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Great Tuna Melt!

… at the Colonial Kitchen in San Marino, of all places. Most of what I've gotten there in I think five visits has been good, some things very good, but this was the first thing that's been the best I can remember anywhere. We had some family business in SM on Saturday, with Mrs. O's brother and mom, so we took the occasion to stop in here for lunch. The Eggbeaters green-chile omelet, the corned-beef and Swiss sandwich and the French Dip were all satisfactory, but this sandwich! I picked it because I didn't want anything too heavy, and I hadn't had one of those for a while, and was not expecting anything spectacular. But the buttery grilled sourdough was crisp and tender, and the tuna salad filling had the exactly perfect balance of tuna and other stuff, which included some chopped egg - not sloppy, but not dry, either, so it neither drooled onto the plate nor was in the least bit chewy. Rounding out this splendid meal was the best potato salad I've had that I didn't make: obviously hand-cut, perfectly done potato, good mayonnaise and just a hint of pickle, maybe some onion. Nothing fancy in the least, but perfectly executed; even better than Pie'n'Burger's. $8.45 is the tab for sandwich, potato salad or fries, and an okay pickle spear. The iced tea is a tad expensive, but bottomless and very good.

A while later we were at the Autry Museum and ran into WildSwede, whom I know to be a tuna-melt freak, so I think we ought to be hearing from her before too long …

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Colonial Kitchen Restaurant
1110 Huntington Dr, San Marino, CA 91108

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  1. ;-) I will definitely be going and trying it soon! It was great seeing you guys!

    2 Replies
    1. re: WildSwede

      Hamburger Hamlet had a great tuna melt. I may have to go to the Sunset Blvd. location before it closes early December.

      1. re: maudies5

        I am kinda not going to HH in protest that they stopped making my fave, The Hotsburger. The one time I went after they stopped offering it (I was unaware of this) they told me they could still make it, and did, although it was not the same. Also, they charged me something like $17 for it. No more!

    2. Talleyrand in Burbank has shockingly good sandwiches, tuna melts. Yes, it's like stepping into 1959, but it's very popular -- for a reason!!

      1. Jan's on Beverly Blvd near LaCienega has a really good tuna melt. I have always enjoyed. I don't like a lot of things in my tuna, and they just put mayo and a little celery. Served with coleslaw, pickle and fries. They have some other good food, and their portion are worth the money.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paprkutr

          I haven't been to Jan's in decades and don't recall having their tuna melt but I've no doubt it is as good as the other dishes I've had there: their chili and hamburger royale were superb.

        2. Thank you Will for this recommendation! I love tuna melts and have been searching for a selection of places to get my fix. Your experience sounds great and I will certainly give Colonial Kitchen a shot.
          Speaking of tuna melts, I remember Larry Parkers off of Beverly having a great one called the Michael Jackson... juicy, grilled to perfection on sourdough with melted cheese to top it all off. They're closed now but I still have wonderful memories of that sandwich.

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          Colonial Kitchen Restaurant
          1110 Huntington Dr, San Marino, CA 91108

          1. I have enjoyed the tuna melt at The Artisan Cheese Gallery several times.

            ITALIAN TUNA MELT - Imported Italian Tuna, Double Crème Gouda, Grilled Artichoke Hearts, Capers, Aioli on Ciabattina, 12.00.

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            Artisan Cheese Gallery
            12023 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA

            2 Replies
            1. re: Dogbite Williams

              Oooooo, that sounds wonderful.
              I get cravings for a good tuna melt and usually can just make a good one at home. I also like tuna melts on rye bread. So, when there's no rye bread in my basket, I go to Farmer Boys. http://farmerboys.com/locations I ask them to put on tomato and lettuce and change the yellow cheese to Provolone (aka "white cheese" there). As with any chain restaurant, you have to get a location with a good cook there. Murrieta, CA is very good at this time.

              1. re: Dogbite Williams

                that sounds godly....and very doable at home.

              2. No dice for me.

                The tuna melt there is bettered only by the one at Quizno's.

                1. IWhen I'm craving a tuna melt, I'll sometimes go to San Marino Seafood down the street, but I'll try Colonial Kitchen next time I get the itch.

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                  San Marino Seafood
                  2150 Huntington Dr, San Marino, CA 91108

                  Colonial Kitchen Restaurant
                  1110 Huntington Dr, San Marino, CA 91108

                  1. I was at Santa Monica Seafood's cafe for lunch today (as I usually am after the farmers market on Wednesday) and i had my usual tuna tartare. (amazing!) But my friend, who hadn't been there,
                    had the tuna melt and said it was terrific.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: perk

                      I had the Tuna Melt today at Santa Monica Seafood. It was really terrific. I agree with your friend.
                      They make it with fresh albacore.

                    2. I used to love the tuna melt at the Redwood Room on 2nd, downtown L.A. Will, didn't you also mention that in the past? I don't know if it still exist but that tuna melt is still in my dreams.

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                      Redwood Room
                      4533 1/2 Slauson Ave, Maywood, CA 90270

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: SoozyQ

                        I don't recall getting a tuna melt there, which of course doesn't mean I didn't - it IS the Redwood, after all, and I'm sure there's plenty that I don't remember about a couple of visits, anyway! But I would expect it to be good. They don't have an adventurous kitchen, but a very good one, which (now that I think of it) seems typical of most places I really like.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          Everything there is good. I wonder if they still have the soup special which was they charged the price of a bowl of soup according to the weather that day. If it was 65 degrees, the soup was 65 cents. I really doubt that this economy allows for such an incredible deal but who knows?

                          1. re: SoozyQ

                            I would doubt that the new crew would even serve soup, though I could be wrong. That old special pricing strategy might work in LA, but certainly not where it ever gets subzero; can you imagine how disastrous that could be, say, in Anchorage? "Yeah, I'll have the soup, and you owe me a quarter!"

                            They do have the most consistently great bar-burger, and their fish'n'chips is a treat as well.

                      2. Had an amazing tuna melt at Langers a few weekends ago. Let me preface by saying I ordered myself a pastrami on rye. My pregnant wife ordered the tuna melt because that was what she was craving. The bread needs no introduction. The tuna was of good consistency and did not contain too much mayo. I would happily take bites off somebody's tuna melt if they ordered it again.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: js76wisco

                          Brent's Deli. Really great sandwich every time.