We went over to Eagle Rock to check out the soft non-opening of Larkin's, "a contemporary soul food joint," for Sunday brunch. Technically the little-house-that-could isn't open yet, but they're holding "private events" (Friday and Saturday night dinners, Sunday brunch) for "friends" (sign up for newsletter, get an invitation to RSVP) until they open on Friday, April 13. To us, this is a brilliant way to tiptoe through the typical opening hassles, get the proverbial feet wet, and open when all your ducks are in a row. One of the co-owners admitted that he never owned a restaurant, so they're probably learning along the way. But so far, not bad. A few service kinks---everyone was very charming, but new arrivals occasionally waited at the door without any greeting---but we expect that stuff to smooth out before the official opening.
The menu is full of hearty Southern-style dishes, many with a vegetarian slant (the chef grew up eating and cooking veggie soul food). Who knew vegetarian-gravy smothered potatoes could rock? The brunch is reasonably priced (three items for $15), and we liked it enough to go back for dinner, but that menu looks more interesting: mac and cheese, fried chicken, candied yam ravioli, catfish and greens. It's small, friendly, and run by some very passionate people---a perfect fit for Eagle Rock.
· EaterWire: Larkin's Redefines the Soft Open [Eater LA]
· Plywood Report: Vanilla Bake Shop, Abode, Larkin's, and MORE [Eater LA]