A plateful of thick, eggy French toast triangles amply drizzled with Nutella and sprinkled with powdered sugar stares up at my son. It's the kind of presentation that makes a kid's eyes widen in disbelief. He stares back, knife and fork in hands. Does he pierce the strawberry first? Sink into the whipped cream? Or go for the full attack?
The latter strategy wins out. A forkful of fluffy, creamy, chocolatey sweetness elicits one of those guttural pleasure sounds. This is what people — many, many people — come to Bea Bea's for. They come for the pleasure of a decadent breakfast.
At noon on a Monday there's a line out the door of this sizable mini-mall restaurant. On weekends, the wait is longer. Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. there are a few early birds but the place fills up by 9. Not everyone is indulging in waffles, pancakes, crepes and French toast with creative toppings. Some are enjoying Bea Bea's unique egg dishes, but almost everyone is having breakfast. Even though they have an all-day lunch menu, why try anything else when Bea Bea's motto is "Breakfast is Everything"?
While my son devoured his dish, his friend dug into a tasty, egg-heavy breakfast burrito and I enjoyed the Kai Kai's Special, an egg-white scramble with mushrooms, jalapenos, cilantro and a side of grilled chicken. Our satisfaction almost wiped clean our annoyance at a number of irritants that came before, some of which I'm compelled to list here. Getting a table was chaotic; the tables, walls, utensils and more were banged up from overuse; the noise of the crowd (including screaming babies) was overwhelming and worsened by the loud, scratchy speakers; the windows were plastered with fingerprints; tables sat unbussed; and worst of all, the service was so inefficient that the majority of our dishes and hot drinks came out cool. This place is in dire need of a strong manager a la Food Network's Restaurant Impossible.
So how is it I had a relatively good time? Maybe it was actually because of the loud crowd and the relaxed service. It feels like you're in a big family kitchen. But more likely, it was because of the tasty food. A second visit introduced me to the caramelized peach crepes which got better with every bite. The variety of foods at Bea Bea's is staggering. Give yourself 10 or more minutes to peruse the vast menu of scrambles, omelets, burritos, quesadillas, Benedicts and of course the aforementioned carb-fests. If you're a vegan, a gluten-avoider or a cholesterol buster, there's plenty for you here too, including some amazing gluten-free pancakes and egg-white scrambles.
The meals are all very filling, which I guess justifies the high price tags. The average dish costs $10.50, but can reach $16.95. For that price, I'd rather patronize a more elegant breakfast spot. But if I had a large group, especially one with children, I'd definitely consider Bea Bea's.
Where: 353 N. Pass Ave., Burbank.
When: Daily 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Prices: Pancake, waffle, French toast and egg entrees $8.95 to $16.95; Sandwiches and lunch entrees $9.95 to $13.95.
Contact: (818) 846-2327
LISA DUPUY has been writing local restaurant reviews since 2008. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.