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Decent? Well, actually…pretty good French food in Burbank, CA.
Okay, so the truth of it is, I was watching the Provence episode of Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, and I wanted to see if I could get French food in Burbank.
Tough challenge, but not totally disappointing.
So after looking at the Provence episode, to find a place that had Provence in the name just had to be serendipity, right?
Turns out there are actually one or two French places in Burbank. Granted, not an avalanche, but a few. One of them is the French Crepe Company. You can eat decently, though probably not up to Ludo Lefebvre standards.
So what about Bistro Provence.
Well, it’s strange. It’s located in, of all places, a Strip Mall. Yeah, one where the major tenant, the magnet if you will, is a freakin’ Vons. You approach it from the outside, and I swear you expect it to be a wreck inside.
But it’s not.
Hell, I can bring a date here.
Turns out Bistro Provence is run buy (or at least it appears to be run by) the Patina Restaurant Group, the same fine folks who run Ray’s and Stark Bar over at LACMA. These people know how to serve up a good restaurant.
It’s got some wonderful, pricey appointments. Comfortable seating. Lovely, jazz themed art on the wall. Yes, even though you’re in the middle of the hustle and bustle of beautiful downtown Burbank, you feel time slow down a bit when you walk inside, and that’s a very French thing.
But you’re here for a meal. How’s the food?
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: I should say upfront, that I screwed up.
I walked inside, and the Waitstaff pointed me to a comfortable table and as I did, I grabbed a menu.
The Dinner menu.
It was lunch time.
So of course the thing I saw, the thing that made my mouth salivate like Pavlov’s litter, was the Twice Cooked Pork.
“Pork”, you say? “Twice cooked”, you say?
Well, the fact they also cook it in a really nice whole grain mustard sauce? Oh, that just seals it.
One problem though, it’s only on the Dinner menu.
No problem, it turns out. The restaurant was sufficiently quiet that they cooked it up for me anyway. Oh lord was it worth it. Me, for sure? Them? Well, I tried to tip accordingly. But that Twice Cooked Pork was a damn good meal.
Failing that (and why would you want to fail that?) I would have gone the olde stand by the Beef Bourguigon which is a dish that I just love overall.
I seriously need to come back a have a meal with some wine.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: I seriously need to come back because…well…I don’t know how much longer Patina is going to put up with this.
The waitstaff are great. They’re friendly and want to help you out. They’ll even go out of their way for you.
But that don’t help if there’s no one here…and the afternoon I went, no one was there.
I hope that doesn’t indicate bad news for the restaurant, which is pretty good all things considered. But, just in case, hurry up and get down here in case something bad happens.
Also be aware of the Hours. They close most days (Monday through Friday) after lunch for a good two and a half hours, so no late lunches here.
PARKING: Easy…to a point. Since Bistro Provence is in a large Strip Mall, there is allegedly a lot of parking.
Because Vons is so busy, along with Dana Drugs, the Parking Lot can get crowded, particularly around Lunch time. I think you’ll find a space, but be prepared to cross the burning sands (asphalt) of Burbank to get to the front door. Don’t worry about the price, like with most Parking in Burbank, it’s free.
345 N Pass Ave
Burbank, CA 91505
Mon-Fri 11:30 am – 2 pm
Mon-Sat 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm