I don't know that many people would consider the stretch of Beverly around Union, just west of downtown, to be a village, but village or not, they are putting out some great food at the Village Kitchen.
The Village Kitchen is a storefront cafe founded by the Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children. The cafe, which is open for breakfast and lunch, is staffed by recently homeless or imprisoned women who are learning the ins and outs of cooking and learning it well.
The Kitchen offers an assortment of sandwiches, salads and baked goods which daily specials. They have a commitment to natural, made from scratch food. Best of all, the food is great.
Among my favorites have been a sausage sandwich with nicely stewed onions (a gourmet take on the NY red onion sauce you get on street dogs) and a salmon blt with a big chunk of salmon, excellent bacon and homemade mayo. I also enjoyed the grilled chicken sandwich and the giant Thai beef salad, an extra healthy rendition of the dish you can find all over nearby Thaitown. This version has mesclun mix, mango, avocado, big hunks of warm, marinated beef and a nice lime-garlic dressing.
The desserts are also fabulous. The red velvet cupcake is more died-red than it should be, but has a good flavor. The chocolate cake, while it had a great buttercream frosting, was much too dense.
While there are a few chairs outside, Village Kitchen is largely a take-out lunch business (along with a small breakfast menu that I have yet to try). It's, quite simply, one of the best things to hit this neighborhood in years. So give it a try.
1667 Beverly Blvd. (east of Union)
Los Angeles, CA
Hours: M-F 6:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.