I had a very disappointing breakfast this morning at The Wood, a brand new little cafe in Mar Vista where El Castillo used to be. They transformed the little castle into a cute cafe, with outdoor seating. It is a new venture between the owners of The Grind and Cafe Laurent. I was really hoping The Wood would be a fantastic little neighborhood gem, with decent breakfast and coffee, but unfortunately the best thing in the place is the cool Dave Lefner print on the wall.
You order at the counter and they bring your order to you. The service is quasi-self-serve. Want syrup for your pancakes, or sugar for your coffee, get up and get it. When the server brought me my meal, the flatware was rolled up in a paper napkin, on the plate with my food, sopping up the grease. Good thing I had already gotten a napkin myself when I got my coffee.
They offer many espresso drinks, but their drip coffee is served in ultra-tacky pump thermoses you serve yourself. My capuccino was brought out in a paper cup for my "for-here" order, and they quickly put it in a ceramic cup at my request. I ordered the 2x breakfast of two eggs, two sausages, two pieces of bacon and two pancakes, with potatoes. The potatoes were greasy and tasted like the oil they were fried in, the scrambled eggs were prepared the way I hate: not stirred before they hit the grill. So you end up with white bits and yellow bits. The pancakes had the fainted hint of rose water - a very perfumey, soapy taste. Intentional or not, I did not like them.
The space is loud - it was only me, a table of two and a couple of employees (and lots of traffic at the intersection). I really, really, wanted to like The Wood - it would be so great to have a great breakfast and lunch place within walking distance from my apartment, but the meal was so mediocre, and the coffee so unmemorable, I am afraid to go back and give it another try.
12000 Washington Blvd.