If G&B Coffee in Grand Central Market is the posh, outspoken, sexy, sophisticated sister, then Go Get Em Tiger on Larchmont is the mellow, down-to-earth, quietly beautiful one who, if you're lucky, might also invite you over for an incredible home-cooked meal. The second brainchild of Los Angeles coffee powerhouses Charles Babinski and Kyle Granville, "GGET" both compliments and contrasts their first permanent coffee shop with its more relaxed, comfortable vibe. While G&B is like a sleek, neon beacon amidst the chaos of the market around it, GGET is a calm, minimalist retreat snuggled into one of the most charming neighborhoods in the city. It fits into the Larchmont neighborhood well, its beautifully designed space and expertly crafted offerings are exactly what you'd hope to find on this dreamy, tree-lined street.
It's clear that this place is very popular, but even when it's buzzing with people, there's still room to sit down and relax or lean up against the bar and chat with a fellow coffee enthusiast. The crowd is mixed; there are film industry types, students, hippies, moms, and plenty of Instagrammers, but it doesn't feel so much like a place where locals hang out. Instead, you get the feeling that this is a destination, and that the mobs of people are here because they've heard just how good (and hip) it is. That floating astronaut painted on the wall behind the bar does make for a rather compelling photo for the 'gram, you must admit.
GGET utilizes many of the same concepts that were set forth by Granville and Babinski at G&B, including the bar-style ordering system, rotating coffee selections based on frequent blind tastings, and an emphasis on consistency in their coffee through automation - a concept that is not embraced in most coffee shops. Rather than having a barista grind each espresso shot individually and then determine when to stop extraction by eye, things here are broken down like an assembly line: espresso shots are ground ten at a time to a precise measurement, then an automated machine cuts off each shot at the exact spot for ideal quality and flavor. This streamlined operation allows for optimal speed and efficiency, getting customers their excellently crafted coffees in record time.
My cappuccino lived up to the high standards set at G&B; the flavorful 49th Parallel espresso shone through and the foamed milk was perfectly smooth. The espresso's flavor was bold, reminding me of charcoal and dark cherry. The drink was presented beautifully in the same glass cups used at G&B, showcasing the gorgeous line where foam meets coffee as well as some impeccable latte art on top.
I also indulged in some of GGET's food offerings, as my visit fortunately occurred within acceptable brunching hours. When I visited G&B a few weeks ago, the smell of the malted waffles being made right in front of me was so tempting that it was permanently seared into my brain - so you know I had to start there. But since a waffle does not a balanced meal make, I also ordered a salad.
This waffle was delightfully unique. I can't say I've had too many yeast-raised waffles in my day (despite my being an avid waffle-lover, so shame on me), so perhaps this is exactly what a yeast-raised waffle should be - no matter, it's delicious. Mine was served warm, with a big dollop of ricotta cheese in the center, a generous sprinkling of fresh berries, and the most delicate drizzle of honey on top. The flavor combination was just right; the malty, almost beer-like flavor of the waffle was light and just barely sweet (sounds weird, but it's so good), and it paired so nicely with the creamy ricotta, tart berries, and the light touch of honey. For the purists out there, for a dollar less you can also enjoy this waffle with butter and maple syrup, which I'm sure is also mouthwateringly delicious.
In nearly any brunching situation, when a waffle is paired with a salad, you're going to expect the salad to be sad and boring in comparison - there's no way it can live up to the delicious decadence of a waffle, right? So, so wrong. I went for the Chopped Salad, comprised of Napa cabbage, seasonal vegetables, black sesame, and samal-miso vinaigrette, with an addition of shredded chicken - this was such a delicious and satisfying meal, that I'm still dreaming about it days later. The textures were varied and balanced - there was a satisfying crunch from the cabbage, thinly sliced radish, sesame seeds, and crisped rice. The chicken and the seasonal vegetables, which were roasted carrots and potatoes, were perfectly tender. And to round everything out, the mix was topped with the flavorful samal-miso dressing, which was decadently creamy, and offered a sharp kick of ginger.
There are a lot of opinions out there about whether or not Go Get Em Tiger lives up to its hype, and for me, it does. This is a triple (maybe quadruple?)-threat that fits perfectly into the utopian Larchmont Village, offering excellent coffee and food, in a beautiful environment, with excellent service. So let's embrace this place for what it is: eat something fun and flavorful, post your photo of that astronaut on the wall to Instagram, and go get yourself some delicious coffee.
Go Get Em Tiger - 230 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004