Urban Eats, Burbank, a review with pictures
I visited this new restaurant last week:
3501 W. Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91505
(About two blocks E. of Hollywood Way and the new Porto's Bakery)
A really cute, modern little restaurant. I think it opened here about 6 months ago in the place of the former Chinese restaurant.
A nice place! It's a very modern place on the inside, all polished concrete floors, and huge picture windows to the street, modern stainless steel kitchen visible from the seating areas. You can tell the owners put some money into it compared to the tired joint that had been here before.
The food reminded me of the homey family food you might get at a bistro in France or Italy. The super immaculate kitchen set behind glass makes fresh salads one at a time. I had a huge hunk of ahi mixed with greens and their light homemade dressing. Delicious. It's nice to see healthy food can be so tasty.
I am happy to see Burbank getting custom restaurants like this one. This type of creative space usually appears only in Santa Monica or West Hollywood. This is a nice alternative to the bakery down the street.
Living around the corner I was so psyched when this opened. I really needed it to be good. But after giving Urban Eats chance after chance, I am now certain that the place deserves a segment of "kitchen nightmares." First of all this is supposed to be kind of nouvelle comfort food, kinda like Eat Well in Silverlake (closed now, 'cause it was, well, iceberg lettuce low end diner food dressed in trendy clothes). Tell me then how can a comfort food chef give us instant mashed potatoes? A Tuna Sandwich was just awful. I mean how can you mess that up? Uniquely old and dry tasting. The veggie panini featured rubbery veggies. And slow, lackluster service, even just to pick up. It's like they are stoned or something. Not a businesslike approach, and what kind of patron wants to put up with that?Once I called to order to pick up and a guy answered "uh, hey, uh what's up? uh did you want to order something?' Click. Another foray had me chomping down on something hard as a rock that almost took out a tooth. I took the offending piece of whatever back and showed the chef, and she said "oh that's ' cause one of the guys didn't know how to use the salad mixer and put in some olives with pits." Okay... how many bads was that? No apology!!!! Ridiculous. No offer of comping. And worst... THEY KNEW the salad was messed up, and kept serving it. So unless you're used to Stoufers every night, this place is worse than useless. The real kicker is.... and here is the deal... they threw lots of money at the design (and still the counter stools can not be sat in without them putting both legs to sleep), and the employees wear lovely culinary gear, but it is all a charade. Cause the food is excruciatingly weak. Apparently the staff are associated with some culinary school in Pasadena. They just seem like smug kids who think that if they put on a chefs hat, and work in a pseudo-post-modern architectural environment, that that is all it takes to be what they are dressed up to be. Never mind the food. Clearly, they have never been around the corner to see the mob scene at Porto's (superb!) day in and out, or the lunch line at Monte Carlo Italian Deli down the street (excellent!), or they would see that the paucity of lunch patronage at Urban Eats would be cause to seriously rethink what they are doing.
I want to like this place as it is only a short walk from my apartment, but sometimes they make it difficult. The food I've had has been pretty good. I enjoyed a very nice steak salad on my last visit. However, the music is always strangely loud and once I had to wait for the owner to finish yelling at the guy taking orders before I could place mine. Talk about uncomfortable.
I just order lunch from Urban Eats. I ordered my food at 12:00 pm and let them know that I would be there at 12:30 pm to pick it up. When I arrived, I waited 15 minutes to pay and pick up my food. I noticed the owner standing there and mentioned that I had waited 15 minutes to pick up an order to go...therefore my food was probably cold. He could not be bothered. Sure enough, when I got back to the office...3 to 4 minutes later...my lunch was cold. I have eaten here a few times and they are going downhill FAST. The first few times it was great. The third time they forgot to put the salad dressing with my salad, and I had to go back for the dressing. I realize that it's not their fault that they are busy and someone has to wait to pick up an order. I would think they would have had all this thought out before opening. The fact that they have one register and someone with mediocre register skills working it doesn't help. It's this part of the restaurant business? It could be a great place if the service was better.
Is it possible that this place has gone rapidly downhill in the past two weeks? We tried it for lunch for the first time today and it was pretty terrible. I got the tuna panini. It was lukewarm tuna salad on whole grain bread with some shredded cheddar cheese on it--some of the cheese was melted, some wasn't. The tuna salad had golden raisins in it--I guess that's not inherently bad, but it's definitely not to my taste. Plus, there was a layer of mustard on the sandwich which tasted very strange with the sweet raisins.
My SO got the tuna nicoise salad and while he liked it, it was a $10 salad that consisted mainly of greens with a few thin slices of tuna, a couple of olives, 2 small pieces of potato, 2 small pieces of hardboiled egg and 3 (!!) green beans.
The kicker was the side of macaroni and cheese. It was DISGUSTING! It was thin and soupy with that super yellow-y color that only fake cheese has. It was also lukewarm and topped with a little unmelted shredded cheese. Kraft mac and cheese would have been better than this. I tried a teeny bite and the taste and texture was terrible. My SO ate a little because he didn't want to waste it, but even he couldn't eat much of it.
By the way, we picked it up to go, so couldn't have anything heated up or make any complaints to the staff/management.
I would want to try it based on mrjavaman's review and pictures but our experience was truly awful. I don't know if it's just gone quickly downhill or we caught them on an off-day, but it was bad enough that I won't even give it another chance. On top of everything, it was way over-priced for a new place in that area. I think mrjavaman hit on it when he said it was the "type of creative space" more typical of Santa Monica or West Hollywood--they're trying to charge WeHo prices in Burbank. For terrible food. Blech.
The food is quite good at Urban Eats. However, be warned, they don't have the best service in the world. Both times our office crew ate there, they got the orders wrong. So if you are getting takeout, check it before you leave! (Having said that, the staff is very courteous and did give me a free drink for waiting)