8428 Melrose Place
No telephone number
My obsession with Croft Alley started when I saw a post on Instagram of a bowl of creamy-white house-made yogurt that was artfully drizzled with pure chlorophyll and decorated with glistening berries. Then I saw a picture of their baby kale & mint salad with perilla leaves and crispy shallots in a coconut dressing. These were just the kind of simple yet inspiring dishes that I always find myself drawn to!
Needless to say, I quickly became a "regular", stopping in every chance I had when visiting L.A. from the ranch. I adore the staff there and now call Phuong, chef and co-owner, a dear friend. (They have this thing where they all say, very loudly, "Jessica DaaaAAAaang!" when I show up. Never gets old!)
This place is a challenge to find as there are no signs to point it out. It's literally tucked into an alley behind the more visible Alfred Coffee & Tea and therefore completely hidden from the famed storefronts of Melrose Place. But, of course, this is all part of its insider-y charm.
It's nothing short of a miracle what they can pull off in their tiny kitchen, which contains only induction burners and convection ovens! Everything on their well-edited menu is executed flawlessly, from the custardy French scrambled eggs to the golden-crisped tuna melt. (Believe it or not, they also serve pho on Tuesdays.) For those who are gluten-free and vegan, there are plenty of options that thankfully never taste like hippie food.
Real food and real people. Gotta love that.
*Croft Alley also holds private speakeasy dinners and provides catering. I had a small birthday dinner here last year and everyone loved it. We had miniature steamed Vietnamese rice cakes, heirloom tomato salad, kale & mint salad, prime rib roast, grilled broccolini, celeriac purée and panna cotta.