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Friday, May 31, 2013

Arthur's Restaurant

Arthur's Restaurant
240 N Tustin St

Arthur's Restaurant is an old school coffee shop.  But, I found out they served broasted chicken, so I stopped in.  Arthur's is located on very busy Tustin St., which has more thrift shops per mile than almost any street in California.    The unique exterior, 3 different colors and styles, welcomes visitors inside a large dining area.

2 pieces chicken with waffles, $13.15.  The regular price is $10.69 with a $1.49 extra for two breasts. The first piece I bit into was a bit dry and the skin was bland and flavorless.  The skin wasn't crispy or crunchy either.  I'm not sure if it was really broasted chicken, where they use a special broaster.  But, the second piece of chicken was everything the first piece wasn't.  Moist, juicy, crispy skin and full of flavor.

The waffle was very good.  Lightly dusted with powdered sugar, there waffle was sweet and tasty.  Thicker than I'm used to, but still good.  

Service is very good.  The hostess greeted me when I walked in.  The server who took my order was nice and friendly.  I walked outside and came back in and another hostess or server asked if I had been helped.   There are times when I go to a restaurant and not be greeted but I'm greeted twice in the 10-15 minutes I'm there. 

I learned that you can order chicken ala carte, so the next time I'm just ordering the broasted chicken.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hamburger Habit

Hamburger Habit
11223 National Blvd
Los Angeles

Back in 2004 or 2005, I read that Hamburger Habit was rated one of the best burgers in LA by a radio food show.  Now, this is right before the gourmet burger craze hit LA.  Hamburger Habit has been on my list of places to try but I rarely go to the Palms area of LA.  But, over the Memorial Day weekend, I was in the area and finally dropped by.

Located at the very busy intersection of National Blvd and Sepulveda, is in a L-shape strip mall and backs up against the very busy 405.  The signage reminds me of gaudy Las Vegas hotels.  There is a sign that says Hamburger Habit was established in 1968.  The interior has a lot of chrome and white subway title. 

Sassy Cheese-Cheddar cheese instead of swiss, dressing, lettuce, tomatoes on a sesame egg bun, $5.78.  The meat they use is fresh, not frozen, chuck steak.  The meat is good quality but one side of my burger sat on the grill for too long and there was chard pieces on one side.  The toppings were fresh, the bun nicely toasted.  But, there is nothing outstanding about this burger.  It certainly wasn't worth the $5.78 price tag.

Service is good.  The guy who took my order greeted me when I walked up to the counter and was nice and friendly.

I'm sure if I went to Hamburger Habit when I first found out about them, I would have said I liked the burger.  But, the burger isn't better than In N Out and it's almost double the price.  I understand the cost of doing business on the snotty Westside is high, the quality of the burger doesn't justify the high price tag.  I won't go back to Hamburger Habit anytime soon.

Malibu Seafood

Malibu Seafood
25653 Pacific Coast Hwy

After I went to Reel Inn about five years ago, people told me I should try Malibu Seafood-which is about six miles north on PCH.  Well I finally made it to Malibu Seafood!  A very informal restaurant where you order and pick up your food at the counter, and sit at picnic tables which offers a great view of the Pacific Ocean.

Ahi tuna with rice pilaf and green salad, $22.95.  The ahi tuna was a little over cooked.  Ahi tuna should be at medium rare but this was medium.  But, the tuna was very and had good flavor.  They allowed the taste of the ahi tuna to come through, and they didn't over season it.    The green salad was fine, maybe out of a bag but still good.  The rice pilaf was flavorful, though it could have been served hotter.

Fried fish, $3.75.  I wanted to try their fish and chips, but I don't get the chips.  But, Malibu Seafood sells a piece of fried fish al carte.  The fish is Alaskan Cod and is very fresh, and tasty.  The batter is outstanding-light crispy and not greasy at all.  A very good, if pricey, example of fried fish.

Service is good.  The guy who took my order was very nice and helpful.  The order came out quickly and, other than the rice pilaf, served very good.

I won't go back to Malibu Seafood for the ahi tuna dinner- for that price they need to cook it perfectly.  But their fried fish is great.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Son of a Gun

Son of a Gun
8370 W 3rd St
Los Angeles

Son of a Gun is an interesting name for a restaurant.  It is owned by the owners of Animal restaurant. 
Across busy 3rd St. from  D'Amore's Pizza Son of a Gun is a small plates seafood restaurant, though one of it's most popular dishes is a fried chicken sandwich.  The interesting thing for me is the only sign for Son of a Gun is the sign you see on the door, in the above picture.  There is no sign on the face of the building.  I understand they have been opened for about two years, so why isn't there a sign?

Son of a Gun is very small restaurant with a big community picnic table as it's centerpiece.  It's a popular restaurant that is very busy.  Our wait time was 30 minutes and they said we could go to the bar called The Churchill a few doors down, while waiting for our table.  It is a good suggestion because the bar inside Son of a Gun is very small and all the chairs were taken.

Curly kale, caesar dressing, walnut, parmesan $11.  This is really a kale caesar salad.  Normally I hate kale, but when the kale is covered with caesar dressing and parmesan cheese, it hides the bitter flavor of kale.  In fact, there was too much dressing and parmesan, they drowned out the kale. 

Shrimp toast sandwich, herbs, sriracha mayo $12.  This is one of their most popular items.  It was good, a perfectly toasted crust and a good shrimp flavor.  But, this was a small dish and not worth the $12 price tag.  Yeah, I know it's about location, location, location.  But, I wouldn't order this again.

Fried chicken sandwich, spicy b&b pickle slaw, rooster aioli $14.  A perfect fried chicken breast-juicy, moist, tender, and all those fresh toppings made this a great sandwich!!  The bun was perfectly toasted and held up to all the toppings.  This is well worth the price tag!

Service is very good.  Our server was very nice, helpful, and friendly.  As a matter of policy they recommend two people splitting five dishes, which I thought is a bit much.  If we didn't order the fried chicken sandwich or the sandwich was smaller, I would agree with the five dish recommendation.

I was impressed with Son of a Gun and would return but it would be for a special occasion instead of a regular dinner. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


May 29, 2013

Sadly, The Great Taco Hunt blog has thrown in the tortilla and will not longer be taco blogging about all the great taco trucks in LA.  While I haven't reviewed any of the taco trucks he went to, I always read his blog.  As a tribute to him I will do a review of one of his top five favorites.
May 15, 2013

Closed Restaurants:

Over the weekend I searched almost all the restaurants that I reviewed on The New Diner.  I added about 40, yes 40, restaurants to the Closed Restaurants section of The New Diner!  The total number of closed restaurants is currently at 235!!

Included in those closed restaurants were;

Some long time restaurants like Cassell's Hamburgers.

The first Korean BBQ restaurant I went to, Feedable BBQ.

Some restaurants because of bad food or service, like Crossroads BBQ,  Porky's BBQ, and Holy Smokes Bar-B-Que, I was not surprised they had closed.

While others like, Willy's Smokehouse BBQ & Grill and Otis Jackon Soul Dogs I was very surprised.

Some restaurants have been closed for more than 2 or 3 years, like BBQ Co, and I just found out about it.

While I try to keep the closed restaurant list as current as possible, if The New Diner or The New Diner 2 readers find out about closed restaurants, please let me know.

June 23, 2012:

I went back to Moscow Deli and tried the Odessa sandwich and included better pictures of the Kiev sandwich.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Giamela's-Updated Review

Giamela's Submarine Sandwiches
3178 Los Feliz Blvd
Los Angeles

Located just down the road from Griffith Park, Giamela's starts what I call Atwater Village's Bar Row.  Starting at Giamela's and going east on Los Feliz, you have Big Foot Lodge, The Roost-a dive bar, and The Griffin all within about a quarter mile.

I was meeting friends for a drink at Big Foot Lodge and didn't want to drink on an empty stomach.  I asked the bartender at Big Foot Lodge if they served food.  He said no, but I was welcomed to bring in any food I wanted.  Since Giamela's is a couple stores down, I went for it.

Giamela's is a small restaurant with seating for about 12 people.  But, it was very uncomfortable inside because there is no air conditioning inside the restaurant and on a hot day it is hot as hell inside, especially in the afternoon when the sun is blazing down onto the restaurant.  

Small Italian cold cut sandwich, $6.54, salami and mortadella, provolone cheese, mayo, lettuce, and tomatoes.  The best part of this sandwich was the sesame seed roll, which was soft and chewy and a good texture.  The meats were very generic and plain.  If people want to call Boar's Head the Oscar Meyer of cold cuts, fine, but Giamela's doesn't even use Boar's House but some off brand cold cuts.

Service was good.  The lady was nice and helpful. 

I would not go back to Giamela's again.  Somebody in our group ordered a slice of pizza and while I didn't taste the pizza, it didn't look appetizing at all.

Update October 31, 2016

I was at a get together in Atwater Village and they had pizza for everybody.  I tried it and thought the pizza was very good.  I asked the host where they got the pizza and they told me Giamela's.  So, I figured I should go back to Giamela's and give them a try.

Large vegetarian, $12.45.  Normally with mushrooms, onions, olives, bell peppers, I asked for no olives or bell peppers and jalapenos.

The crust is very good-firm holding the toppings well, sauce has a mild flavor, and toppings were plentiful, especially the cheese.  Pizza was pretty good but not as good as the pizza I had at the get together. Not sure why the inconsistency.

Service was TERRIBLE!  The young girl with major attitude should not be working in customer service.  Most pizza places I have been to are more than willing to substitute items on their vegetarian pizza.  Not Giamela's and girl with the attitude.  I was originally charge the price for three toppings, even though I deleted a topping from the regular vegetarian pizza.  When I brought it to her attention she said there are not substitutions.  I told her there is nothing on the menu that says no substitutions.  She cooped her attitude and said here's your dollar.  She should have told me that there are no substitutions when I placed my order, or she could have given good customer service and not worry about the money, especially when they are saving money by not including a topping!  Again I have substituted jalapenos for olives on a vegetarian pizza at many other places and got the vegetarian pizza price.  Now here is the kicker!!  Giamela's has three other locations and I called one of their Burbank locations and asked about substitutions on the vegetarian pizza.  She said it would be the same price as the vegetarian pizza!!

I would like the owner of a pizza place to answer this question; why not just say up to 4 veggie toppings for a vegetarian pizza?  Especially if the price of the toppings are the same!  Why not let the customer decide what kind of veggie pizza they want?

I will not go back to Giamela's again.  What terrible service! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

New York Pizzeria

New York Pizzeria
12431 Central Ave

I've always passed by New York Pizzeria but have never stopped in.   But, after reading David Allen's Review of New York Pizzeria, I decided to give them a try.  Located in the Superior Market shopping center, New York Pizzeria is a huge restaurant.  You enter and place your order at the long counter, while trying to ignore all the yankee SCUM memorabilia, like the seats from The House that George Renovated that are pictured in David Allen's review.  The dining area is in back has picnic tables with red and white checker table clothes, and a huge screen TV.  They were showing ESPN the time I went.

I got one of their everyday special; two medium two topping pizzas for $18.99, $21.27 if you use a credit card and you pay the 75 cent service fee-which I believe isn't allowed by the credit card companies.   Anyways, David gave a good review about the toppings but felt the crust was too thin to support the toppings.  New York Pizzeria must read David's reviews because the crust I had, on both pizzas, held up very well.

Pepperoni and sausage.  The pepperoni and sausage were very good.  The sausage was huge and well seasoned.  They were the size of meatballs, hell, they were bigger than some meatballs I've had.  The cheese is good quality and there is a lot of it on the pizza.  I thought the sauce was bland and barely noticed it was on the pizza.  

Salami and mushrooms.  I think the mushrooms are fresh, not canned, and were spread throughout the pizza.  I didn't care for the salami, which was too bland and generic.

Service was good.  The people are nice and friendly.  The guy who brought us the pizzas to the table, was very nice.  When he came out earlier to take pizza to another table, he hold me my pizzas would be out in a few minutes.  This is very good customer service and something that is lacking at many restaurants!  They could take notes from New York Pizzeria.

Overall, I liked the pizza, though the sauce could be better and I wouldn't get the salami, and service is good.   I would go back to New York Pizzeria if I was in the area.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Avila's El Ranchito

Avila's El Ranchito
182 S Orange St

Avila's El Ranchito is an Orange County chain with about 12 locations.  Their Orange location, just east of the famous Orange Circle, is housed in an old Victorian Baptist Church, which was built in 1888.  The church closed in 1992 and a couple years later PJ Abbey's restaurant opened up.  About two years ago PJ Abbey's closed and Avila's El Ranchito opened.   If you believe in ghosts, there is suppose to be a ghost that haunts the restaurant. 

Avila's El Ranchito is a good sized restaurant.  There are two entrances; one of the restaurant and the other for the bar.  Being an old church the restaurant has high ceilings, wood floors, and stain glass windows.  The stain glass on the east side of the resturant still has PJ's on top. 

Grilled fiesta platter, $12.95, with chicken, black beans, red onions, green onions, tomatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms.

Normally when I go to a Mexican restaurant and it's filled with white people it's not a good sign.  I might as well go to the white washed Mexican chain restaurants like El Torito, or Don Jose, or Acapulco.  But, I know the Orange Circle isn't a place that many Latinos frequent.  You're more likely to see a flying Delorean than a large number of Latinos. But,  Avila's El Ranchito is a fairly authentic Mexican restaurant.  The flavors of the grilled fiesta platter were well balanced.  The chicken breast was well seasoned and grilled just right, not dry at all.  The veggies were grilled perfectly, though since I hate zucchini, I wish there wasn't any zucchini.  The black beans were money, perfectly cooked and seasoned.  Well seasoned and a huge portion made this a very good entree. 

Service was good.  The hostess and server were both very nice and friendly.

The setting is nice and makes for a nice quiet dining experience.  The food is good and reasonably price.  So, of course I would go back to Avila's El Ranchito anytime.