When I was in college, breakfast of toasted bagel, cream cheese and lox eaten with the Sunday paper spread all over the table seemed like a wonderful luxury. Later I discovered the nuances of gum-free cream cheese and the bialys and Nova from Russ & Daughters and Barney Greengrass in New York. (Barney Greengrass has an outpost on the top floor of Barneys New York in Beverly Hills.) Satiny smoked salmon or other fish can be enjoyed other ways as well. Here are a few places to find superior smoked fish in the L.A. area.
The French caviar house founded in 1920 has been supplying top-grade caviar and smoked salmon to Los Angeles for some 20 years from its cafe and shop in West Hollywood. Chef Giselle Wellman (ex-Bouchon) eases guests into brunch with a Bellini or lavender mimosa. She makes a beautiful eggs Benedict with the usual — English muffins, excellent quality Black Forest ham, poached eggs and hollandaise — but dresses it up with Pétrossian's fabulously silky smoked salmon. Even more indulgent, eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and caviar. Have it outside on the sidewalk terrace. You'll think you're in Paris.
321 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 271-6300, http://www.petrossian.com. Bagel with smoked salmon, $20, with smoked salmon and caviar, $28.
Hurry over to Spago for one last smoked salmon pizza before Wolfgang Puck closes the iconic Beverly Hills restaurant in early July for a remodel. When Spago reopens, it will have both a new look and a new menu — and no more of the famous smoked salmon pizza that Puck has been turning out since he opened his little pizza place in 1982. Baked in a wood-fired oven, the pizza is garnished with house-smoked salmon, thinly sliced red onion, dill crème fraîche, gobs of caviar or salmon pearls and a scattering of chives. (Note: It's not on the menu. You have to ask for it.) If you don't manage to get in before the end of June, not to worry: Puck has posted the recipe on his website at wolfgangpuck.com/recipes.
176 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 385-0880; http://www.wolfgangpuck.com. Smoked salmon pizza, $24.
At Huckleberry in Santa Monica, the line snakes out the door for pastry chef Zoe Nathan's cinnamon rolls, Valrhona chocolate croissants and tea cake. You'd think people had never seen a muffin or a coffeecake before. But the breakfast menu at this sweet, modest cafe also includes a stellar house-smoked salmon platter, with all the fixings, including sliced red onions, cream cheese, capers, cucumbers — and the surprise of arugula. No bagels, though, but the platter includes thick slabs of toasted house-baked bread.
1014 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 451-1322, http://www.huckleberrycafe.com. Smoked salmon platter, $14.50.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times