Zoe Nathan and her crew at Huckleberry Bakery & Cafe in Santa Monica make so many amazing things — green eggs & ham, raw kale salad, ratatouille tartine, blueberry-cornmeal cake, all those stunning pastries — that you'll be forgiven for ignoring something as basic and, well, boring as the chocolate brownie. But this is not a boring brownie; rather, it's an exercise in chocolate. The recipe uses no leavening and an “insanely small amount” of flour but happily large amounts of butter and eggs — and 66 percent Valrhona chocolate. Like many of the other desserts here, and at the other restaurants Nathan runs with husband Josh Loeb (Milo & Olive, Rustic Canyon), the brownies strike the perfect balance between comfort food and pastry-chef dessert. Almost always in the bakery case, topped with sliced almonds or sometimes other nuts or sometimes plain, these are uber-brownies, your mom's after-school snack reworked as a chocoholic's Platonic idea. —Amy Scattergood
1014 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 90401. (310) 451- 2311, huckleberrycafe.com.