In the heart of Beverly Hills lies a Jewish Deli. This Jewish Deli is called Nate ‘n Al. It sticks out like a sore thumb. If that comes across as mean it is not. The salt of the earth, Larry King endorsed diner doesn’t fit in with the eclectic, fine dining, 30-dollar chopped salad restaurants surrounding it. Except for one.
The Peach Pit.
If one thought a Jewish Deli serving corned beef on rye bread sandwiches wouldn’t make it, then they probably would have thought that a kitsch 1950s diner that caters to barely legal adolescents would die a much quicker death.
But then again, kiddie corner to both of these establishments is The Cheesecake Factory, serving clientele who stay at the 5 star hotels nearby. This tells me that people, no matter what age, still have a special place in their hearts for diner fare. They don’t need the frou-frou tartars and confits, but rather, the standard grilled cheese.
The 90210 zip code encompasses the main hubbub of Beverly Hills. It’s crowded, filled with traffic, tourists taking pictures, every notable designer’s flagship store, and flamboyant mansions.
It’s rather intimidating going into a diner filled with teens. Who are these people? There isn’t a high school around. There aren’t any “under 18” things to do in this area except maybe crash a hotel’s pool. Is it the scene? Is it the food? I’m sure the people who dine here have never actually had a childhood. Their parents whipped them into adults with a vast expense account right when they were born, so they didn’t have to deal with them. If The Peach Pit allows them to savor a droplet or two of any halcyon days they have left, which isn’t many, and keeps them off the streets from a sleazy Hollywood lawyer or producer then let them in.
1950s diners still exist. Some are better built than others. Johnny Rockets would be considered a 10 when it comes to kitsch diner décor. The Peach Pit would be considered a three at best. Plain and mundane with plastic records hanging and linoleum and pleather everything. The only redeeming quality of The Peach Pit is its jukebox. The old school original with neon lights plays 45’s. The selection is vast carrying many more deep tracks than one might think. Sam and Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin’” is a good attention grabber that not only gets the crowd hyped up, but also hungry.
The menu is healthier and more expensive than one might think; then again it is in Los Angeles’ capital of quinoa salads and Rolls Royces. Instead of shakes, the teenagers drink cucumber and wheat grass juices. There is a section on the menu called “Alkalize and Energize.” It seems like it was taken right out of a Tony Robbins speech. The plastic one sheet featured boring wraps like a Waldorf, Club, and Ham and Gorgonzola. What was surprising was the fact that the menu changes for lunch, dinner, and breakfast, plus it changes every season. During the mornings when all of the student’s have their parents call them in sick for the day, they eat chorizo migas with a side of healthy bran cereal and skim milk. Migas is like an egg scramble embedded with bits of tortilla chips, roasted chilies, and house made pico de gallo. The eggs, being egg whites of course, were fluffy. They’re also used as the thickening agent for their strawberry and peach smoothie. I didn’t mind especially since the smoothie didn’t need an ounce of liquor to make it smooth.
What’s pleasing to the eyes is to see many of the skinny blonde girls eat and not just look good. They stuffed their faces with what’s called a Left Over roast beef wrap. This was the one wrap I was okay with. The blood dripped onto their plates as if they were Twilight vampires. The sight was definitely worth a #.
I made the most out of lunch with a seafood antipasto plate. A horrible decision. Whereas the produce in the morning was fresh, the seafood here is canned. The people at my table ordered a sausage and beet salad, not typical dining fare, but I kept an open mind. Pieces of lean turkey sausage were tossed with colorful cooked beets, carrots, caraway seeds, and parsley. The rye bread The Peach Pit uses, taken directly from Nate N’ Als.
If there was ever a moment where I thought I was somewhere other than Beverly Hills, the prices to each dish brought me back to reality. The breakfast smoothie by itself cost $12. The majority of the teenagers around me used black colored credit cards. I tried to imagine what their credit limit must be.
I assumed that when The Peach Pit said they served dinner that that was a joke. I mean, come on, do teenagers honestly eat here three times a day? Don’t they have other activities to do like go to a number of school dances playing 90s pop? I guess their nannies don’t cook as well as the awesome line cooks of The Peach Pit, because the place was still jammed, many of the patrons being the same repeating customers. I stayed away from the seafood, but others ordered the Cajun Mahi Mahi and Greek style-lemon fish. I devoured the rosemary-garlic lamb steak with hot pepper potatoes. Desserts did not consist of your generic pies and brownies. The Peach Pit offered many spiced fruit: honey-cinnamon apples, plum meringue, strawberries in Grand Marnier, and creamy balsamic strawberries. The real treat was the creamy balsamic strawberries. There’s something about balsamic vinegar that brings the flavor almost out of everything.
At 11, the teenagers’ safe haven is closed for the day. They vacate and hopefully don’t get into too much trouble. I didn’t expect to have this much fun at The Peach Pit. What seemed mostly boring and mundane on the outside and the inside happened to be pretty colorful when the food came out and the music started playing. The Peach Pit is not your obvious choice when the competition nearby is Spago and Bouchon, but it does beat the high school cafeteria.
ATMOSPHERE: Hormone enraged good looking teens dance, drink, and gawk at each other with the eyes of romance in a half assed 1950s diner that actually plays some really good tunes.
SERVICE: It’s subpar. Teenagers are your bussers, servers, and hostesses. They don’t take a whole lot of pride in what they’re doing because to them everything is a popularity contest.
SOUND LEVEL: Always loud filled with the day’s gossip of who’s dating whom, who’s cheating on whom, and who doesn’t have a date to the prom yet. Luckily, the jukebox drains most of these supercilious conversations.
RECOMMENDED: The Chorizo Migas (for breakfast), sausage and beet salad (lunch), lamb steak (dinner), creamy balsamic strawberries (dessert).
DRINKS: You have to ask for filtered water. They have fresh juices and smoothies too. No sodas, coffee, or tea.
PRICES: $15-$35…the prices are outrageous but then again, you are in the heart of Beverly Hills.
OPEN: M-F from 7am-11pm
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes
Restrooms: One male, one female, and one family/handicap/transgender…whatever you want to call it.