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We're sure you'll get the yolk

June 23, 2004|Leslee Komaiko

Eggs in all their glory -- poached, fried and sunny side up -- are turning up in unexpected places.

At Aubergine in Newport Beach, for example, a starter of slow-braised pork belly is topped with a fried egg. "It's basically like bacon and eggs," says chef de cuisine Jason Niederkorn. "It's the kind of dish I grew up on; my mom just didn't make a very good version of it." Sister restaurant Red Pearl Kitchen in Huntington Beach serves vegetarian fried rice laced with the traditional scrambled egg and topped with a fried egg. "You can barely see the fried rice beneath it," Niederkorn says.

Lee Hefter, chef at Spago in Beverly Hills, lately has been featuring an appetizer of miso-glazed cod on a bed of sticky rice salad tricked out with hijiki seaweed and Japanese pickles. The final touch? A sunny side up quail egg atop the cod. "It's our twist on a Japanese breakfast," Hefter says.

Meanwhile, Olivier Rousselle, chef at Michael's in Santa Monica, is offering a special of sauteed Alaskan halibut finished with a poached egg. "Right before we send it to the table, we poke the egg with a knife so the yolk runs all over the fish," he says. Where did Rousselle get the idea? "I was just playing with what we have. Then I thought the fish is already rich. The egg is something to complement that richness. It's like eggs Benedict."

There are plenty of other unlikely eggs about town.

At AOC, a thick slice of toasted brioche is topped with molten aged Gruyere and a small frisee salad, then blanketed with prosciutto and crowned with a sunny side up egg. "To me it's like the dream meal," says chef Suzanne Goin, "like a frisee lardon salad meets a croque-monsieur."

Chef Robert Gadsby of downtown's Noe takes thinly pounded tuna carpaccio, wraps it around a little salad to form a sort of tuna ball and garnishes it with your basic toad-in-the-hole: a sunny side up quail egg cooked in the hollowed-out center of a toast round.

Norman's steak and egg Salvadoran style is a filet mignon set on a bed of crushed red beans and topped with a big sunny side up egg. Chef Norman Van Aken says customers do, on occasion, order the steak sans egg. But he adds, "more often than not in this Atkins age, they're fine with the egg but they don't want the beans."

For diners looking for the budget version of this dish, Fatburger might be the ticket. The chain of hamburger joints has earned some renown for its egg burger, a standard hamburger with one not-so-standard addition: a single glistening fried egg.

Leslee Komaiko


Small bites

* After a stint in New York as co-chefs at Larry Forgione's Restaurant Above, Kazuto Matsusaka, who headed the kitchen at Chinois and opened Zenzero, and his wife, Vicki Fan, have opened Beacon, an Asian cafe, in a loft-like space across from the Helms Bakery building.

Beacon, 3280 Helms Ave., Culver City, (310) 838-7500.

* Falcon has debuted "Souper 8" Wednesday evenings on the patio: a night devoted to soup and short films. Diners can order off the regular menu or choose from the special soup and salad menu. At 10 p.m., one or two short films are screened. (There is no extra charge for the screening.)

Falcon, 7213 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 850-5350.

* La Di Da has opened in West Hollywood, in the second-floor space most recently home to Cyrano. Chef Gilbert Castellon, who has worked with Alan Wong in Hawaii, offers a contemporary American menu with some Hawaiian-inspired dishes.

La Di Da, 8840 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 492-0880.

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