By Brianna Chu
Some readers may already recognize Meat District Co. from last November’s feature on the restaurant in the Business Spotlight. If not, well… (*cough* You should go read it before you read my review. *cough*)
If you’ve never been to the restaurant, it’s got a modern, industrial atmosphere with rustic, warm touches. You can see right into the open kitchen and even the curing station, with meat hanging from hooks, in the back pantry area. The bar at the back of the restaurant is backed in white subway tiles with warm-hued lighting. Behind the hostess table is a display case with golden knives and other implements. The industrial touches are everywhere: the ashy wooden clogs on the walls, the open bulbs of the light fixtures, concrete floor. The floor length windows in the front bring in stunning rays of light from without, especially given the typically sunny Southern California mornings.
Their new brunch menu is available to peruse and choose from every Sunday from 11 am-3 pm. I was lucky enough to try most of their brunch menu, so let’s start by going over the main lay of the menu, as it were: the savory options!
Is it California without avocado toast? Meat District serves their smashed avocado on two slices of charcoal French bread, with a colorful mixed salad of carrots, arugula, slices of cucumber and baby yellow and red cherry tomatoes. The addition of lemon and pickled red onion on top bring welcome acidity to the toast. This avocado toast is definitely the healthy brunch option, but you can add eggs for that extra dose of brunch luxury!
Their steak and eggs was everything that I’ve always wanted steak and eggs to be. I’ve been to diners for brunch before and eyed the steak and eggs on the menu before deciding that diners’ specialties aren’t usually steak, so I’d be better off ordering something else. Meat District is the perfect place to order such an item, as they specialize in quality meat! The fried eggs were crispy and brown around the edges, and the strips of grass-fed hanger steak were incredibly tender and perfectly cooked to the requested medium rare. It’s served with skin-on, fried purple and white fingerling potatoes, which were crisp, a touch smoky, and very addictive!
The filet benedict was two halves of an English muffin, each topped with arugula, a filet medallion, a perfectly poached egg covered in a delicate chipotle hollandaise, and finally, dusted with Korean chili flakes. On the side were roasted fingerling potatoes, red bell peppers, and onions. The English muffin was soft, not tough or chewy, and the peppery chick of the arugula and the chili flakes complemented the tender filet wonderfully.
Their signature Black Label burger is served at brunch, too! Well-balanced in flavor, it featured what tasted like homemade barbecue sauce, arugula, aged cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, and caramelized onions between charcoal brioche buns. It was served on a custom wooden cutting board in the shape of a butcher’s knife – a nice thematic aesthetic. While an unusual brunch menu item, it’s a dang good burger, so if you came along to brunch and secretly wanted just lunch, they’ve got you covered!
Their brunch menu features only two sweet brunch items, but seems an understandable decision for a restaurant with a greater focus on meat. The first of the sweet options was the picturesque French toast, made from firm, dense, two-toned bread. It wasn’t inherently sweet, so I recommend dousing in syrup to your taste for your fill of sweetness! On the flipside, I did not think the peanut butter and jelly pancakes needed syrup – it was perfectly sweet and nuanced all on its own. Also, a perk of the pancakes? They came with a plate of two eggs however you like them and choice of bacon or eggs. I love bacon, but I suspected that the sausage might be something out of the ordinary – and I was right! It was a cheddar jalapeño sausage that had heavier and richer taste from the cheese, with a palate-warming kick from the jalapeño in the sausage! But I digress. The star of the show, the PB&J pancakes, were cloud-soft yet bouncy and crisp around the edges, with added flavor from a hint of cinnamon. The tart and sweetness of the strawberry jam hit my tongue first, along with the heavenly softness and bounce of the pancake, and then the rich and creamy nutty flavor of the peanut butter joined the breakfast symphony. Let your inner child rejoice!
There’s something for everyone in this brunch menu (not 100% sure if the avocado toast is vegan-friendly, but it’s certainly vegetarian friendly!), whether you want something fancy or something fun!
Meat District, Co.
69 N. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91103