Pastries on Sunset

An unlikely place to find great croissants

How much does a cafeteria-style restaurant on a charmless stretch of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood make us think of Paris?

Not at all.

And yet, if you drift over to the far corner of Luca on Sunset, directly past the cash register, there's a tiered display of pastries that look highly reminiscent of those you might find at a patisserie in the City of Light.

Those are the handiwork of Rebecca West, Luca's new baker. She previously worked at Bouley Bakery and Mercer Kitchen, both in New York City, but it's the time she spent working as a model in Paris that most definitively informs her pastries; that period of her life doubled as an intense study of the croissant.

We do have a soft spot for the squishy, gas-station school of croissant–especially if a push-button "cappuccino" is involved. But if a bakery has even a whisper of Francophile pretense, its croissants ($2.50) must balance buttery richness with a flaking exterior.

We've all but resigned ourselves to the countless shards of bronzed pastry scattered around our car. They are a testament to the excellent texture West's croissants achieve.

Luca on Sunset, 7950 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; 323-822-2900 or lucaonsunset.com