By Charly SHELTON
Valley Village is a little way from the Crescenta Valley, but we’ve all been stuck there at some point during rush hour. Rather than sit on the freeway, get off and explore the area until the traffic dies down. I’ve found more good restaurants than I can remember because of rush hour. Next time you find yourself in this situation, there’s a new restaurant on Laurel Canyon Boulevard that won’t disappoint whether you’re waiting out a storm or making a special trip just to visit this place.
Sloane’s Valley Village opened in July and since then has developed a following for its posh-casual ambience, its great oasis-style setting and its upscale-yet-downhome food. Located on Laurel Canyon just north of Magnolia Boulevard, this is one of the first of the more upscale places to establish itself here ahead of the opening of the NoHo West complex, just a few blocks to the north, later this year, which is expected to transform the surrounding area. Sloane’s features New American style food, which basically means all your classic American favorites done up with a twist that surprises diners. Case in point – the fried pickles.
Fried pickles can be found at any number of cafés around LA and many of those iterations of the dish rank anywhere from “horrendous” to “hard pass” at best. But the fried pickles from Sloane’s are different. They are fried, yes, but not to death. They are crunchy but not a rock. You can taste a hint of the dill from the pickle but it isn’t overwhelmingly pickley. The pickles inside are still moist enough to be a pickle but not so moist it turns the breading into a lump of crumbs in your hand. A kick of smoked paprika gives them an unexpected shot of flavor and, with a fry batter of rice flour, they are lighter than most and gluten-free to boot. Not bad for a simple plate of fried pickles.
Beyond that, the burgers are great, the chicken sandwich is ample and the salmon salad is light and flavorful. But more than anything, the one thing you will remember about Sloane’s is the breakfast burrito. When I was brought out to the restaurant to try all of this amazing food, owner and Chef Bobby Montes said three things to me in succession: “Hi. Glad to have you. Try the breakfast burrito, we’re going for the best in LA.” And was it ever! Not just the best in LA but maybe the best I’ve ever had.
The breakfast burrito consists of classics with a twist. Not just bacon, fried pork belly. Not just eggs, over medium – slightly runny – that hold it all together. Not just syrup, a habanero-infused maple syrup for dipping. The little extras really do make the difference when it comes to something as widely available as a breakfast burrito, a dish that can be had at just about every restaurant in LA that is open before 11 a.m. Combine all of this with hash browns, cheese and pico de gallo all wrapped in a grilled flour tortilla and what you get is a breakfast burrito done up in its Sunday best. And it really is the best in LA.
Not that a drive to Valley Village in the morning would be easy, but at least a burrito like this would make the trip worth the hassle. Stop by for breakfast or lunch at Sloane’s Valley Village, 5338 Laurel Canyon Blvd. in Valley Village.