William W.

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Recent reviews by William W. - Page 1 of 6
Restaurant Name City
Chili's Grill & Bar West Hills, CA
As the name indicates, this is a Tex-Mex restaurant, but the food represents several other ethnic origins as well, including Thai and Cajun. The decor is rustic/antiques, but well-lighted. It's a clean place with a lot of good food including Tex-Mex style sampler plates. This is a nice place to take the kids or to take a date you intend to talk with. There was intormation at waiter.com, but that has been deleted, so they no longer have delivery or phone orders, which is a shame. It's a good place to eat.
El Torito #2 Encino, CA
This is one of the nicest Mexican restaurant chains. It's a fine place to take a date or the family. This particular location has parking off a side street, behind a gas station, but has a fenced-in pond with various waterfowl in the adjacent state park visible from the dining room. The food is altogether elegant, particularly when compared with anything like Taco Bell. Serving portions are usually enough for two people. You get a lot for your money here.
Solley's Restaurant & Deli Sherman Oaks, CA
My two-star rating is an average based on several factors. This is a nice deli, bakery, restaurant and catering business. The interior boasts a lot of nicely finished wood. The food quality is quite good, although I am so fond of a brisket of beef plate that, most of the time, in any Jewish deli, that's all I'll eat. On that basis, I'd give it a four starts. The problem is the clientele. They mind your business. We came in here with a two-year-old, who went in a high chair. She dropped some lettuce on the floor, and the result was other diners from several tables glaring at us throughout the meal. So, don't come in the place with kids under twelve. If you don't mind people at nearby tables glaring at you, you might consider taking a date here, but I wouldn't. Not on a bet.
Coco's Family Restaurant Woodland Hills, CA
This is a typical Coco's location, except for being more crowded than most. The cuisine is comparable to Denny's, except better in taste and appearance, and more general. For instance, you can find tortilla soup served in a bowl made from a round loaf of French bread. The restaurant is clean and well lighted, but at this location, expect a wait. The clientele here is more upscale than at most Coco's locations. This is an O.K. place to take the kids if you have time and money, but the food court at Topanga Plaza, across the screet, is faster. For a date, there are a lot of less-crowded spots around.
Coco's Family Restaurant Van Nuys, CA
In general, Coco's is a lot like Denny's, but a bit more upscale. You can get wonderful tortilla soup, here, served in a bowl made from a round loaf of bread. They have a variety of breakfast and dinner items, all presented a bit more artistically than Denny's would, for a slightly higher price. This location, just west of the Van Nuys airport, is well-lit, clean and spacious, and a little less busy than most Coco's locations. As a place to take the family or a date, it is hard to beat this particular site.
Stuart Anderson's Black Angus Restaurant Northridge, CA
In case I have two reviews for this place, my original review didn't appear here for three weeks after I entered it, so I'm assuming it got lost. This is a very good restaurant for either a date or as a place to take the family, if you can afford the prices. You can easily spend $50 to $70 on a date here. The restaurant, as a whole, is decorated in rough wood - like a barn - with Southwest motif upholstery. The bar is nice, polished wood. They have some good, friendly bartenders and waitresses. The food is, basically, steak, with or without seafood, but you can choose chicken instead. I recommend the samplers, soemtimes on special, with steak and crab spread on a giant mushroom head with lobster, shrimp and vegetables.
Tommy's Original World Famous Canoga Park, CA
A group of us from work used to eat here a lot because they were open late. This is the largest LA chain specializing in chili burgers, and it has several locations in the San Fernando Valley. This restaurant sets the standard for LA chili burgers. Carney's Restaurant at 12601 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City (see my forthcoming review) has a slightly better chili burger with a more playful atmosphere. As far as The Original Tommy's goes, this is one of the better, cleaner locations, and it's in a fairly good neighborhood. I wouldn't take a date here because most women I'm interested in care too much about their health to eat here, but it's O.K. for the kids: they need protein more than they need to avoid cholesterol. This place *IS* better than McDonalds.
Carneys Restaurant Studio City, CA
If Denny's is the standard LA family restaurant and The Original Tommy's is the standard LA chili burger restaurant, Carney's is the Coco's of chili burgers. What makes the chili burgers here better is the nice, thick slice of tomato that comes on each one. They also have what anyone else would call a "hamburger deluxe, " with tomato and lettuce but no chili, as well as hot dogs, with or without chili, soft drinks and good coffee. The restaurant is an old railroad car with the freezer in the attached cabosse. You see a lot of kids here. It's playful enough that I'd take my kids or a date here any time. They have another location in Hollywood.
La Lasagna Co Northridge, CA
FAX - (818) 885 - 8107. This is good, lower-middle brow 1950's-style Italian restaurant with an order counter and chrome/formica tables and chairs that might have been made in the fifties and resurfaced once since. People drive for miles to take-out the food, here. The menu is limited to three varieties of lasagna, anicotti, cannelloni, meat or cheese ravioli, three varieties of spaghetti, mostacciloi or arancini, chicken or eggplant parmigiana, salads, sandwiches and pizza. The atmosphere is rather friendly. The store is a block north of Chuck E Cheese. I would have no hesitancy taking the kids or a woman I was seriously dating here. It isn't the best place for a first date unless you really need to be frugal. For the price, you can't beat it.
Ikea Restaurant Burbank, CA
The restaurant is located on the second floor of the Ikea furniture store at Burbank Boulevard and San Fernando Road. Once you get past the fact that you are eating inside a furniture warehouse, the food is pretty good and the atmosphere is interesting. The specialty is Swedish meatballs, although there are chicken and fish dishes that rotate daily. There is a Loganberry beverage as well as loganberry preserves served with the various meatball combinations. This is a clean restaurant with clean, relatively upscale customers, so it's a safe place to take a date or the wife and kids.
Chinatown Express - Hollywood Los Angeles, CA
They bill this place as the original buck-a-plate Chinese restaurant. That's accurate, if you count an order of rice as a plate and an order of chow mein noodles as a plate. This is a cafeteria-style Chinese restaurant doing a lot of take-out. The pepper chicken is one dollar for an order, but the orange chicken or broccoli beef cost more. I misplaced my menu, but they are either $1.50 or $2.00 each. There are specials like two entrees with rice and chow mein and a beverage for $4.95, which isn't bad. There are only a few tables. The food quality isn't bad at all. I'd take the wife and kids here on my way to the El Capitan or Chinese Theatre, and I'd take a date here on the way to a play. This is one of the cheapest places to eat in Hollywood. You can pick either the rice or the chow mein noodles and, say, papper chicken with a fountain beverage for around three bucks, and if you clean your plate, you can feel adequately fed.
Arunee Thai Seafood Los Angeles, CA
This restaurant, located on the second floor of an L-shaped corner shopping center, has relatively good Thai food at a decent price. My wife said she would refer friends and family to the place, although she had some hesitancy about the neighborhood. Unlike other Thai restaurants in the neighborhood, there is off-street parking. We tried several sea-food items and ginger-mushroom chicken, with stuffed chicken wings and Thai Ice Tea and Thai Ice Coffee. The chicken wings were not what we expected, since they did not have the mint-cucumber sauce and they were red in color and drier than what we are used to. The immediate neighborhood contains several Buddhist monastic residences, with occasional public lectures, but the larger neighborhood is largely Hispanic and seems slightly dangerous. If I had met someone at a Buddhist lecture, I would have no hesitancy taking her here, but I would have second thoughts about taking a date here, because of the bad larger neighborhood, and I would have the same qualms about family. On the other hand, once you're inside the restaurant, there is a pleasant atmosphere and good food.
Chilies Northridge, CA
When we have eaten here, we have always had to wait. This is a popular place, for good reason. It is a well-lit restaurant with a lot of atmostphere, great for a date or suitable as a place to take the kids. You could call the cuisine "Tex-Mex." There are several sampler-type meals, and there is a bar. You can always order chili, of course, but there are better entrees. This restaurant is really close to Cal State Northridge, so you have a number of students here as well as some very attractive young waitresses, all with similar kinds of figures. This place is so safe you don't even notice that, and there are often a few LAPD officers here for dinner.
China Chef - Eagle Rock Plaza Los Angeles, CA
I thought Eagle Rock Plaza was in eiher Glendale or Pasadena. Surprise! It's in Los Angeles 90041. You would take the family here for the very same reason you would take a date here: it's relatively wholesom fast food and you're in a hurry to go somewhere else. The surprise, here, is that the food is relatively good. The vegetable/egg rice is good, the noodles are good and the main entrees are good. The restaurant tends to get a bit messy as the help isn't in any big hurry to sweep up paper from drinking straws from the floor, but apart from that, it's a safe-feeling, well-lit place.
Subway - Reseda California
This isn't the best restaurant in the chain, but it does have its own website, with coupons: http://subwayreseda.com Fax: 818-996-2009 It's lcoated in the little corner mall on the N.E. corner of Reseda Boulevard and Vanowen Street in Reseda This isn't the best place to take a date or the kids due to the gang activity in the neighborhood and the tiny dining area, but if you're getting submarines to go and you don't mind the inadequate parking (or if you get lucky enough to find a parking space on Reseda) and you have a coupon, it's hard to beat the price.
El Torito - Valencia Valencia, CA
This is a good place to take a date, if she likes Mexican food, and a good place to take the family if you can afford the prices. On a recent Friday night, the restaurant featured a karaoke bar and, in the main dining room, a roving balloon artist entertaining the children with little latex Tweety Birds and Elmo's. The food is quite well prepared, delicious and well presented. You will want to drink with most of this food, since it tends to be spicy/hot. The chicken enchiladas verdes are less hot, as are hte shimps fajitas. The margaritas are good, and they have fancier, heavy duty El Presidente margaritas as well.
Wendy's Valencia, CA
I'm going to rate this one a little higher than Bernard Hwang did. He gave it two stars, but I'll give it three. I've taken the kids here on the way from the Antelope Valley to the San Fernando Valley, and it's a good place to take the family. It's also an O.K. place to take a date. Things might be marginally higher than they would be at another Wendy's, but if you eat at the McDonalds inside the theme park, the cost is ridiculous, including the Happy Meal with no toy. For one thing, you have a much classier clientele than you would find at most fast food places. Both Magic Mountain visitors and employees eat here. The food is wholesome, although I prefer the chicken or Mexican dishes to the straight American burgers.
International House of Pancakes (near Csusb) San Bernardino, CA
If you are going to the Renaissance Faire in Southern California, or taking a test from Educational Testing Service at Cal State San Bernardino, the de riguer place to sleep is Parkway Hotel, 2000 Ostrems Drive, San Bernardino CA 92407 with a 10 pct AAA discount. The restaurant is no longer in the AAA book and isn't on Yahoo! due to name changes. Their dining room is not open, but the IHOP I am listing is one of the newer cleaner ones. Mapquest has it on the wrong side of the freeway, so if you're going north on the 215 take the University Pkwy exit. Turn LEFT for the HOTEL or RIGHT for the IHOP. They have good American food and the usual IHOP assortment of pancakes. The place is clean and well-lit, so if you're taking a date -or- the kids to the Renaissance Faire, this is a great place to eat cheap. The Faire's food might taste better, but better not to go in there on an empty stomach.

Clearman's North Woods Inn Covina, CA
This would be an O.K. place to take your kids if you have enough money, or an interesting place to take a date, unless she's deeply religious. The atmosphere, as noted, is incredible. We have a log cabin set in a Southern California parking lot with thick, fake snow on the roof. Everyone else has reviewed the steaks and salads, so I'll pick on the waitresses. For some reason, ours seemed to be a combination Mountiette, Santa's Elf, Playboy Bunny and dominatrix. Every time we went, our peanuts were thrown on our table contemptuously as if she were feeding the dogs. That seemed borderline kinky, so I'd leave Priscilla Goodbody home if I wanted to go here. The kids wouldn't "get it." Yes, the shells went on the floor with the genuine sawdust.
Yoshinoya Beef Bowl Restaurant - Hollywood Los Angeles, CA
This is a good-but-cheap Japanese fast food chain, and this is one of the more interesting locations. Beef is a largely imported luxury item in Japan, where farm land is scarce and fish is a staple of the diet. The beef, here, is cut very thin and sauteed with onions, then served over rice for the basic beef bowl. The Teriyaki chicken bowl isn't nearly as good. Condiments include soy sauce, red pepper and red pickled ginger. This has to one of the cheapest places to eat in Hollywood, so if you're on a date, or if you're taking the kids to El Capitan for a Disney show, you might stop here. Bad thing: this is an on-again-off- again red-light district, so don't be astonished if a prostitute walks in.

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