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Time To Go To The Nickel

November 14, 2008

I’ve been interested in a trip to The Nickel, a new diner in downtown L.A. that is run by three interesting women (including a former pastry chef from Thomas “French Laudry” Keller), but two things today pushed me over the edge.  First, Jonathan Gold (the LA Weekly’s pulitzer winning food critic) named The Nickel one of his “99 Essential LA Restaurants”, and second, I saw this article about how The Nickel is now selling bacon donuts.  To quote Jonathan Gold’s review:

Even given the gentrification of downtown, the Nickel appears less like a diner than a movie set, a seemingly unreconstructed ’40s-era greasy spoon that popped up a few steps from what used to be considered the gamiest intersection in town, on a block where artists in natty hats share the sidewalk with homeless guys and dazed European tourists. The Nickel occupies the site of a long-forgotten diner — the remodelers uncovered hand-painted wall menus with prices last current during the Truman administration — but while the restaurant reflects the flavor of the neighborhood, it is more ambitious than that: The BLTs come with arugula; the hash is made with spicy pulled pork instead of canned corned beef; and all the toast, including the cinnamon-dusted Nickel Bag, is made with bread baked in-house. There are fancy dishes of baked eggs over polenta and mushrooms, as well as the usual fried (and vegan scrambles), brioche, as well as pancakes, and alongside the freshly squeezed orange juice is a cucumber-intensive house-made version of V8. The Nickel, which serves only breakfast and lunch for the moment, is a new kind of downtown diner, a Ships for a generation for whom full-sleeve tattoos are the new black — and it’s about time. 524 S. Main St., dwntwn, (213) 623-8301

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