By Maureen Thaete | Culture Editor

Located in West Berkeley, about a 25 minute drive from Saint Mary’s, stands 900 Grayson, which looks as charming and eclectic as its surrounding neighborhood. Bright colors, fresh flowers, and homey accoutrements give the restaurant a warm and unpretentious atmosphere. It lacks the look of trendy sophistication that so many restaurants in the Bay Area have today, but its cozy, welcoming environment is a part of what makes it the perfect spot for casual comfort food.

900 Grayson serves breakfast and lunch daily, as well as brunch on Saturdays. The restaurant appears to be a popular spot and an apparent local favorite. The kitchen reopens for lunch at 11:30 a.m., and on the day of my weekday visit, the place was full and bustling by 11:40 a.m. A wait should be expected for lunch or brunch, but it is absolutely worthwhile.

Lucky enough to arrive right at reopening, my party was greeted and immediately seated at the coveted window table by a friendly, welcoming waitstaff. The service throughout our stay was impressively personable, prompt, and attentive, despite the demands of the full crowd.

My table started with an order of the shoestring onions and sriracha aioli, paired with house cocktails and watermelon agua fresca. From the beginning, we were thoroughly impressed and delighted by a fresh array of colors and flavors that would persist throughout the whole dining experience.

At the waiter’s recommendation, I ordered the rotating “TV Dinner,” which then happened to be sautéed sole with a horseradish and caper sauce, served with mashed potatoes, broccolini, and squash. The fish was cooked perfectly, and the sauce was a delightfully sharp compliment to the rest of the plate. My dining companions ordered the Caesar Salad with prawns and the “Charlie,” an ahi tuna sandwich with a ginger-carrot slaw and wasabi aioli. Rave reviews were heard all around the table for each respective dish.

While my table was beyond satisfied with our choices, several of the other menu items seemed incredibly appealing and made the decision process a challenge. The “Demon Lover,” a chicken and waffle dish that can be served either sweet or savory, seems to be a top favorite at this establishment. It is one of the only items on the breakfast, lunch, and brunch menus. It is probably safe to say, with the  number of other patrons who ordered this dish, it is highly recommended.

In the Bay Area, amazing restaurants are incredibly easy to come by, but 900 Grayson’s character and relative affordability make it absolutely worthwhile. Service was perfectly friendly and surprisingly attentive, considering how packed the venue was. Also, the whole menu is reasonably priced, relative to other brunch-type eateries.

While most of these up-and-coming eateries throughout San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley are starting to all feel the same, somehow, 900 Grayson is able to provide a brunch menu, yet persist with a sense of originality.

900 Grayson is far out of the way of the busy excitement and variety of more popular Berkeley locations on Telegraph Ave. and College Ave., but it is still definitely worth a visit. This restaurant may be the product of a gentrified neighborhood, but it maintains a sense of honesty and personality that distinguishes it from other West Berkeley establishments. Overall, 900 Grayson is a reliable choice for an impressive take on daytime dining.

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