FOOD

Croft Alley – Culinary Creativity

0 Comments 10 June 2015

croft alley

Melrose gem Croft Alley serves up L.A.’s favorite dishes, done just right, thanks to Phuong Tran.

By Simon Weedn

 

When one thinks about the Beverly Grove neighborhood, just east of Beverly Hills and just a bit South of West Hollywood, flashy, designer, clothing stores and fancy, formal restaurants may be the first things that come to mind.  While those aforementioned things exist in large quantity in Beverly Grove, if one looks closely while walking around Melrose, they may encounter Croft Alley, a small bistro that offers one of the warmest and incredibly delicious, gourmet, casual dining experiences that the entirety of Los Angeles has to offer.

Nestled right behind the highly regarded Alfred Coffee & Kitchen, and opening up into the alley just off of Melrose Blvd., Croft Alley specializes in a very carefully crafted menu of breakfast and lunch offerings, with a handful of exotic flourishes.

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When one ventures into Croft Alley, they are immediately welcomed in by either co-owner Michael Della Femina, or one of his attentive staff members, who quickly guide patrons to their pick of ideal seating. You can even sit at a table next to their exposed kitchen, where you can watch chef and co-owner Phuong Tran work his magic (our fave).

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Mr. Della Femina and his wait staff are cordial and hospitable, and can offer suggestions and advice when needed, on what might be the best dish to indulge in on any given day, all the while, remaining authentic and seemingly sincere in their desire to take care of patrons.  It becomes clear very quickly that the people of Croft Alley want diners to have a tasty and unique experience in their eatery, and focus on making sure every individual who walks through their door receives personal care, attention, and service.  In a way, going to Croft Alley reminds us more of going to a much-adored relative’s house for a tasty bite to eat than an L.A. restaurant.

Complimenting this kindly atmosphere, is Chef Tran’s mind -culinary delights, which draw from a range of influence including French, Italian, and Vietnamese.  Tran’s knowledge of and attention to individual ingredients allows him to approach his dishes both creatively and logically, creating sandwiches, salads, and basic breakfasts, that are truly exceptional in both their flavors and their presentation.  However, it is the unbelievably balanced, and robust flavors which Tran’s dishes are packed with, which is truly extraordinary.

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Items like the tuna melt, a staple of the traditional American menu, have been worked on, honed, and perfected.  The tuna salad itself is light, with very little mayo, opting more for olive oil to mix things up and keep ingredients bonded, and is complimented by chili peppers, which offer a bit of kick, while crisp tomatoes and rich fontina cheese keep the spice from being too overwhelming.  The whole thing is put between two slices of fluffy yet crusty bread that has just the right amount of butter on it which, upon sinking your teeth into it, just melts in your mouth, leaving you with a full stomach and a satisfied smile.

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Other offerings equally and easily show off Chef Tran’s attentiveness to balance and rich flavors.  His lettuce wraps paired with his homemade turkey sausage are a gloriously delectable treat that combines the robust savory qualities of the tender meat along with the earthiness of the butter lettuce, and just bit of fire from some chilies.
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The house made yogurt & chlorophyll is so visually stunning it could be preserved and displayed in a museum, blending smooth, creamy, fresh yogurt with a drizzle of chlorophyll, which is ridiculously nutritious, and honey, accented with fresh berries to create pure breakfast excellence.

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The burrata with celery leaf pesto and tomato jam offers another creamy delight, this time on the more savory end of the spectrum, with flavors so brilliant, one might need to close their eyes and revel in them until their very end like listening to the last notes ring and fade out from a favorite song, or reading and re-reading the last sentence of a cherished book.  Even just a simple serving of bread and butter will dazzle and amaze, as all of Croft Alley’s bread comes from a single, local baker who bakes only for them and one other restaurant.

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From beginning to end, Croft Alley offers what few restaurants of any variety can, an exquisitely intimate and epicurean dining experience.  Though they’ve only been officially open for a few months, Croft Alley’s reputation has already begun to precede itself, and plans to expand the restaurant’s size, and possibly add other locations, thankfully.  For diners of nearly any taste, dietary need, or budget, Croft Alley is an experience that needs to be had by any food-appreciating Angeleno.

 

Eat at Croft Alley today at 8428 Melrose Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90069

Hours:

Mon 11:00 am5:00 pm
Tue 11:00 am5:00 pm
Wed 11:00 am5:00 pm  
Thu 11:00 am5:00 pm
Fri 11:00 am5:00 pm
Sat 11:00 am5:00 pm
Sun Closed

 

View more on the Croft Alley website.

Follow Croft Alley on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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- who has written 11 posts on Yay! LA | Arts & Culture Magazine.

Simon Weedn is a music journalist and obsessive record collector in Los Angeles. With a Bachelors from Berklee School of Music and a lifetime of odd jobs working at venues, record labels, studios and more, Simon has put his obsession to good use. He works as a recording studio supervisor at Interscope Geffen A&M Records, wears many hats at the Echo as well. He runs Raw Power Writings, an online music blog, and writes regularly for Inland Empire Weekly, Culture Magazine, Rogue Arts, and more. www.simonishellarad.yelp.com

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