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Dan Tana's

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I am going for the first time with a group for an engagement party. Any suggestions or advice?

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  1. Don't let the old drunk regulars grope you.

    1. The New York steak is great. The lamp chops are also great.

      Caesar salad is also good.

      The rest of food is okay-ish. But hardly great Italian food.

      Try to get in the front room. The view of the car is half the fun of doing to Tana's.

      1. Sit in the front room. Order the dark meat chicken beckerman or steak and peppers. Have fun.

        1. Steaks, veal, shrimp parm, lasagne are all good.

          Drinks are stiff.

          Waiters are entertaining. Place is small, crowded & loud.

          1. Cross your fingers and hope that's the night that George Clooney will be dining there...

            1 Reply
            1. re: TripleAxel

              I'm hoping for George AND his girlfriend "du jour" so I have something to concentrate on...

            2. Wonderful garlic bread and Caesar Salad. The $50 Dabney Coleman Steak is worth the price, one of the best steaks I've ever had, I splurge and get it once a year. Have it with the spicy pasta on the side and you will be happy. Good cocktails, too.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Tom P

                Somebody posted that the Dabney Coleman is now $62...

                1. re: Servorg

                  $63 actually. The Beckerman is a veritable bargain at $30. You could have two and still have change for the meter.

                  1. re: Thor123

                    goodness. Does the Beckerman taste as good? Or, I guess, half as good? :)

                  2. re: Servorg

                    You absolutely want to be in the bar room. That's where the vibe is.

                2. Went last night and my advice is... Go someplace else!

                  If you order the $65 NY steak, make sure it's cooked the way you ask. I had a overcooked charred piece of meat. Not worth the price tag in my opinion.

                  Whoever said to sit it the room with the bar for "the vibe", well... If you want to watch loud drunk people and/or football match on tv, then sure. Not much of a "vibe" in my opinion.

                  Needless to say, I didn't like it at all. It's a total scene place which should have clued me in. The steaks may not be as good, but I'd rather go to Taylor's any day of the week!

                  54 Replies
                  1. re: OliverB

                    Different strokes...

                    1. re: Thor123

                      I will say when I'm paying $63 for a steak, and it comes out overdone, I make 'em cook it again until they get it right (and if they overcook it they can't give me the same one again, so I know I'm getting a "fresh" one the second time around).

                      1. re: Servorg

                        absolutely.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Exactly. I'd have sent it back for "repairs."

                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                            I would have but I was with my grandmother who flew in from the East Coast that afternoon and she was jet lagged and exhausted.

                            1. re: OliverB

                              The replacement would not have taken THAT long...ten minutes tops...get Granny a cup a' joe, or let her doze off at table!

                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                Or get her another martini. :)

                            2. re: Ciao Bob

                              :)

                        2. re: OliverB

                          Sorry that you did not like the place..... It really is hard to tell by anonymous postings what will work for some and what won't.

                          They really do cater more to their regulars than to the average diner off the street..... It's just that kind of place, that's packed every night, and they don't need to "please" everyone....that is what makes it feel like NYC to me.

                          Anyway, anyone I have ever brought there as a guest/tourist has really enjoyed the place and found it entertaining. Then again, most of my visitors tend to come from the east coast, so maybe they just get it better than others.

                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                            or maybe we can accept that DT fucked up that night and OliverB did nothing wrong.

                            1. re: ns1

                              Not sure where in my post you read that I believe OP did anything wrong.

                              I can fully accept that, in his opinion, they overcooked his steak. Though, I agree with Servorg & Ciao Bob that he should have sent it back, for that kind of money. But he chose not to. But yes, did they screw it up? Definitely. Did he give them a chance to correct it? No.

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                I found this remark a bit snarky "Then again, most of my visitors tend to come from the east coast, so maybe they just get it better than others.", implying that he "didn't get it" which is why he didn't like it.

                                Agreed with your 2nd paragraph though.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  +1 on the east coast arrogance.

                                  1. re: ns1

                                    No snark was intended. You happened to take it that way. There is a very big difference between the personalities of the two cities, which fuels endless debates on all sorts of forums like this one. If you grew up in or outside of NYC, then you will understand what I'm referring to. People in that city are not the most friendly bunch..... It's a bit of a kill or be killed attitude. Whereas, while traveling west, you will meet all sorts of people who are kind and accepting of strangers, like in the Mid west. They are friendly, smile and greet complete strangers on the sidewalk. That is not how people are in NYC and other east coast cities. I also found my newly adopted city (LA) to have much more considerate drivers, than on the east coast. Have you ever driven in NYC, Boston or parts in between? If so, you will know what I mean.

                                    These are all generalizations, of course. But my point was that DT reminds me of NYC because they tend to take care of their own, and make no apologies for strangers, or those looking for bend over backwards to please you service. They have been successful with this for many years, so why should they change it now? In fact, many of their regulars tend to be east coast transplants that miss and are looking for this very vibe.

                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                      You may not have intended the statement to be snarky, I'm just letting you know how it came out

                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                        having spent considerable time on both coasts, i completely disagree with:
                                        1) your view of friendliness of people in nyc
                                        2) the driving ability and consideration of people in los angeles
                                        3) your view of dan tana's as an "east coast" kind of place.

                                        just another opinion weighing in.

                                        1. re: linus

                                          Which you are certainly entitled to. At least I didn't describe it as being full of hipsters......

                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                            Eh, hipsters can't afford Dan Tanas... thank goodness!

                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                              dan tana's is MILES "hipper" than craft.

                                          2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                            I have to say that as bars goes Tana's is pretty friendly, but once again others will find the atmosphere to be tacky, complete with hanging Chianti Bottles, and old battered football helmets, and Lakers jersey back from the era of Showtime, and Magic and Dvac.

                                            1. re: kevin

                                              you guys have sufficiently destroyed any desire for me to go to Dan Tana's.

                                              1. re: ns1

                                                truth to tell, for the dollars you are spending, you better get thee to shunji's already.

                                                but tana's does have this certain charm to it. and now i have come to the opinion that besides the steaks, most of the food is quite delicious drunkard or stoner food. delicious stuff at that.

                                    2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                      bingo, it does have this NYC feel to it.

                                      i think oliverB is in the right, a lot of people just won't like the joint.

                                      1. re: kevin

                                        I agree. As I stated earlier, it is pretty difficult to determine by anonymous opinions whether someone will like it or not.

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          kevin, don't you think that's true of MOST joints?

                                          there are very few unanimously beloved restaurants.

                                          1. re: linus

                                            linus, you are absolutely correct. And partly, why we do get into discussions on these here boards.

                                            though sometimes, myself included, we are quite vehement in our favorites.

                                        2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                          I actually grew up on the East Coast as a native Montrealer who's spent considerably more time in New York then I have in California over the past thirty years. That said, the appeal of Dan Tana's was mostly lost on me. There are countless old Hollywood restaurants that I enjoy eating at more for the character and atmosphere of the place than the proficiency of the kitchen. Not this one however. The ambiance feels more 'cheap 1980's' than 'old Hollywood'. The TV over the bar and sports memorabilia plastered all over the walls are not my thing. That said, I didn't hate the place. Was the food particularly good? Not really. The whitefish that was highly recommended was pretty bad imo. The steak was overcooked. The Italian comfort food in canned sauce was passable but for the most part bland and not very good. Would it have mattered if the atmosphere of the restaurant compensated for the meal? Not one bit! I'm always forgiving when it comes to old LA institutions. This place just seemed trendy and badly remodeled - the dining room was too bright, the decor was cheap, the place was cramped and claustrophobic - just not my scene at all.

                                          1. re: OliverB

                                            You should not go. Good call for you.

                                            1. re: Thor123

                                              Yep.

                                              But Thor, please save me a said.

                                              And now I just found out that their fucking garlic cheese bread is disgustingly delicious too.

                                              1. re: kevin

                                                I am holding your said. How should it be held?

                                                1. re: Thor123

                                                  My bad. Stupid not so smart phone.

                                                  I meant "seat" instead of "said".

                                                  Isn't technology great ?

                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                    Ha.

                                                    My stupid 'not so smart phone', on occasion, has gotten me in so much trouble.

                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                      I can relate.

                                            2. re: OliverB

                                              Trendy is not a word I would have used to describe DT's. I think we've all come to the conclusion that it wasn't the type of place you were looking for. We get it. That's okay. Forgive us for recommending a place we enjoy. It's not for everyone. It may be time to move on now.....

                                              PS - by east coast I was not including Canada. My bad.

                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                It is definitely an "in" place, you've got to admit that. There's no other reason for the crowds and b-listers and unreasonable lines outside the door. The kitchen certainly doesn't justify that kind of "scene". That is the definition of trendy to me.

                                                Anyhow, no need to get sardonic about it; I don't regret eating there not do I hate the place. It's simply not my scene.

                                                And I've spent as much time in NYC and across the border on the other coast as I have anywhere else as its a short drive from Montreal and I had family in Manhattan throughout the '80s and '90s.

                                                Anyhow, I've moved on long ago and was simply responding to your post after expressing feedback. Isn't that what Chowhound is for?

                                                Cheers

                                                1. re: OliverB

                                                  love that last part, oliver b. posters and moderators always seem to forget this is supposedly a discussion board.

                                                  1. re: linus

                                                    yep, that's exactly what it's for.

                                                    now let's start a thread on the best pizza slice in LA. Or better yet the very best XLBs in LA, that should begin to ignite an insidious conflagration.

                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                      "Or better yet the very best XLBs in LA..."

                                                      Just call 'em "dumplings" if you want to bring the (soup) pot to a roiling boil...(g)

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        Or better yet, raviolis ???? :)

                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                          Kevin,
                                                          Try "Chinese raviolis".

                                                          1. re: Tripeler

                                                            Exactly.

                                                            Now let the ensuing wars begin.

                                                            :)

                                          2. re: OliverB

                                            In the end and despite what many people on this board seem to think, Dan Tana's is not about the food. This would be among the last places in LA I'd spend more than $50 on a steak.

                                            In my opinion, DT's is about sitting at the bar, drinking with the regulars until you're good and souced, bullshitting with D-listers (and the occasional B and A-lister) and then sitting down to eat when you're sufficiently inebriated that almost anything with a bit of salt and fat will taste good.

                                            While I agree that the place is highly reminiscent of NYC Italian Steakhouses (I've commented about this on other postings) I disagree with the comments that NYC is a less friendly place than LA. As a New York native - half of my family was born/raised in Little Italy - I find New Yorkers to be gruff but no less friendly. That gruff, clubby vibe has somehow seeped its way west to Dan Tana's.

                                            1. re: JeMange

                                              I agree with Jet Man's post completely.

                                              Except that the steak can stand it's own without any drinks and so can the french fries, but other than that ...

                                              1. re: kevin

                                                "Jet Man"??? It may be a bit pretentious (screw it, it is pretentious) but "je mange" is french for "I eat."

                                                :)

                                              2. re: JeMange

                                                I also do not have enough concrete experience as say a born and bread NYer would to say that NYer's are gruff and not very friendly.

                                                Having said that, Tana's is a friendly place to get slightly inebriated to completely sauced.

                                                And the drinks are tiny but stiff (or stiff when they need to be stiff).

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  You, especially kevin, should appreciate this http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/n... (g)

                                                2. re: JeMange

                                                  frankly, i figured it was only a matter of time before someone reported back like the OP.

                                                  dan tana's can be quite a fun experience, but the taste of the food and drinks isn't that much a part of it.

                                                  1. re: JeMange

                                                    Well said. It really isn't about the food, it's about the vibe and the personalities that visit. It's more entertaining than a foodie destination.

                                                    And I agree that NYers are more gruff than unfriendly. I have many friends from the city and they are all extremely friendly and kind people. It's just not a laid back, mellow city the way LA is. It's just a completely different personality, and IMHO, one of the best cities in the world. I miss visiting there.

                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                      eh, i think the "laid back, mellow" vibe of l.a. is outdated.

                                                      that said, i am totally thankful the restaurant dress codes here are more relaxed.
                                                      certainly l.a. is laid back in that way.

                                                      1. re: linus

                                                        i agree with that. i think LA sometimes gets a bad rap in being too laid back as it where.

                                                        lot's of industry going on here besides the screenwriters sipping their lattes at insomnia and figuring out ways not to write.

                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                          "...ways not to write".

                                                          Like...checking Chowhound?

                                                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                            exactly, or rather yeah probably. :)

                                                    2. re: JeMange

                                                      Having finally gotten to DT for the first time earlier this week, and reported about it within a different post on the board, a summary of my impression would be that I would definitely go back for the ambience and fun atmosphere. It's like a popular local pub, but not with pub food. But if you select your meal judiciously you can dine quite satisfactorily, but realize that you are overpaying somewhat for the quality and character of the food - because the food prices there really represent (and only can be justified as) the price of admission to a good show and a fun time. You're not paying the big bucks for culinary artistry or dear ingredients. But with those qualifications, I won't hesitate to return.

                                                      1. re: Wayno

                                                        Another bingo:

                                                        The high prices for the food is the price of admission.

                                                        Think about 1.65 times the market price.

                                                  2. I have been tempted to write about Dan Tana's but realized that Tana's will always have its admirers and detractors and whatever I say would be of little consequence.
                                                    O.K., here goes:
                                                    Through the 1990's up to about 2007, we regularly went to Tana's with our closest friends. He happened to be a well-known film and TV Director. We were always immediately seated in the front room, same booth and our director-friend always asked for the off-menu salad which was named for him. We were always surrounded by celebrities, most of whom knew our friends. Service was phenomenal. Food was good, but IMHO, nothing all that special. What was special was the ambiance. Has anyone even heard the name of the chef at Tana's? No! Often, I would order the small steak for dinner and it was excellent.
                                                    One night I said to our friends, as we were leaving the restaurant, that the following weekend night was our anniversary and we would like to celebrate it in the front room. Our director friend arranged with the maitre'd for the reservation and we were assured we would be treated as well as our friends (who always tipped generously). The following weekend we arrived for our reservation and were treated like total crap!! We were given that lame excuse of "we can't guarantee a specific room" which was utter B.S. The front door guy was such an arrogant A**hole, that we decided to leave. We called our friends and they tore him a new one. The manager called me a few days later and apologized and said that they would love us to return and would comp our meal. That was all well and good, because, clearly, they didn't want to piss off our celebrity friends.
                                                    I decided to order the bigger steak instead of the smaller steak. I mean, why not? What was shocking is what a rip-off it was!! That bigger NY Steak was bigger because of the inedible piece of fat which ringed that piece of meat. Remove the fat and you've got the little steak.
                                                    Post Script: We never returned. Our friend died in 2010, but loved the fact that he could order a salad with his own name at Tana's and had a caraciture of himself on the wall at The Palm. He never felt good about Tana's after our experience and we found ourselves returning to the Palm more and more where he was always thrillled to sit against the wall with his caricature.
                                                    I'll never return to Tana's. I don't need the scene and I can get better food and drink in a myriad of other Los Angeles restaurants.
                                                    Glad to know that our friend passed away before they started tearing down the Palm.
                                                    Message to the OP: If you are going for an engagement party, be prepared to sit in Siberia

                                                    25 Replies
                                                    1. re: maudies5

                                                      Great story.
                                                      Now I will tell mine.
                                                      I was eating the Dabney Coleman when he walked in. As he passed my table I remarked to him that his steak was excellent and the only thing I can think of that might be more exciting was if Julius Ceasar had walked in while I was eating his salad. Dabney chuckled. Later, on the way to the men's, Coleman took the time to say, "You really think that would be MORE exciting?"

                                                      BTW - what does "Siberia" mean at Tana's? There's a bar room and an adjoining room. I have sat next to A listers in both rooms.

                                                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                        You should have said "Considering the fact he's been dead for over 2000 years I'd give the nod to Julie C."

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          Love it.

                                                        2. re: Ciao Bob

                                                          bob, please don't harsh my mellow and tell me you had rehearsed that line "just in case."

                                                          1. re: linus

                                                            I think Bob was waiting for years for that very moment and rehearsed the JC line just so. :)

                                                            One would think if the steak was name after Dabney Coleman, he would always be eating it there, but I have a feeling that he munched on that steak more so in the mid to late 80s, and possibly early 90s, rather than now.

                                                            anyhow, bob, great story.

                                                            1. re: linus

                                                              Spontaneous.
                                                              The only celebrity that I am pre-prepared to ask a question of - at any time, if I am lucky enough - is Bruce Springsteen. I did sit very close to him, practically elbow-to-elbow at Giorgio Baldi years ago. He was with Melissa Etheridge and Spielberg/Capshaw. But I did not get to pop the question.

                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                y'know, i'm often way overly sensitive about what i read here on chowhound.

                                                                but bob, the thought of bruce dining with melissa etheridge absolutely and utterly fills me with a nameless dread.

                                                            2. re: Ciao Bob

                                                              Damn, I've never been munching on the steak when he walked in.

                                                              I'm with you Bob on Tana's.

                                                              Though usually when I'm there it's more like B- listers and C listers. And by that same token, I'm probably be a fucking Z lister if those even existed.

                                                              Anyhow, it's a fun time there. Food is good in my opinion, and I could see how many many many patrons would beyond hate the fucking place. But yeah, if I had maudie's epxerience i wouldn't return either, or even an instance somewhat like hers.

                                                              sorry maudies.

                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                The Bar Room is generally considered to be more desire able.

                                                                1. re: maudies5

                                                                  really ?

                                                                  did you mean "desire able" or "desirable" ?

                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                    Blame the spelling on my Ipad

                                                                    1. re: maudies5

                                                                      I see,

                                                                      I thought you wrote it that way for emphasis or intentionally.

                                                                      My bad.

                                                                2. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                  btw, how long ago was it when the eponymous Dabney Coleman walked in ?

                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                    Probably around '96-97.

                                                                3. re: maudies5

                                                                  who was the well-known film and tv director ?

                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                    i vote akira kurosawa or rw fassbinder.

                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                      hasn't the great rene passed on for over two decades now ?

                                                                      But it would have been beyond exceptional to shoot the shit with him at tana's.

                                                                      or maybe even kurosawa as we discuss one of my later favorites of his, "Ran", over a couple of Dabney Colemans. Two for me, and one for him.

                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                        Aaron Spelling gets my vote.

                                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                          My Bad. Spelling died in '06.
                                                                          Blake Edwards.

                                                                      2. re: kevin

                                                                        I had a more enjoyable brunch with Ben Stein at The Polo Lounge yesterday...

                                                                        1. re: OliverB

                                                                          Did you happen to win any of his money ? :)

                                                                          Sounds like it would be a fun time discussing various issues of the day with him.

                                                                          And it's interesting to note that he is an attorney/actor/political consultant/speech writer, basically a jack of all trades.

                                                                          Does he hit up on the Polo Lounge for brunch on Sundays often ?

                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                            Haha we didn't actually dine with him so to speak, but he was seated next to us at elbows length. The wait staff greeted him with familiarity, so perhaps he's a regular.

                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                              He's basically brilliant.

                                                                            2. re: OliverB

                                                                              You must have treated. I can't see "Mr Thrifty" dining there on his own dime.

                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                I wouldn't believe everything that's printed or heard about him.
                                                                                He's a very generous, lovely man.