by David Andrusia
GRUB (911 Seward Street, Los Angeles) is lunch central for Hollywood creative types, and with good reason: everything on the menu is savory and fine. There’s some updating, to be sure- the Carnitas Wrap ($12) takes pork to a soft, ropa viejalike level- but the results work well. The gargantuan Crack Bacon Burger ($13), cooked to just medium rare, was delish (though the BBQ sauce was more cloying than its advertised "spicy" self; in fact, it doesn’t need to adorn this otherwise fantastic burger at all); roasted potatoes, piping hot and crusty, had just the right touch of onions and herbs.
Appetizers rule the roost, though: Spicy Crab and Artichoke Dip ($10) arrives bubbling in a ramekin, all creamy goodness and chock full of crab; served with fresh chips, it warrants a double order for a gaggle of friends. You might also try their hearty and healthful Beef Chili ($12, bowl), bursting with flavor and not merely heat. Mac & Cheese ($11) is good, but the cheese needed to be more assertive to meet up harmoniously with the cayenne kick. Coffee, shipped from San Francisco, will remind you of that city’s java joints; it’s just about the best in town. Service is super-attentive and welcoming; we fell in love with Karla, a brown-eyed cutie, who made us feel right at home. There’s a reason for Grub’s great success: good prices, fine fare, and a super staff are it.