Around 11:45 yesterday I took Ms. T in to work at the NoHo Rob-May, then realized I was 20+ miles from home and feeling awfully lunchy. I had long been wondering about that somewhat elderly 24-hour diner just east of the park on Magnolia, so I decided to give it a spin. Nice big parking lot beside the building, easy to get in at least. Parked, walked in, sat down at counter, was ignored for about ten minutes while the staff interacted with some regulars or counted the spoons or something else more interesting than giving me a menu...
My existence was finally acknowleged and a menu supplied. It was a nice big thing with most of my favorite Food Groups (burgers, chili, bratwurst, biscuits'n'gravy and so forth), and the prices seemed reasonable. The stuff coming out of the kitchen looked and smelled pretty good, too. I suffered my usual spasms of not being able to decide even which meal I was going to eat, much less which entrée to feature in it, but the waitress's attention was such a rare and fleeting thing that I knew I had to jump or starve, so I said "Liver and onions! Salad! Oil and vinegar! Mashed potatoes!" as soon as she got me into focus.
Well. The salad was a great big bowl of mostly iceberg, with the usual token shreds of red cabbage, and two packets of saltines on the side. But it was also extremely fresh and crisp, and the cruets held nice fresh oil and vinegar. When my plate arrived, it was covered largely by a slab of extremely tender beef liver the size of both my hands, bordered on the north by a mound of very non-institutional mashed potatoes, and a bowl overflowing with green peas, not bright green but not overcooked either. All of this was very good; the steak knife with which I was expected to cut my liver was a case of overkill, as the edge of my fork did the trick, except for the gristly bit at the eastern end. The grilled onions were stacked beautifully on top of the liver, and I had a blissful time making up combined forkfuls of the various ingredients and relishing them. I was also provided, I must add, with a yeast roll of some kind on a separate plate, whose apparent spongy nature did not entice me.
After I had enjoyed all of this, I was once again drawn into the game of Snag The Waitress. I even made eye contact with her a few times and managed to incorporate the writing-on-my-hand gesture into our brief connections, but it was at least another ten minutes before she consented to present me with a check, which she did by shoving it down and abruptly turning her back. To my credit, I did not immediately return the cash tip to my wallet.
And in all honesty I must say that the man at the cash register made the waitress look effusively cordial by contrast...
Following PK's lead, I'll say:
Food - B+
Ambience - C
Service - C-
Price - A ...my meal, with iced tea, was right at $12.
I will be back, simply because there's a lot of stuff I want to try, and maybe I'll get a less spooky wait person next time.
Sitton's North Hollywood Diner
11329 Magnolia Blvd.
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