Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Uncle John's Ham n' Eggs -- Downtown's Greasy Spoon and Chopstick

I never ate at the original location of Uncle John's Ham n' Eggs and after missing my window with "Jail Denny's" becoming Nibblers and now going back to "Jail Denny's," I didn't want to miss out again. The economy being what it is, places can disappear over night.

Now located next to and connected through the lobby of the Stillwell Hotel, I was surprised at how nice the interior was. I knew the reputation of Uncle John's as a greasy spoon and this did not match that. I hoped the new location had only changed the environment and not the content. Once the waitress handed me the menu my fears were allayed.

Uncle John's serves both American and Chinese food. The menu has Chinese dishes on one side and American ones (primarily breakfast but also some lunch items) on the other. Well, there is a little bit of bleed over from one side to the other. For example; most of the breakfasts have as an option either potatoes and toast or rice. The prices were very reasonable for a place known for large portions. Most of the entrees were hovering around $8 or $9.

Of course I had to try one of these...ugh, "fusions" for lack of a better word. I decided to go in a little bit different direction. I ordered the spicy fried pork chop (so spicy it had to have a chili pepper icon next to it on the menu) and eggs. I decided to go with the potatoes and toast option, rather than rice.

The pork chops were really good. Normally, I don't like breaded meats because the breading tends to be soggy and greasy, but surprisingly these were not like that at all. The breading was crisp and actually reminded me of chicken McNuggets (which is secretly my favorite fast food item). My eggs were undercooked and disappointing, though. The potatoes were pretty standard--not good, not bad.

I didn't find the portions to be anything out of the ordinary but I did wish everything had come out on a larger plate. It was just a big pile. I imagine the peppers went with the pork chop, but the scallions left me wondering. Were they part of the pork chop portion or were they supposed to be for the eggs? Maybe for the potatoes, since they needed a little something?

After finishing my meal I sat for awhile and enjoyed my coffee and--by god!--I paid for that full hour on the parking meter and I was going to use it. The staff kept my coffee full the whole time.

Uncle John's Ham n' Eggs is a decent greasy spoon with over a 30 year history. Not too long ago this was probably one of the few places in downtown that you could get a hearty breakfast that wasn't at a chain restaurant. I think it still services a need for folks who live and work down there. I mean, where else can you get some fried rice with your hotcakes?

Food: Decent
Service: Good
Price: $6-9
Pie: None.

Uncle John's Ham n' Eggs
433 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 623-3555

The original location.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The decor is left over from when the place was the nouveau-American Route 66 Diner for a shortish while. When they closed, and Uncle John's was faced with raised rents, they just moved in and took everything as-is. That's why it doesn't match either the "Chinese" or the "greasy spoon" aesthetic.

The food is good -- it was just as good at the old place but the atmosphere is gone. They do seem to be hanging on to their customer base, pretty much, so I'm glad because I don't want them to go under.

BTW, just found your blog and am fascinated by it! Keep it up :)