Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nat's Early Bite --For You, Not Me.

If you remember, Nat's Early Bite was one of the choices in the poll for where to go to celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of Dinerwood (Leroy's won). #1DC Antoinette and I happened to be in the Valley on Saturday and decided to go.

After finding street parking (the lot is very small), we went inside and put my name down on the list. It was crowded, as could be expected for a Saturday morning. From what I've found looking online and talking to people, Nat's Early Bite is pretty popular with the Valley crowd. It has been around for 30 years and now has two other locations.

They had a really nice looking pastry case near the front of the restaurant but it was always so crowded around there that I wasn't able to get a picture of it. They had a dry-erase board hung above it listing the different pies and cakes available.

Nat's is pretty cute inside. It's a a strip mall diner similar Corky's in Rancho Cucamonga. It has a nice homey decor. People are pretty densely packed in the main dining area and luckily we were seated near the back of the room. Some people don't like to be seated by the restroom or by the kitchen, but I actually prefer it because it usually means a waitress or busboy is going to have pass by your table sooner or later.

Our waitress checked in with us fairly early after we sat down. We weren't sure what we wanted yet so we asked for more time. Lesson learned; it was a good five minutes before she made it back to us. She was running ragged so I don't blame her. I think she got to us at her earliest opportunity.

I ordered the Salami and Eggs with a side of grits. The grits were watery, which I should have expected. I usually ask at a restaurant if they make their grits this way, but I just forgot this time. The salami wasn't that good; it tasted more like salty bologna. It reminded me of when I was living on my own and I would buy meat from the Everything 99 cents Store. That meat always tastes a little off. Halfway through I noticed that the bowl my grits were in had dried avocado along the side. It was not washed adequately.

Antoinette ordered the Apple Maple Turkey Sausage breakfast. The potatoes were quite good, they had a little bit of crust on them and a good flavor. She ordered her eggs "scrambled well," and they delivered. The sausage though was where her breakfast fell short. I could taste apple and I could taste maple but overall the sausage tasted cheap, like my salami, and it had the consistency of a dense hot dog.

This disappointment was particularly odd because they have a whole page of the menu devoted to their sausages, implying that they are kind of a specialty.

They do have a pretty good apricot-pineapple jam available (you can take home a jar for just $3.95).

I didn't even bother finding out what kind of pies they had--we were both ready to go once we finished our meals. We left Nat's very, very confused. It has such a good reputation and is clearly very popular, so why was our experience so lackluster? Maybe we just didn't order the right things to really see the best that Nat's has to offer?

If a place puts an emphasis on their baked goods, we should have at least tried a muffin or ordered pancakes (pancakes aren't baked, but you know what I mean). I won't go out of my way to try Nat's Early Bite again, but clearly they are doing something right for a lot of people.

Food: Okay
Service: Busy
Price: $6-$10
Pie: Yes.

14115 Burbank Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91497

1 comment:

Paul said...

I like how each of the indoor photos has one person staring at you like they want to punch you.