Lunch Break: Dusty’s Bistro in Silver Lake

Dusty's Bistro
Croque Madame with turkey: Sandwich with Swiss au gratin on the outside, tomatoes on the inside and a fried egg on top. Get the traditional French sandwich by ordering the Croque Monsieur, made with ham and egg-less.

With information literally at our fingertips via smartphones, it’s a rare thing for me to leave the house without being armed and ready with a Yelp-approved lunch or dinner destination.  On our way to the newly-opened Silver Lake Meadow park last Friday (nice day for a work holiday), we headed down Sunset to get some grub.  As we drove, nothing seemed appealing until the husband spotted the scalloped edge of striped awning at the corner of West Sunset Boulevard and Descanso Drive with the words “breakfast”, “lunch” and “dinner” emblazoned across it.  “There!” he exclaimed, and so it was decided: lunch at Dusty’s Bistro.

Having just returned from Italy, we were charmed by the restaurant’s European feel (and the fact that a few doors down was an all-in-one liquor & antique furniture store, Daisy’s).  It wasn’t until we had a bite of Dusty’s appetizer bread (baguettes with wheat bread served with jam and butter) that we knew we were in love.  I ordered the Croque Madame on turkey with salad, while the hubz got the lamb burger with fries.

I spoke to Dusty’s general manager, Brandon Ho (who multitasks as the sommelier) about the restaurant’s menu, decor and more.

The restaurant was originally opened and own by Maria Miller, a French-Canadian who hails from Montréal but was born and raised in Italy, and her son, David DiSalvio.  As a result of its owners’ global influences, the menu — which Ho describes as “contemporary American” — has “always been eclectic…we’re all over the map.”  The menu is a melting pot of international fare: You’ll find the above-mentioned French Croque Madame (or Monsieur – $14 & $13, respectively) and savory crepes ($13 – $15), the Italian rigatone bolognese (pasta with pork & veal meat sauce with truffle oil, $14), a good ol’ American Philly cheese steak ($13) and more.

Dusty's Bistro
Mouth-watering bread from La Brea Bakery

As a carb fiend, I had to ask about the bread.  The bistro gets it from the delicious La Brea Bakery, “just like everyone else,” jokes Ho.

The restaurant’s earthy, Parisian-meets-American-Art-Deco atmosphere includes a few curveballs: a Yoda figure looking out at diners, original paintings courtesy of a former general manager/artist, and a giant tamales sign, among others. But Ho has two words to describe the bohemian decor: “Stevie Nicks.”  Original owner Miller was influenced by her European upbringing, and her son DiSalvio collected rock photography (thus the photos of ’70s classic rock icons).  DiSalvio had picked up the tamales & burritos sign at a local thrift store, but couldn’t find a good place to show it off. When he and his mother opened the restaurant, the sign found a home.  The art deco lights were custom-designed by a local lighting company, and the booths were also locally made.

For vegetarians,  Ho recommends their Mediterranean salad, the Sheherazade, which boasts baby greens with tabbouleh, hummus, eggplant, olives and a mint yogurt dressing ($12).  His favorite dish is the chilaquiles made with the house’s own sauce on corn tortillas, fried eggs, sour cream and avocado with chorizo ($13, meatless is $11). It’s a dish the chefs are most proud of, and may very well be “the best chilaquiles in town,” says Ho.

Dusty’s Bistro is located at 3200 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90026.

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  • Anonymous

    W. Sunset is brunch row & Dusty’s/Cafe Stella seems to be 2 of the busier joints. Just wish parking is a tad easier.

    • Thanks for the info, I’ll have to go back and try brunch! We were lucky that parking was a breeze when we went since we had that Friday off, otherwise I’m sure it would’ve been, as some would call, “a bitch.”

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