however, it can get fairly loud inside due to the minimalistic design mix of concrete walls and glass windows.

First up, if you’re a coffee drinker, this is the place for you. Each cup ordered is individually prepared and it’s still one strong cup of ‘joe’ which looks creamed on top and is served in hefty, round, wide mouthed mugs. The beans are not roasted on the Studio City premises (they are roasted over the hill), but with a special barista brewing each cup, you won’t know the difference. You can purchase roasted beans for $12 a pound.

Latte

Each cup of coffee is individually brewed ($2.25 a cup, no refills, but believe me,  you don’t need it)

And the lattes? Well, they have perfect foam. There is also a good selection of teas for non-coffee drinkers.

Pancakes

Whole Wheat Granola Pancakes ($8.95)

Food-wise, Kings Road Café is most well-known for its breakfasts and signature paninis. Stand out breakfasts are the Whole Wheat Granola Pancakes with a choice of plain, blueberry, or banana pecan and served with 100% maple syrup ($8.95); the Breakfast Burrito is huge and slightly different than the usual with eggs, black beans, Spanish rice, mozzarella and guacamole ($9.50); the Breakfast Panini is a pretty perfect combination of fontina cheese omelette, fresh pesto and roma tomato ($9.25).

Omelet

Spinach and Goat Cheese Omelet, Avocado and Cremini Mushroom with roasted potatoes and toast ($9.75)

And of course, the omelettes are quite good and on the drier, rather than buttery side. If you order an omelette that includes avocado, ask if it’s guacamole or avocado because depending on the omelette, it might be guacamole (if it matters to you). Omelettes come with a side of roasted potatoes and toast.

Paninis are served on fresh focaccia bread from the Melrose Baking Company. The Chipolte Chicken Breast (grilled) with avocado, tomato, mozzarella and watercress is moist and delicious ($10.25). I’m not usually a fan of chicken sandwiches, but this stands apart. The Ahi Tuna Panini is prepared rare with lemon oil, roma tomatoes, onions and watercress. ($10.50). The Ahi is perfectly prepared and plentiful, although it needs a little more flavor, so I asked for the onions caramelized and aioli on the side.

Panini

Angus Natural Beef Cheeseburger with Aged White Sheddar and side Caesar Salad included and a few sweet potato fries ($11.95).

If you’re a meat eater, try the Top Sirloin Steak Panini artfully blended with garlic aioli, caramelized onion, roasted tomato and watercress ($10.95). Vegetarian options include a fresh grilled vegetable panini (($8.50) and a fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil and cucumber panini ($8.50). All paninis come with a side of red cabbage slaw with a tart olive oil and lemon dressing, which is a nice switch from fries. They do have sweet potato fries that are more like chunks of grilled sweet potatoes for an extra $1.50.

panini_bacon

BLT & A: Applewood Bacon, Garlic Aioli, Romaine, Tomato & Avocado with side cabbage salad included ($9.75)

The Baja menu is eclectic with such dishes as the rich and flavorful Vegetarian Quesadilla filled with mozzarella, sundried tomato, cilantro, cremini mushrooms and spinach ($7.95) and the Rosarita Beach tacos with a choice of lobster, jumbo shrimp, chipolte chicken, steak or lobster with a side of Caesar salad ($8.75).

The menu is also filled with Burgers (garden, beef, turkey, salmon $9.50-$10.75), Salads with chicken, salmon and ahi ($6.75-$14.95 & 1/2 portions available), Pastas ($11.50-$13.75), as well as various entrée dishes more appropriate for dinner, including fresh salmon, blackened ahi tuna, Cajun shrimp, rotisserie chicken and top sirloin ($12.50-$15.95). All include various sides such as garlic mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes and fresh grilled vegetables.

Tacos

Rosarito Beach Tacos with Avocado Salsa (seen here with Shrimp and side Caesar Salad included $8.75)

Of course, I haven’t tried everything yet, but intend to make my way through the menu. It sure is nice to have a familiar friend back in my neighborhood.

Kings Road Cafe 12401 Ventura Blvd Studio City, CA 91604 www.kingsroadcafe.com (818) 985-3600

Karen Young is the Publisher/Editor of My Daily Find

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