Okay Chinese in Burbank’s Media Center.
I really don’t want to bag on all Chinese places that aren’t in Monterey Park, San Gabriel or Chinatown. That would be rude. But, be aware there are a lot of steps between there and here. Got to walk before you can run. Not all of them are going to be great, and not all of them are going to be bad either.
Which brings us to Gourmet 88, a perfectly nice joint in the heart of Burbank. I can’t say its extraordinary. It reminds me of…well, virtually every place I went to as a kid before I discovered what the good stuff is supposed to taste like, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Now, that’s not to say Gourmet 88 doesn’t have any of the good stuff. They do, it’s just buried in their dinner menu, which from what I can read is a pretty fair bit of work. They cover a lot of ground, but…it’s not like you haven’t seen it before if you’re a Chinese Food veteran. Remember, this is Burbank, not exactly the heart of the Chinese-American community. The stuff that sells for them is the stuff that…well, wouldn’t be on the menu at Elite, Mission, or even Lunasia. What sells for them is the Chinese-American food most of us are used to. The good news is that Gourmet 88 probably does that better than places like Panda Express, P.F. Chang’s or even Frontier Wok. (Okay, truth be told, Gourmet 88 and Frontier are all but tied in this category).
I will give Gourmet 88 this, it’s got a really good Lunch deal. For either $5.99 or $7.99 (depending on what you get), you can get yourself some pretty good grub, along with an eggroll, two won-tons, some soup and some rice. As values go, it’s a damn good value.
Gourmet 88 is a nice place. Staff, managed (and from what I can tell, owned) by Chinese Americans (like Frontier), and that’s always a good thing. The Chinese Community of Los Angeles isn’t exactly going to pour in here, but they don’t embarrass themselves. It’s major flaw is that it suffers in comparison to places in Monterey Park or San Gabriel. At the end of the day, it’s an okay place, but that’s about it.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Let there be Lunch. You get anything on that Lunch menu, and you’ll be okay. I did the Orange Peel Beef, which was basically you’re Orange Chicken (the breading, the frying, the orange stuff) only with beef in it. Sugary, starchy…
Looking at the Dinner Menu, I see a host of old-line Chinese staples that I’d always get: Beef with Snow Peas, Sautéed Spinach, Crispy Duck. All good stuff. But they have Pan-Fried Noodles, and that’s always a good thing.
PARKING: Consult the Burbank Parking Map, but the Structure that stretches across Orange Grove Avenue is your best bet. You can try the street, but at Lunch time that’s going to be a tough bet.
230 N. San Fernando Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91502
Tel: (818) 848-8688
Sunday-Thursday: 11:30am – 10:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:30am – 11:00pm