Restaurants & Bars

Los Angeles Area Burbank

Ben's restaurant in Burbank (long)

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Ben's restaurant in Burbank (long)

Shelley Kelly | Oct 11, 2003 01:18 PM

Hello fellow hounds.

Just thought I'd add a review of this restaurant. Hubby and I were running from the law...er., no, had just come from the Burbank Police Station on election day (in actuality, he had to get a "Mike is a good citizen and does not have a criminal record" letter for a work visa to the Cayman Islands for his work. What a life.

As it was nearing lunchtime and we were wanting, but too lazy venture far and wide to try someplace new, exciting, and different, lo and behold, we gazed across the street to Ben's, which boasted "world's best corned beef" or something similar on its painted sign.

When we arrived, we noticed that there were only two other tables currently being waited on, and after a nod from the waitress, seated ourselves with menus in hand. The place was neat and clean and people at the two other tables seemed to be enjoying their lunch. Looked like sandwiches and onion rings, although nothing special.

Well, after TEN MINUTES and no other diners coming in, a fellow whom we immediately named Manuel (referring to his resemblance to Manuel from Barcelona, the bellhop in the BBC comedy "Fawlty Towers) came to give us water. He then immediately disappeared, even with Mike (hubby) gently yelling "we're ready to order, sir."

Hmmm. A foreshadowing of things to come?

Two more parties came in, both older couples. The sole waitress that we could see immediately brought them menus, water, and took their orders.

Manuel emerged from the kitchen, and proceeded to our table to ask what we'd like to drink. When we replied "iced tea" he started to once again bolt for the kitchen, but this time, Mike caught him by loudly declaring, "WAIT! We're ready to order!"

Since neither of us were in a corned-beef mood, hubby ordered a bowl of chili and a tuna melt. We must note that there is tiny writing on the menu that all sandwiches will be served on Ben's famous rye bread unless otherwise noted or requested. Hubby asked for sourdough toast instead of rye.

I ordered the liverwurst, salami, and swiss cheese sandwich, with the coleslaw on the side. I stressed to Manuel that I did not want the coleslaw in the sandwich, as described on the menu, but on the side. I, too, asked for sourdough toast. He was writing furiously and nodding "YES" to all this instruction.

Fifteen minutes passed. We were the only diners left in this hole. A woman walked in and asked if anyone knew how to read Spanish, so she could interpret the cooking directions on a box of something she purchased from the 99c store. Manuel tried to help her, even going to the extent to call someone on the phone to attempt the translation. Still no food.

Manuel was busy at the counter, having escorted the young miss with translation problems out the door...as Mike put it, "he's probably writing a letter to his mother" so ignoring us that our food was delivered by the other waitress.

Finally, our order arrived. Both our sandwiches were on Rye toast, and there was coleslaw IN my sandwich, and a side order of coleslaw in a little dish on the plate. I pointed this out to the waitress, and she tried to argue with me that I didn't ask for that, when it was indeed in chicken scratch on Manuel's ticket. I even read it. She begrudingly bussed my plate away and returned it with the slaw scraped off, but still with absolutely soggy Rye bread left over. The coleslaw was replaced with four huge leaves of lettuce dripping in coleslaw juice. Hubby's sandwich and fries were greasy and cold, and my sandwich was a slippery mess of coldcuts and rubber swiss cheese.

I doubt that we'll ever visit there again, even to try their "world famous" corned beef. I'm sure there are those hounds out there that have had decent experiences with this place, and I don't want to tell people "NEVER" go there, but this is just a gentle warning of what you could experience.

Have a great weekend, all, and thanks for listening.

Regards,
Shelley (and Mike, in absentia)

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