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Best sit-down in Valley Village, CA?

Das Ubergeek Aug 20, 2007 09:30 AM

I have a (mostly) weekly lunch date with the account manager on my project, who keeps kosher. We are in east Burbank and time-constrained, so Valley Village has been our go-to.

We've been to Le Sushi, and while it was OK, it's a bit of a one-note kind of place. Cafe Eilat is very, very good but gets crowded and we've been there seven out of the last nine times. I know about Golan, and I've eaten at the Fish in the Village place but it was weird -- the smell was unpleasant and the fishmonger stared at us the whole time we were eating.

What else is kosher and good in the area for two men who need to be able to talk over lunch?

While I know the pickings are better near Pico and Robertson, it takes so long to get there that we don't have time to eat... and the last time I posted (I'm such a nudge!) I got a recommendation for Casa del Mar, which I think is no longer there -- it appears to be a day-old bread outlet for Eilat Bakery.

  1. p
    Pulpe2 Jun 5, 2008 02:34 PM

    There is another very good Kosher spot called Bonjour Cafe in Encino - it's on Ventura and Hayvenhurst.

    16550 Ventura Blvd
    Encino, CA 91436

    The food is really good. The Salmon Dynamite and the Chichitos are my favorite dish. As for the dessert, don't miss their cheesecake.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Pulpe2
      g
      ganeden Jun 5, 2008 10:20 PM

      BS"D

      There are a slew of new restaurants opening in Valley Village. For instance, there's a meat one that just opened up yesterday, a bit east of Whitsett, Kiki's Grill, new owners in a space formerly The Sandwich Bar and then The Laughing Duck. It is supposed to specialize in real charcoal and wood grilling, mainly Middle Eastern cuisine. Cafe del Mar has split itself into a meat and a milk restaurant, instead of exclusively a milk restaurant as had been in the past. Cafe Eilat is growing. My family's restaurant, "Smokin'!" not yet open, but basically Texas BBQ with a few other items, is in the same Burbank/Whitsett area. Up Whitsett a ways on Magnolia, Classique Raphy is again opening its doors as a restaurant, scheduled for June 16, and specializing in grilled skewers and AYCE salad bar. And of course, Le Sushi has been serving good sushi for ages. So one needn't travel to Encino to get good food and decent variety, it's right here in the area Das Ubergeek asked about, Valley Village. Encino is fine for steak, pizza and Mediterranean style food, but it reflects the mix- mostly Israeli and Persian in Encino, as opposed to many Ashkenazim in Valley Village.

      1. re: ganeden
        s
        spock00 Jul 13, 2008 11:38 AM

        Who is the hashgacha for "Smokin!"? There is also a kosher Chinese place opening soon right next to Le Sushi. Classique Raphy is good but seems to open and go back to strictly catering on a monthly basis. I'm still waiting to try Kiki's grill.

        1. re: spock00
          g
          ganeden Jul 14, 2008 08:13 AM

          BS"D

          Rabbi Shelaim Furst. He's well respected, well known in the east Valley, pretty well known in the LABrea area (teaches at Toras Emes, the chareidish day school), and not so well known in the Pico area.

          1. re: spock00
            g
            ganeden Sep 11, 2008 09:47 AM

            BS"D

            Also, Smokin'! went under RCC after Tisha B'Av, so it has dual independent hashgachos. Even Rabbi Vann of the RCC felt that Rabbi Furst's hechsher was fine to draw from the Valley, but the hope is to draw from the singles and yuppies of the Pico area, and they've largely never heard of Rabbi Furst.

            1. re: ganeden
              Kate is always hungry Sep 11, 2008 09:32 PM

              Nu? So how's the food at Smokin'! ?

              1. re: Kate is always hungry
                g
                ganeden Sep 14, 2008 10:43 PM

                BS"D

                Obviously, I can't answer that. Perhaps a chowhound, kosher or not, who's passing this way could post a reply to that question. But I will tell you what the food I serve is. Dry rubbed served dry: brisket, beef back ribs, beef belly meat (I call it "Pastrami Cut" since it is a cut mostly used for pastrami), chicken, lamb breast, occasionally beef shoulder, beef shanks and beef chuck. Marinated, dry rubbed, smoked and served with sauce: Smoked Turkey Breast (adapted from Dr. BBQ's recipe, but with significant changes). Marinated and smoked: Dinosaur Bones (bone-in short ribs), MArinated, smoked, then braised: Braised Short Ribs. Occasionally, smoked tongue or cheek meat (actually have not done either here due to lack of supply, but plan to do so when I can find some). And of course, dogs and burgers for kids of any age, and grade Choice Black Angus boneless ribeye steaks for those wanting a good, nonspicy alternative to my spicy BBQ.

            2. re: spock00
              g
              ganeden Sep 15, 2008 08:28 AM

              The chinese place is 3 doors east of Le Market, called Mashu Mashu kosher Chinese Restaurant, and is as yet not open (but does have an "A" health department rating). I'm wondering whether it's a little bit kosher or a little bit Chinese or both (sorry folks, a little word play- "mashehu", often pronounced "mashu", means "a little bit"). I spoke to the owner, and he's paterning it after Panda Express, which means fast food Americanized Chinese. Classique Raphy is also advertising now that it's serving Chinese food.

              1. re: ganeden
                a
                airbornir Jan 26, 2009 06:33 PM

                there are a few new, sort of new restaurants in valley village, Kikis grill that has a sort of shawarma that is really good, also the new Mashu Mashu Chinese is great for lunches and of course Smokin. it’s a one of a kind place., not perfect but one of a kind and worth trying out

        2. d
          Diana Aug 20, 2007 12:01 PM

          Chinese at Golan isn't too hot, but the other dishes are pretty good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Diana
            g
            ganeden Aug 20, 2007 01:08 PM

            Wow. Our experience, having eaten at Golan twice, was that the Chinese was the best of the bunch, and we had just a terrible experience with steaks and other grilled/griddled meat the first time. Whereas my wife is Cantonese (and Orthodox Jewish), grew up in San Francisco's Chinatown, and even she was satisfied with the Chinese food at Golan. OF course, it wasn't Cantonese, and wasn't nearly as good as the restaurants we used to eat at (but of course, that was a quarter century ago, so the memory might be better than the reality, though probably not), but it was more acceptable than much of the kosher Chinese we've had outside our home.

          2. g
            ganeden Aug 20, 2007 11:17 AM

            Hey, Das Ubergeek, not much in the way of kosher food here in Valley Village. You've pretty much said it all, though Cafe del Mar does exist, but I don't think it's up to your standards. My family likes Orange Delight on Ventura near Woodman, but I don't think it's a place for a business lunch- just burgers and such. I agree with Diana about Sassi, it's very decent food for the price, and I was impressed with the quality- a cut or 2 above most Israeli-style grills. Brami's Pizza is the best kosher pizza anywhere near here, but that's not saying much. Classique Raphy's doesn't exist as a restaurant, only a caterer. Ravak doesn't exist anymore, the current iteration is Temptations Prime Steak House, which evidently serves pretty decent steaks, though I wouldn't know- but it's way out near Tampa on Ventura, I believe. Sassi is near the 405, I believe- not that far out. I ate at Pninat Hakerem once, was not impressed, never ate at Fish in the Village, but I agree about the smell, had some decent Americanized Chinese with my family at Golan, but with your knowledge of available local asian fare, I don't think it would pass muster. There's some decent sushi and salads at Cafe Bonjour on Ventura in Encino. If I were you, I'd hit Sassi, or stick with Cafe Eilat.

            1. d
              Diana Aug 20, 2007 10:46 AM

              Well, a little off of valley village is Brahmi's Kosher Vegetarian pizza.

              17736 1/2 Sherman Way
              Reseda, CA 91335-3317
              phone: (818) 342-0611
              They keep strict Kosher Hours.

              Here are a few others in the valley, although not necessarily Valley Village.

              Hummus Bar
              18743 Ventura Blvd.,
              Tarzana,
              (818) 344-6606

              Classique Raphy's
              12454 Magnolia Blvd
              Valley Village, CA 91617-0215
              (818) 487-9531

              Sharon's Restaurant
              18608 1/2 Ventura Blvd.
              , CA 91356-4194
              (818) 344-7472

              Sassi Mediterranean Restaurant
              15622 Ventura Blvd.
              Encino, CA 91436
              (818) 986-5345

              Ravak
              17547 Ventura Blvd. #108
              Encino, CA 91316-3853
              (818) 995-4700

              Pninat Hakerem Restaurant
              12514 Burbank Blvd
              North Hollywood, CA 91607
              (818) 752-6866

              HEre is a page that can help you search

              http://e-srael.com/foodindex/

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