I remember a place many years ago in, like, Sunland/Tujunga in the wilds, with great booths and a fine goulash. I can't recall the name but that was easily 35 years ago so it can't still be there.
Anyone know of a decent place in the SFV that has good goulash at a reasonable price?
11330 Weddington St, Los Angeles, CA 91601
5820 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
When my family moved to North Hollywood in 1960, there were half a dozen Hungarian restaurants scattered across the Los Angeles area. When I moved away in 2005, there was only one... Hortobagy in Studio City. That too closed shortly after.
Chardas opened in 2007 and is an upscale version of Hungarian cooking. Not the sort of homey cooking than many of the long lost restaurants were know for.
The former owner or Hortobagy, Laszlo, recently started cooking in the spaced once occupied by a French restaurant named Maximillian's. The cuisine at his new digs is, more upscale and trendy. I ate there a couple weeks ago during a visit to the area. I had a Chicken Paprikas served with Spätzle. Good flavor and wonderful dumplings, but I wopuld have preferred my chicken boned. My friend had the Veal Gulyas. Good flavor but a rather small portion and good have used more sauce. The cucumber salad was awesome.
IMO, Hungarian food was never upscale. Not my mother's cooking. Not my grandmother's, nor my aunt's. Not even most of the restaurants that I ate at during two and half week stay in Budapest. However, that debate seems moot as the Los Angeles area no longer has the Hungarian community necessary to support a vibrant choice of restaurants.
That being said, the ambiance at Maximillian's is wonderful. The interior is rather small. I sat close to the kitchen and was blasted by a freezing air conditioning. Laszlo would do well to remove most of the dividing walls and enlarge the dining room. But the real prize at Maximillian's is the outdoor patio and the al fresco dining. Here's a couple of photos and the website.
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Goulash (gulyas) is a simple dish to make. It is my favorite soup (and would be even if I were not of Hungarian descent). I also like the less common (but incredibly tasty) Szekely Gulyas, which is made with pork, saurkraut, sour cream, and caraway.
Do yourself a favor and seek out chef George Lang's book on Hungarian cuisine...he has an excellent and proper version of goulash in there, as well as a boatload of other Magyar classics.
Goulash is a dish that is so easy to make at home. Just make sure you get real Hungarian paprika...it makes a HUGE difference and there is no substituting for it.