Things are not always as they seem at Canelé. Order coffee cake and you get a slice of pound cake with a spoonful of cream and a shot of espresso. Scan the brunch menu and you'll likely miss the best dish on it. Near the bottom, among inconspicuous sides like bacon and bowls of granola, you'll find what's casually described as a “baked pancake with Meyer lemon custard.” In fact, it's an oven-warm ramekin of dough so soft and eggy it might be custard, rising into a golden brown mound and oozing with lemon cream. Talk about burying the lede.
Celebrated, deservedly so, for its brunch and for its display of after-dinner goodwill, Canelé is less well-known for their “pancakes.” But then, this coy excuse to eat dessert at breakfast is to a pancake what Jim Thompson is to noir writers, what Miles Davis is to trumpet players, what Christian Louboutin is to shoes. Something so superlative, it's not merely best of genre, it transcends the genre.
The baked lemon pancake is more than the best dish on Canelé's brunch menu. Along with the strata at Proof Bakery, it's the best dish along the stretch of Glendale Boulevard that runs through Atwater Village.