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Kate Mantelini: yay or nay?

The last time I went to Kate Crapelini (10 years ago), I ordered the split pea soup. It looked a little odd, so I moved it around with my spoon and discovered that they had served soup with a huge hunk of moldy, congealed mush. The soup smelled OFF as well. I have not been back since. However, I now live about a block away and it seems a shame not to go sometime. Is it worth it?

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  1. I've never had a food problem such as you describe (yikes!)--we've always found the food to be adequate or a bit better; the atmosphere is not bad, especially if you get window seats, and the service has usually been pretty good. Decent drinks. But it always seems sort of pricey for the quality level. We prefer the Daily Grill for a similar vibe and more consistency, but Mantilini's good enough to drop in once in a while.

      1. I was last there about a decade ago too. If the food was good, I would have been back by now. But it wasn't, and it was overpriced for what it was. But since you live so close now, give it another try, what the heck. Just don't order the split pea.

        1. NAY! I've eaten there three times in the last two years (strictly convenience, or a large group of people who wanted to meet there.) Haven't liked anything there. Can't understand why this place has stayed open for so many years.

          1. Real sceney, no lunch reservations, and OK food. If you want lunch, try to get there really early. If you get in at 1:00, you are going to stand around for an hour.

            I have a friend who swears by their white chili. The hamburger platter is good. Their French fries are REALLY good, very skinny, crispy shoestrings. I typically get the Kate's club sandwich. Prety hard to mess up a club sandwich, but it is pretty good as well. i would rather go to a lot of other places than Kate's but I would have to say that, overall, it's aight.

            1. Amazing how things change!
              Back in the times of the blue-on-white old-fashioned CHOWHOUND bulletin board, KM was sort of taboo, everybody hated it, only very few (yours truly among them) would step up front in its defense.
              We used to love their veal milanese Friday specials.
              Last Friday, sorry to report, the milanese came out kind'a soggy. However, we still like the place, no reservations, open late, nothing else in the 'hood (yeah, Chakra, been there...)

              1 Reply
              1. re: RicRios

                OK, I'll step up for all the original Chowhounders. If the poster can eat anywhere they want and is asking whether they should eat there, I'd say no, because the food is (a) not good enough and (b) overpriced. However, if you want to go there because it's convenient, you are hoping to see a celebrity, etc., then maybe.

              2. While I'd don't think I'd ever suggest it, I've been asked to go there on biz lunches several times. Never had a bad meal, never had a remarkable one. Agree that the fries are good. Very thin but still soft on the inside/crispy on the outside. Had a good fish n chips platter, and also a good portobello mushroom sandwich.

                1. I agree with several posters that the food is not remarkable, but decent -- especially since you live so close, why not try it so at least you won't regret having never eaten there. You can report back. :)

                  My friends and I often went there at 1 am for post-party dessert and drink fixes. If anything, you have to get the snickers ice cream pie, lemon meringue, hot chocolate and strawberries, bread pudding, affogato....ok, so it's a good place to fix a late night sweet tooth.

                  1. I will say that if you are watching your diet in any way, the menu really does offer a number of interesting healthy options that can be difficult to find at other places - especially late at night.

                    1. Their meatloaf and mashed potatoes is unparalleled. LOVE IT.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MalibuAly

                        I've only eaten there once and had their meatloaf sandwich, which I liked.

                      2. Great fish and chips...very light breading with seasoned fries.

                        1. I've eaten there a lot because we live in the neigborhood and go to a fair number of public screenings at the Motion Picture Academy which is about a block west. There are plenty of other places in the general area that I like a lot better, and many of them are much cheaper, but few are as convenient location wise and in terms of hours. Another vote here for the Veal Milanese special, though as with most stuff there it is a bit pricey -- $30 plus, though a large portion. The steaks are very good too - not Mortons or Mastros quality, but well above average. The chicken pot pie special on weekends is also very good. The mac and cheese is excellent, though again, a little on the pricey side. The onion rings are terrific, some of the best in the City IMHO. Big slices, fried crisp, not greasey, and seasoned very slightly with fried crumbled sage. Always worth an order if you're there.

                          1. It seems MANY of us were turned off by KM around ten years ago. Likewise, I was last there in '99 and nearly got into a fight with the waiter who refused to bring me a steak cooked rare. The place was packed with L.A. Entertainment Lemmings, with enough ambient cell phone chatter to make dinner conversation a challenge. And for the price, the food simply isn't that good. When I want glorified diner fare, I just go to Swingers on Beverly.

                            1. Kate's is average, overpriced food at best as most posters have already stated. If forced to go, usually a business lunch kinda thing...I go with the white chili (chicken, white beans and monterey jack cheese) it's pretty good. Other routes I've gone are with just sides...mac and cheese is good with garlic sauteed spinach. Also serve land of the lost salads which aren't too risky.

                              1. Definitely NAY NAY NAY!! on the Woodland Hills location....crappy food at ridiculous prices and watered down drinks. Went once, will NEVER return.

                                1. NAY! deli style food that's way overpriced (maybe 30-40% more than what it's worth). save your money.

                                  1. I realize this is Chowhound, not Barhound, but I've always had a good time at Kate's when I went to drink, then eat.

                                    The bartenders are/were pretty good, pour a fair drink. After mellowing out with some cocktails and conversation, the sticktoyourribsishness of the grub felt good. You can eat at the bar, too, IIRC.

                                    Good place to stop on the way home from work for a few drinks or cold beers and a decent if not spectacular meal.