Saturday, Aug 09 2014 09:00 AM

PETE TITTL: Cafe's brunch worth getting up early for

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Sunlight pours into the Wall Street Cafe.

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BY PETE TITTL Contributing columnist

It's a great thing to see that after an impressive debut earlier this year, Wall Street Cafe is not sitting back and coasting.

Just one look at the lunch and dinner menu currently being offered finds it riddled with red "New" labels -- 14! -- so many of them intriguing enough to inspire a repeat visit when I'm not gathering news for this column. It's the kind of menu that makes me want to drag extra friends along so I can sample a lot more foods. A peek at just some of the offerings: filet medallions with brie, truffle honey and crostinis ($13 as an appetizer -- the picture on Facebook looks amazing), split pea soup with white truffle oil and langoustine ($11), many new salads including a summer salad with strawberries, candied walnuts and a mango vinaigrette ($11), seared scallops with wild mushroom risotto ($26) and miso-glazed ahi with bitter greens, toasted sesame dressing, snow peas and garlic chili oil ($26).

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1818 L St.



Hours: Breakfast 7-11 a.m. Monday-Friday. Lunch and dinner 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Sunday brunch 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Reservations recommended.

Prices: Breakfast and weekend brunch $6.99-$13.99. Appetizers $6-$13, salad and soup $9-$18, sandwiches $12-$14, entrees $15-$34, desserts $7-$9. No child's plate.

Payment: MasterCard, VISA, American Express and Discover accepted. Personal checks not accepted.

Dress: Casual

Amenities: Wheelchair accessible; beer and wine served; some vegetarian options.

Food: ***1/2

Atmosphere: ****

Service: ***1/2

Value: ***1/2

But my mission wasn't lunch or dinner. I visited to sample the new weekday breakfast and weekend brunch menu, which has only seven items but many tempting choices nonetheless.

There's an eggs Benedict trio, the standard three eggs with meat and potatoes, steak and eggs made with skirt steak, an early-bird sandwich and fresh granola and fruit parfait. But we spurned all that and went for the gusto: the Wall St. French Toast ($8.99) and the duck confit hash ($10.99).

That French toast was amazing. On the side was bliss-inducing maple syrup. If you're not familiar with the subtle sweetness of real maple syrup, it will knock you out of your socks the first time you try it. You'll never go back to Aunt Jemima. The toast was made with rich brioche bread, peanut brittle that had been blended with butter (it is stunning, folks -- little dabs of that on top made me wonder why no one had ever done this before) and chopped cherries. It was sweet but not cloying, satisfying to the maximum degree.

My companion sometimes spurns these creations, unwilling to pay the price of the blood sugar crash later in the day. You won't get that here. Dig in!

Before I talk about the duck, I need to make sure everyone here knows what confit (pronounced con-fee) means. It's how meats were cooked and stored and preserved in their fat back in the days before refrigeration. What we were served here is the very definition of what makes good confit: the crispy skin on top, the meat beneath it tender and falling off the bone. (You can also get this with egg in the early-bird sandwich).

This was presented with two eggs over easy as a crown and on a base of potatoes sliced so thinly and fried they were almost like potato chips, with a black peppery seasoning and a very appealing mix of sauteed vegetables (onions, yellow and red peppers). The portion of duck was particularly generous.

When we visited on a Saturday the crowd was light, but once word gets out, this hip bar/dinner spot will be pulling them in. If you're the type who likes to have alcohol early in the day, they offer $3 mimosas.

Cafe Wall Street can be recommended for a fine dining brunch experience.

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