Even though they are in the midst of their 'soft opening', we decided to give this new Woodland Hills restaurant a try last Friday night. They had opened their doors one week prior, and we were curious...
As we drove up, I was stunned at how crowded it was! The valet was slammed (FYI, there IS metered parking on Ventura Bl, but it goes until 8:00pm, so if you want to park on the street, take a mountain of quarters).
Our original intention was just to drop in, have a drink and maybe share an appetizer, just to get the 'feel' of the place, but as we scoped out some of the plates being served, we decided to have dinner.
There IS a patio, but it has only a few tables; it seems like it's mostly a waiting area, rather than a dining area. We could have gotten one of the tables outside, but since there is no smoking in the restaurant or on the patio, people were walking out to the sidewalk (exactly one foot from the patio) to smoke (problematic), so we decided to eat inside (which really isn't IN, since the entire front of the building is wide open). With the 'open-ness', it seems a cross between a beach restaurant and one with a cool, industrial look.
As I looked around, I saw every imaginable 'type' of patron; older people, couples, families with kids, the happy hour crowd, and hipsters; everyone looked like they were having a good time.
Our server (Alissa) came over instantly and was very friendly and attentive. She made some suggestions regarding their cocktail menu and I tried the St. Germain, which was small-ish, but tasty. My only complaint was that the blackberries were so 'chunky' that using a straw was pointless. My husband had the Watermelon cocktail, which he enjoyed.
We started with the cheese fritters. Big fried cheese balls, how can that not be wonderful? They were delicious! One of my pet peeves is when restaurants don't give you a 'splittable' amount of appetizers (3 items for 2 people for example), but there were four of these tasty treats, so we didn't have to fight over them!
For our mains, I had the Classic Burger with onion rings. If a restaurant can't make a decent burger, then I am suspect of their overall ability, but this burger was GREAT!! I asked for (and GOT!!) medium rare. There was a 'special sauce' on the side that was very much like a remoulade and very good, with a nice little 'kick'. The onion rings were huge and very lightly battered and perfectly crispy. I was a happy girl!
My husband had the fish and chips, primarily because he was intrigued by the fact that they use snapper instead of cod. He like it a lot (normally, I would have tried his, but I was too busy inhaling onion rings!
The total came to $55 before tax and tip.
The valet was even MORE slammed when we left, which is going to turn out to be a weak link, since their lot is so small. There is a $4 service charge, it took 15 minutes to get the car and basically, they pulled it out of the space and let me negotiate it out of the lot (I ended up having to drive out behind the building to the alley, as there was zero chance of getting the car back out onto Ventura Bl.).
We enjoyed the restaurant so much that we decided to go back this upcoming weekend for a friend's birthday. We were told that they take reservations for parties of 8 or more. When I tried to call them to make the reservation, I could not, for the life of me, find a phone number for the Woodland Hills location; it is as though it is a state secret! When you call the Sherman Oaks location, no one ever actually answers the phone. On Facebook, they told me they did not accept reservations (despite being told they did), so, we're going back tonight to talk to them live and in person to make a reservation, then stay for drinks and appetizers (not at all a hardship!)!!