Story and photos by Valentina Silva
The space that houses the newly opened Silver Lake outlet of FOOD +LAB might be cursed. A few doors down from Dusty’s, near the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Descanso Drive, the teeny storefront was most recently occupied by the very short-lived Meet Market and Flore Café before that. If not cursed, it’s not exactly lucky.
Yet, despite the open-and-shutter reputation of its address, FOOD+LAB’s future looks bright. For one thing, this is the third installment of the mini chain founded by mother-son catering team Esther and Nino Linsmayer — they also have a location in West Hollywood and a kiosk in the Pacific Design Center. For another, their menu is innovative and full of the fresh, organic ingredients that everyone seems to be craving these days.
Currently serving breakfast and lunch (a dinner menu is coming soon), FOOD+LAB offers organic egg dishes, pastries, salads, and a long list of traditional sandwiches with major personality. Think: organic turkey with pear, honey, and fig compote; Austrian meatloaf with dried tomato aioli, fried onions and Dijon; grilled cheese with three fancy cheeses and caramelized onion. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available.
I ordered the Egg Salad Sandwich with asparagus on 5-grain bread. No complaints. It wasn’t overrun with mayo and the asparagus had a nice snap to it. The mayo-chicken ratio was a little off on the Pulled Chicken Salad, but the additions of apples, grapes, candied pecans and mandarins saved it. For better or worse, the portions are huge.
The chalkboard menu also features a complete coffee selection and a range of fresh juices. I had the lemonade, which was pretty thick and easily split (and diluted) to make two full glasses. Also squeezed into the small café is market section of sweets, teas, coffee and other tantalizing goods to take home.
Prices: Sandwiches: $8-12; organic salads: $11-13; breakfast: $5-12.
Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
FOOD+LAB | 3206 West Sunset Blvd |Silver Lake
Valentina Silva is a regular contributor writing about food and restaurants. You can also find Valentina’s reviews and stories on her new blog, Eastside Food Bites.