For several years, Bastide was the main culinary draw on West Hollywood’s ritzy Melrose Place, with chefs like Walter Manzke and Ludo Lefebvre drawing some of L.A.’s most fashionable people. Now models, designers, and other chic people take breaks between shopping at stores like Carolina Herrera and Bottega Veneta at a building with Alfred Coffee, Compartes Chocolatier and a cafe called Croft Alley. Enter this airy cafe from a back alley. Michael Della Femina and chef Phuong Tran opened Croft Alley in 2014 featuring a sun-soaked patio, communal wood table, and shady central courtyard strung with Christmas lights.
My initial visit featured a surprisingly strong Turkey Sausage Banh Mi ($10). Colleen DeLee, a baker who also supplies Petit Trois and The Beverly Hills Cheese Shop, produces sturdy baguettes with beautiful chew. In this case, each baguette hosts a trio of seared turkey sausage patties flecked with lemongrass. Each sandwich also hosts cucumber, cilantro, spicy mustard, and Fresno chilies, leading to a well-balanced, colorful sandwich.