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"Americana at Brand" in Glendale, CA

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Glendale, CA has a few hidden gems, and I was hoping that the new Caruso property - Americana At Brand - would deliver a few more.

So far they are 1 for 2.

The Granville Cafe was stellar. Everything was incredibly fresh tasting, the service was impeccable; really, no complaints at all. I know nothing about this place (chain?) but what they did, they did right.

Katsuya was, honestly, a let down. While they love to brag about their three kitchen format (Cold, Hot and Liquid), and all the servers were overly proud of the food, it just did not deliver. Even the steak my friend had was over-cooked and over-seasoned.

Nobu (San Diego) and Matsuhisa beat it easily.

Excited to try Frida (although I have heard not so good things).

Curious to know of anyone else's experiences here.

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  1. I went and just wanted a snack as my end of the day would be Porto's.

    We opted for sausage sandwiches at Jodi Moroni's.

    The sausage was good, but please... one napkin is NOT enough and be nice enough to offer another if asked for one.

    Why wouldn't they give me a second napkin?

    The Americana is pretty but I was hoping for more.

    I scored at Porto's. YUM!

    2 Replies
    1. re: mar52

      Frida's is great though I like the Beverly Hills one more because you get pico de gallo as one of the three salsas they bring to your table. At Americana you only get 2 and if you want PDG salsa they charge extra for it. Same goes for rice and beans with the entrees.

      1. re: mar52

        Just went to Porto's for the first time, after reading about forever! It was terrific.

      2. Definitely do try Caffe Primo. Gelati are quite good, and while I have not eaten in this location, the food at the one on the Sunset Strip is quite good and quite plausibly priced.
        As to Granville, good to hear of your success. It is the 2nd unit for them(1st in downtown Burbank), yet aspirations are unlimited, meaning they are signing leases today for more as soon as quality locations become available.
        While in Glendale, though, you should try Palate at 929 S. Brand, near chevy chase, and you might find an even better value than any restaurant in the Americana project. Not sure when they will be opening for lunch, yet open for dinner every night except Sunday.

        2 Replies
        1. re: carter

          When we spoke to Octavio Becerra, it didn't sound like lunch was in the offing -- he talked about special small lunches on Fridays maybe, but that's all.
          We tried Caffe Primo on Mother's Day -- they had just opened and were completely in the weeds, most people ended up getting comped breakfasts. I'm sure they've sorted out some of these issues by now.

          1. re: carter

            I'm surprised you liked the gelato on Caffe Primo - I thought it was very weak, both in texture and intensity of flavor, but perhaps only the chocolate had that problem. I haven't yet tried the panini or salads or pizza.

            I think that the food on offer at Americana could be stronger, but with Palate a few blocks south, who cares!

          2. I'm interested to see if Katsuya will survive at the Americana. I had dinner there last week and it was packed but it was a Saturday night. You hit the nail on the head when you say the servers were overly proud if not downright cocky about the food. The food was okay but nothing special, same as their other locations. Nobu is head-n-shoulders above it, absolutely in food, service and ambience.

            6 Replies
            1. re: ExtraCheesePlease

              Katsuya is a high end chain restaurant, I hate chains.

              1. re: ExtraCheesePlease

                I'd be curious to see if Katsuya (or Americana in general) survive too; Glendale, as close as it is to media centers @ Burbank and Studio City, just doesn't strike me as a upper-middle shop 'n dine hotspot like the Grove, Block on Orange or Old Town Pasadena.

                ~H.C.
                http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

                1. re: AquaW

                  The Block of Orange has way worse demographics than Glendale, while Burbank, Glendale & Pasadena are all fairly similar. Don't forget that many people on the west side of I-5 shop in Glendale, as it is the only real good area for chain shopping, as the Galleria and of course now Americana attest. Like you, I feel the tenant mix may change over time at Americana, but it does at every mall-type retail center.
                  As to Katsuya, I would be concerned as its size is an issue, meaning the rent, etc. charges. And really, if you live in Eagle Rock, would you stay there to eat at Mia, or would you go to Katsuya?
                  Burbank & Pasadena have similar options.
                  Downtown Burbank is no major success story, nor for that matter is Old Town Pasadena's restaurant scene, with closings and reopenings all the time.
                  Should be interesting.

                  1. re: carter

                    While I agree that B-G-P are all fairly similar, don't forget that the Block has all the tourist traffic from the Anaheim Resort... it's the same reason that the Anaheim GardenWalk (which thus far is shaping up to be a chow void) is expected to do well despite the dismal demographics in my fair city.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      I remember when the Grove was considered a joke and the spaces were virtually being given away to tenants. I would guess that Americana at Brand will do just fine.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        I don't know when you go to the Block, but I don't see a whole lot of spill over from the tourists. The big draw there is the movie theater, and it pulls from the far less affluent northern OC area (I do miss Puck's Cafe there). Food there is so-so at best, with Tu Tu Tango the only place that would get me to drive there just for dinner, as opposed to eating there because I was already shopping at Off 5th. The Spectrum has better choices, in part because it draws from a more affluent area. The Graden Walk will draw from the resort crowd, and I wouldn't drive there just for dinner from where I like in Orange.

                2. i'm glad the service at granville cafe was better.. when i went (2-3 weeks ago) it was HORRIBLE. lots of staff milling about but no one coming around for drink refills or to let us know the status of our food (which was really slow). Other tables around us were asking for manager to complain to.. We chalked it up to the fact that it was fairly new.. I agree that the food was really fresh and well cooked!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chon76

                    I had very good service at Granville the night we went. They sure seemed to be trying. I also look forward to trying Frida...and Palate, down the street! Is that where Cinnabar (sp?) used to be?

                    My experience at Katsuya in Brentwood was enough to ward me off any other tries. The food was not bad, it just was no where near worth the price. People seem to love it, though.

                    1. re: Tom P

                      Yes, Palate is in the old Cinnabar space. I highly recommend it.

                      As for the posters that think there isn't a demographic for an upscale mall in Glendale, you should also consider that it's the most convenient shopping area for those who live in Silverlake/Los Feliz/Atwater Village. I live in Silverlake and have been shopping at the Glendale Galleria for years. I think the Americana will do just fine.

                  2. My husband and I ate at Frida's last night. Fortunately we got in before the major crowd hit! Service was very good and the food was absolutely delicious. They seemed to be having some issues with "ambiance", as the music kept coming on really loud, then low, and same with the dimming of the lights. My only complaint was the table of 10 beside us seemed to know several people that worked/owned the place, and they kept coming over and sort of invading our space a little. The waitress would lean over the table to talk, and her rear end would be very close to our table. It was inconsiderate at best. For the food...I had the tequila shrimp dish, which I thought was outstanding. There were five huge shrimp circled around the rice, and grilled asparagus laid across the top. The tequila/orange sauce was just the right flavor of sweet/tangy. There was also a potato cake and some grilled zucchini on the plate, but I just couldn't eat it all. My husband had a chicken dish (can't recall which one now), and he said it was fabulous. Rice and beans accompanied this dish, although it doesn't accompany all entrees. For dessert, we had the crepe. Not for the faint of heart, as it was very sweet (although tasty). I share someone else's sentiments that I wish they served pico de gallo with the chips, but the 2 salsas we had were very tasty.

                    1. I really liked the food at Granville, as I did previously at their flagship on San Fernando in Burbank. But I've had issues with the service at both locations, and so it concerns me that they have pretty grandiose expansion plans:

                      http://www.granvillecafe.com/

                      1. I tried the crepes at Crepe Maker, near the children's playground. The crepes were too thick and too crunchy, but the filling was quite tasty. I had the savory one with the hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, etc. The dessert crepes looked tasty.

                        1. My boyfriend and I finally got around to trying Frida at the Americana last night. We've eaten many times at the Beverly Hills location and are huge fans of their thick tortilla soup and complex chocolate mole. I had read on Chowhound and elsewhere that Frida Americana is not as good, so I had to see for myself if it was true.

                          It IS true.

                          The tortilla soup was not the same! Instead of a thick, spicy puree, it was a tomato-colored broth. It tasted fine, but that incredible texture was missing. Also, Frida in BH serves a little plate of condiments-- avocado chunks, etc.-- accompanying the soup. At Americana they didn't serve the condiments.

                          As for the usually-wonderful chicken mole: The chicken was overcooked. The sauce didn't have that complexity we remembered, instead it was more sweet.

                          Prices were also considerably higher than in BH. Service was polite but curt.

                          Disappointing! I won't be going back to Frida at Americana, I'll be returning to Beverly Hills instead. What could explain the difference in food between the two restaurants? Did the Americana branch not get the correct recipes?!? Is it because the new restaurant is larger, and quality is suffering because of quantity?

                          1. did anyone visit the new saturday farmers market at americana? I'd love to know if it was any good...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: happyhubby

                              Ask and ye shall ...

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6131...