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Scared of awful Burbank restaurants....

  • l

OK, so Burbank isn't very high on the culinary ladder of Los Angeles (with a few carnivorous exceptions... the Brazilian BBQ at Picanha Churrascuria on Palm is expensive but is really good-- go for lunch or early Mon-Thurs for cheaper meal... and don't eat for at least 10 hours to get your money's worth! Also, this odd little green house on Burbank Blvd called 'The Place For Steaks' cooks really excellent meat. I don't know how they stay in business because it always looks empty when I drive by.)

I had some truly awful asian (Chinese) food in downtown Burbank at Gourmet 88 (where their sweet & sour sauce AND glaze for the 'sweet & pungent shrimp' was ketchup... even though the menu talks about 'authentic recipes with a california flair')

I've heard that another restaurant in downtown burbank called Cafe Asia (which has since gone out of business, down the road from Picanha on Palm) was owned by the *same people* and was of course similarly awful.

Here's my question... I'm really put off by the idea of asian food in Burbank now because of this apparent Gourmet 88 conspiracy.

Since then, two new restaurants have opened-- one in the old 'Cafe Asia' spot, now called 'Octopus' and another called 'Momotaro' on Glenoaks.

Has anyone tried either of these places? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Help me to learn to eat Burbank asian food again....

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  1. What's the price range at The Place for Steaks? Is it old school or is the menu at all modern.

    I sympathize with your distate for Burbank food. I grew up there and it's hard to find good restaurants in that area. Wish I could help but I've never found good Asian food there and gave up trying. :(

    6 Replies
    1. re: Me

      I grew up there in the days of Vern's, Kiko's, Grenada, and Van de Kamp's. I still crave a San Toros Submarine, are they still there?

      1. re: personalcheffie

        yep. still there. still good. but i grew up in the burbank rancho so i prefer Giamellas.

        1. re: mattesq

          I remember them. They came a bit afterward. What is Burbank Rancho? I don't believe that existed when I grew up there, or it wasn't referred to that.

          1. re: personalcheffie

            The Burbank Rancho is the horse property area in Burbank. It is essentially bounded by Buena Vista to the West, Western to the East, Alameda to the North and the Griffith Park to the South. Anyway Santoro's being up on Burbank Boulevard was a little to far to ride on my bike as a kid and Giamelas was much closer.

        2. re: personalcheffie

          Good lord, KIKO'S! I get misty thinking about 'em. My father and I would INHALE the salsa & chips until our brows were moist. Their son had a place in Panorama City (Jojo's) that was almost as good. My old fave at Santoro's was the Italian coldcuts (easy on the oil and pickles, thanx), but a while back they added a 'natural turkey' to the menu. It has a subtle and intriguing seasoning.

        3. re: Me

          The Place for Steaks is NOT the place for Good Steaks!
          This place is really bad.
          They have lots of rules.
          Kinda weird? Food Bad and the prices Way too High-
          Why are they still in Business?

        4. I know this is an old post but I thought I'd reply anyways. Momotaro is TERRIBLE!!! It still surprises me that its still in business and it packs in the crowds. Octopus Sushi is pretty good. Our "stand by" sushi place is Zono Sushi in the media center- always pretty good. Kabuki Sushi is open now too (by the AMC 16)its ok too but kinda crowded. If you like Thai food, Chadaka Thai is very good. Unfortunately my husband and I have not found a good Chinese food place to go to- we feel similarly about Gourmet 88. There's PF Changs but thats only good if you have time to wait around to be seated. Unless you want to venture out to Sherman Oaks for excellent food, we here in Burbank are stuck with pretty good to mediocre rated cuisine.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lulamay

            I work in Burbank so I've sampled many of the restaurants in the area. I have to agree with lulamay that Octopus Sushi in the Media Center area is good. In fact, it's more than good -- this sushi snob considers it one of her favorite sushi places in all of L.A county. They say the true test for good sushi is judging a restaurant by their egg and mackerel. I don't eat egg sushi (just out of preference -- when I eat sushi, I want to eat FISH) so I can't speak for Octopus' egg sushi, but their mackerel is hands down THE BEST mackerel I have ever had anywhere.

            Another reason to go to Octopus: nearly all nigiri sushi is half-price, so you can pig out and be hard-pressed to spend more than $30 per person including drink, tax, and tip. :)

          2. Burbank is sloooowly coming up the ranks.
            Bistro Provence on Pass Ave
            Joy Feast on Alameda
            Dino's Pizza on Hollywood Way
            Chadaka Thai on San Fernando
            Bacco's Trattoria on Riverside

            14 Replies
            1. re: luswei

              Agree with all five of these. Actually, haven't tried Joy Feast yet but have heard lots of good buzz.

              1. re: jackattack

                It's not bad -- and they have the crispy noodles. ("So what?" people ask. They've never lived in New York -- the noodles are compulsory.) The egg rolls aren't real NY egg rolls but they're about as close as LA gets.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Wow... thanks for bringing this post back.... this was one of my first Chowhound posts before my handle was "Mr. Taster"

                  I can hardly believe it....... I would never ask such a naive question these days about looking for good "Asian" food in Burbank!

                  Wow... thanks for a blast from the past.

                  Mr Taster
                  FKA levbarg !

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                2. re: jackattack

                  joy feast is neither a joy nor a feast. i tried it a couple of times and found it completely inedible, even for americanized chinese.

                  1. re: mattesq

                    i have to agree on joy feast. it came strongly recommended by someone who has eaten Chinese food all his life but when i tried it out, i found it terrible except for the pan fried noodles. not only was most of the food terrible, we had a waitress that kept cracking tasteless jokes and fake laughing ...we couldn't wait to leave.

                    1. re: luswei

                      Really? Our waitresses never say "boo" when we go!

                    2. re: mattesq

                      I agree, had Joy Feast once when the owner was there and thought it was great. We went back a second time when the owner wasn't there and the staff was busy watching TV and we would've had better quality food at Panda Express.

                  2. re: luswei

                    Hmm...I have not had too much luck with Bacco's. I've been there twice for business lunches and found the food adequate but overpriced. It is also quite loud.

                    1. re: running pig

                      I eat at Bacco's quite a bit, and while I agree with running pig that the acoustics in the restaurant is terrible (you almost have to yell to be heard), I'll have to disagree with him/her on the food quality because I actually think the food is good. It's a bit on the pricey side for a weekday lunch (around $15 per entree), but the portions are big enough for two people. If you eat half at lunch and take the other half home for dinner, you're actually getting a deal.

                      My two favorite entrees are the lasagna and the tricolore focaccia. Their tiramisu (served in a glass) is also pretty damned good.

                    2. re: luswei

                      Dino's Pizza is very low level. Soft, bready slices. Wouldn't pick it over papa john's.

                      1. re: 1newyorkguy

                        Northend, which is on one of those side streets by the mall (Orange Grove? Palm?) is better. But still not RIGHT.

                        1. re: 1newyorkguy

                          Dino's is good if you eat-in, doesn't hold up so well on delivery or takeout. Service is horrendous lately, however.

                          1. re: 1newyorkguy

                            I like Dino's and I like their salads, and they have Fat Tire and Sierra Nevada by the pitcher. I agrre about the service, definately could use some work.

                          2. re: luswei

                            I'll agree on 4 of your selections... But Dino's Pizza? Ugh! No thanks. Although I do like North End Pizzeria in downtown. And don't forget about Granville and Lancers.

                          3. There is really good Colombian food at La Maria.
                            La Maria 10516 Victory Blvd

                            1. And soon to be added to the Burbank scene is yet another corporate entity, McCormick & Schmick's seafood shop in the former Dalt's space in the media district office building at 3500 W. Olive., joining the other corporate stallwarts French 75 and Arnie Morton's Steak House in the nearby office complex.
                              Actually for decent grub in the media district, I have never had a bad meal at Prosecco on Riverside Drive which technically crosses into the LA portion of Toluca Lake, yet you won't feel any pain for the effort.
                              And for salads and burgers, Mo's just west of the Bob's Big Boy is fine, and their omelettes on the weekend are huge and tasty.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: carter

                                Ok, this may not be helpful, but a few months ago, we were talking to the owner of Lashers in Long Beach (a great place) and he mentioned he was going to be opening up a steak place there. This is what his website says about it:

                                "Lasher's Burbank is on the way with a projected opening later this summer. This American steakhouse incarnation will feature many of Lasher's signature items with an expanded selection of steaks, chops, and fresh fish. A great bar with live entertainment and covered patios will be part of this new "Hollywood" venue."

                                1. re: Muhlyssa

                                  Lasher's opened in Burbank and then closed a few months later. I guess the City Hall area was not a good location for an upscale steakhouse.