French toast in this city assumes many guises:
* James Beach: Try the "Coast Toast" at this Venice restaurant: 2-inch thick slices of sourdough bread soaked in an eggy batter and "puff-broiled" to moist, custardy perfection. Served with butter, powdered sugar and maple syrup at brunch on Saturday and Sunday. (Coast Toast, $8.50.) James Beach, 60 N. Venice Blvd., Venice, (310) 823-5396.
* Fred 62: It's a tough choice between the rich, cream-soaked, oven-puffed "Fluffy French Toast" and the James Beard-style "Bearded Mr. Frenchy," which is crusted with corn flakes. Both are served with real maple syrup from 6 a.m. to noon weekdays, and until 2 p.m. on weekdays. (French toast, $4.62 and $5.62.) Fred 62, 1850 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 667-0062.
* Broadway Deli: This contemporary deli offers a heady, memorable, crunchy French toast with a slivered almond crust. We especially like the "Number 2 Special," which has half an order of this French toast, two eggs and a choice of bacon, ham or sausage. Served until 3 p.m. daily. (Crunchy French toast, $5.75; Number 2 Special, $6.75.) Broadway Deli, 1457 Third St. Promenade, Santa Monica, (310) 451-0616.
* The Chez: The French toast at the Beverly Prescott is made with the restaurant's own fine-textured brioche that's dipped in buttermilk, griddled and served with a banana pear compote and apple chicken sausage at breakfast. (French toast, $9.) The Chez, Beverly Prescott Hotel, 1224 S. Beverwill Drive, Los Angeles, (310) 772-2999.
* Du-Par's: For the very best traditional, no-frills, coffee-shop French toast, it is universally conceded that Du-Par's is the place. Thick, supermarket bread becomes a dreamy, egg-rich, custardy substance that's sprinkled with confectioner's sugar, well-doused in melted butter, and served all day. (French toast, full order of five pieces $4.95; three pieces, $3.95.) Du-Par's, Farmer's Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (213) 933-8446; 12036 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 766-4437; Thousand Oaks Inn, 75 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, (805) 373-8785.
* Marston's: Another homage to James Beard (who claimed he got the idea for breading French toast with corn flakes from dining cars on the Santa Fe Railroad), this Pasadena breakfast spot makes French toast with a crunchy, crumbled-corn-flake crust. Served Tuesday-Saturday until 11 a.m. (French toast, $6.) Marston's, 151 E. Walnut St., Pasadena, (626) 796-2459.
* Swingers: You can have regular French toast made with good, thick challah bread. Or try the stuffed French toast, which is slices of French toast layered with cream cheese and bacon and topped with nuts and seasonal fruits that have been sauteed in orange juice. (French toast, $4.95; stuffed French toast, $5.50.) Swingers, 8020 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 653-5858.