Vegas Eats Preview: The Griddle Cafe at SLS Las Vegas
SLS Las Vegas is opening on Labor Day Weekend with great fanfare, trumpeting to the universe how incredibly awesome the stable of eateries they are importing from Los Angeles will be. Like, totally awesome.
Fortunately for you, most of the VT staff lives in L.A., making it undeniably easy for us to unpack and insert the awesomometer, then share the results. Previously, we visited the original Katsu-Ya location in Studio City.
As before, this series of posts are previews of what might happen at SLS, based on reviews of the existing venues in Los Angeles.
The Griddle Cafe is located at the intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, nestled into a long thin space between a CVS to the east and the Directors Guild of America building. It is adjacent to the famed Laurel Canyon area of the Hollywood Hills, The Sunset Strip, Hollywood's Walk of Fame tourist mecca and the home of the largest Halloween party in the world - West Hollywood.
Known for attracting long lines of underfed hipsters, caffeine addicted Gen X'rs and ravenously desheveled woo girls in PINK sweats, me and Miss Monkay made a beat-the-crowds appointment with VT staffers JohnH and Blackjacker1979 at the somewhat ungodly hour of 7:30am. There was already a line when the first of us arrived.
The Griddle Cafe is known for making thin, oversized single stack pancakes with an astonishing array of fillings and toppings. Offerings include "Good Ol' Fashioned" ($8.95) a basic buttermilk pancake, "Banananana" ($10.95) - a pancake topped with banana and brown sugar, "Hear Me Roar" ($11.95) - pancakes topped with Frosted Flakes and strawberries. The menu also features a number of references to being in grade school, including dishes called "Recess Time" (streusel) and "Teachers Pet" (apple). Now take those ideas and replace pancake with French Toast.
The Griddle Cafe also offer a lunch menu - sandwiches and melts.
The waiter arrived, fielded our questions then took our orders.
He returned shortly thereafter with with two French press pots of coffee ($4.25 each) and two pots of Earl Grey Tea ($2.95 each) and two small cups filled with creamer. Can you guess which of us drinks tea?
My order arrived first, their featured menu item the "Red Velvet" ($8.95) a red velved panCAKE topped with brown sugar, powdered sugar AND a plump spiral of sweet cream cheese frosting, y'know, like an actual cake. It tasted like dessert.
Crumbly, perhaps a little dry. Obviously this is a red food coloring velvet cake, not a vinegar buttermilk cocoa chemical reaction fluffy cake. One thing is for sure, this cake is a certifiable sugar bomb.
I did the best I could a kind of enjoyed the first 1/4 of what I ate. Maybe it was the novelty of the sugary showbiz breakfast spectacle.
And then, the sugar torpedo exploded in my stomach radiating into my blood stream and to every corner of my body. The detonation caused a reaction I certainly wasn't expecting...
In the battle between C.monster and The Griddle cafe's Red Velvet panCAKE, the CAKE won, but, once again, I had the last word.
Miss Monkay ordered the "Mounds of Pleasure" ($11.95) - coconut and chocolate chip filled pancake topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.
MissMonkay says: "For the record, I liked my pancakes. They were tasty, BUT too much of a sugar overload. Mind you, they were no Du'Pars, but shit, we knew that going in."
Blackjacker1979 ordered "A Time To Love" ($11.95) - topped with streusel, butterscotch chips and caramel filled with whipped cream, powdered sugar and pumpkin flavored sludge on top.
Everyone at the table tasted this concoction, and we all decided that it was abundantly bizarre. Blackjacker, grimaced, sighed and gave up about 10 bites in. The pumpkin sludge tasted like oily sweet pumpkin pie filling. He brought it home for his brother (known throughout as food's worst enemy) who loved it.
JohnH ordered the "Apple Cobbler French Toast" ($11.95) - described on the menu as thick sliced apple bread rolled in cinnamon crunch batter and griddled to perfection, served with baked cinnamon apples. Home sweet home!
"French toast" covered in sugar with apple pie filling on the side. John cracked it in half, ate about four bites and then became anamored with the disc shaped yellow substance sitting next to the bread.
"What do you guys think this is?" he asked the table. There were two votes for "fried banana" and one vote for "a chunk of pineapple." The answer? We tasted it.... a disc of butter with strong orange notes, thanks to the embedded rind zest.
The Griddle Cafe isn't just a culinary calamity, it is a disgusting dessertery masquerading as breakfast nook. But Chuck, why is there a line 100 deep to get in on weekend mornings? It could be that there really isn't a helluva lot of breakfast joints in that part of Hollywood, and none that have onsite parking that doesn't cost $8 bucks. Not that this is any of your problem, parking is plentiful and free in Las Vegas.
As far as gluttony goes, the offerings at Griddle Cafe (which isn't owned by sbe) match perfectly for drunk Vegas. Chances are, you'll already feel like shit when you wake up at SLS and a megaton sugar bomb might be just what you need to motivate your slothy Pink bedecked ass from your room to the pool.
I had the opposite reaction to sugar toxicity served at The Griddle Cafe. An epic sugar crash decimated my day, sending my mind into a deep sprial of anger, depression, frustration and seething hatred of self and humanity - all in the car ride home. MissMonkay put me in bed, brought me water and gave me solitude to pass the poisons in peace, which took about ninety minutes. I was cranky for the remainder of the day.
Oh, and breakfast for four cost $70+ bucks with tip. I'm going to guess that Vegas pricing will add a buck or two bucks for each entree.
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