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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Hot Cuisine--Born in the U.S.A.

July 04, 1986|RUTH REICHL

Today is just about the only day that you can't walk into the Beverly Hills Breakfast Club, 9671 Wilshire Blvd., (213) 271-8903, and have something really satisfying to eat. It's closed for the Fourth, which seems appropriate, given its true-blue American menu.

BHBC is yet another homage to the diner. But this one is different: it's not kitsch, and it's not kiddish. It seems proud of its roots, and when you look up at the display of Campbell soup cans and Cracker Jack and Quaker Oats boxes you are suddenly struck by the strength of the designs. These quintessentially American objects are a pleasure to look at.

And most of this food is a pleasure to eat. It's as if somebody had finally looked at our most familiar foods and realized that they were pretty good. It's just simple stuff--fresh juice, eggs with potatoes, French toast, waffles. Corned beef hash with crispy edges and lots of flavor. Big burgers and salads and sandwiches that keep you going all day. I had a meatloaf sandwich that tasted just like the one my best friend used to bring to school in her lunch box.

Finding a pretty little place with straightforward food at reasonable prices would be a pleasure anywhere. But on this particular stretch of Beverly Hills it seems like a minor miracle. Too bad it isn't open for dinner.

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